2022 Grants Challenge

Neighborhood Resource Gardens: Cultivate Well-being, Resiliency, and Beauty

Neighborhood Resource Gardens will provide more equitable access to vital open space, environmental education, and natural beauty. These civic places will also cultivate community connectivity and resiliency with emergency preparedness. NRG projects and programs will offer opportunities to identify, connect, and engage resources that enhance individual and collective wellbeing.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Green Space, Park Access, and Trees

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA

West LA

South Bay

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

LAUSD (select only if you have a district-wide partnership or project)

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Pilot or new project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Only 63% of LA residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park. - Trust for Public Land LA Rec & Parks’ strategic plan, Park Proud LA proposes: “Every Angeleno has walkable access to a park in their neighborhood regardless of race, ethnicity, or socio-economic status.” It recommends “a new Community School Park program…to increase access to playgrounds and open space for 200k Angelenos living in the highest park need areas.” Resilient Los Angeles is LA's call to action to establish resiliency hubs in every neighborhood by providing “tools & training”, as well as opportunities to connect community leaders and leverage organizational networks. Many public and private sector resources are allocated to address urgent challenges to the equity and welfare of individuals and communities identified by reports like these advocating safe outdoor places to play and socialize. Lack of accountability and co-ordination often leads to friction in allocation and execution to intensify urgent need.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.” - John Muir Neighborhood Resource Gardens (NRGs) address lack of green spaces and parks. Equitable access to these places would advance public health, beautify civic life, and foster community connections as well as individual engagement. They would also address climate challenges and environmental resiliency by functioning as neighborhood emergency kits in times of need. NRG program elements include: environmental education (STEAM for students of all ages); disaster prep based on government resiliency recommendations (off grid electricity, water, food, communications hub, community leadership); drought tolerant gardens (color, scent, food, compost); organizational resources as well as inspiring examples of best practices. Overlaying shared use of open spaces such as existing schoolyards, parks, libraries, vacant lots, etc. with resiliency hubs could quickly and efficiently activate NRGs in neighborhoods throughout LA. Identifying and collaborating with established organizations by aligning their missions (education, environment, gardens, public health, safety, social welfare, water) would amplify the impact of their initiatives and resources (projects, programs, locations). NRGs cultivate and sustain healthy, beautiful, and resilient common ground to uniquely connect neighborhoods and advance healthy community life.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

The impact zone of each site extends well beyond individual locations to serve entire neighborhoods: Fostering community connections offer opportunities for more individual empathy and empowerment, increasing neighborhood bonds and safety. Environmental education provides students of all ages access to critical information for improving their own health and well-being as well as the Earth’s. Neighborhood Resource Gardens engage individual and community groups at the local level while connecting with larger entities in LA and beyond (government, NGOs, residents, philanthropies, foundations, businesses) to connect resources that help activate, program, maintain and network these sites. Successful implementation of the NRG program would improve the health and sustainability of environments and neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles in both the short and long term.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Successful implementation of the Neighborhood Resource Garden program will be measured by how many neighborhoods identify as sustaining one. Additional metrics of success will be how many organizations/initiatives are in the NRG network. Resources to be identified, registered, and engaged include: Funding (Gifts, Grants, Government, Crowdfunding), Volunteerism (government service corps, employee service programs, CBOs), Materials & Services (for-profit, pro bono), Businesses (urban gardens, education, recreation, emergency preparations), Residents (neighborhood groups, PTA, parents, teachers, students, disaster prep), Philanthropy/Foundations (grants, programs, projects). Entities will participate and help grow the initiative by offering existing resources and also asking for those still needed to qualify their programs/projects/locations as Neighborhood Resource Gardens, unique opportunities for integrating existing resources to amplify impact and address urgent needs.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 100

Indirect Impact: 5,000