Programs & Projects

We raise private and public funds to make improvements to our public lands, primarily through the Youth Employment in Parks, Community Challenge Grants, Inclusive Play, Anchorage Trails Initiative, and Schools on Trails.

Youth Employment in Parks

Youth Employment in Parks logoYouth Employment in Parks (YEP) hires teens ages 16-19 to complete park improvement projects in Anchorage. Projects include trail building, forestry, waterway restoration, and urban park asset improvements. The program utilizes civics, education, healthy recreation opportunities, and mentorship week to instill a strong public park and trail stewardship ethic. YEP is a ten-week first-job experience.

Community Challenge Grants

A group of people smile and hold a sign that reads "Whisper Faith Kovach Memorial Park. A Happy Place for People and Pups."The Community Challenge Grant program continues to inspire members of the community to step up and make positive improvements to Anchorage’s parks and trails. The next opportunity to apply for funding is in the Spring of 2022.

In 2019, with funding from the Rasmuson Foundation, we awarded 17 grants totaling $460,000. Grants range from $500-$40,000 and must be matched dollar for dollar with cash, volunteer time, and in-kind contributions.  For every dollar granted, the community tends to raise $5 in match. The Anchorage Park Foundation offers challenge grant funding to community organizations for capital improvements to Anchorage parks and trails. APF cash can be matched with volunteer hours, cash contributions, or in-kind donations of material. As a result, the Anchorage community has accomplished significant revitalization of Anchorage parks. Discover our current and past challenge grant projects.

Inclusive Play

A girl smiles while swinging. A wheelchair sits to the side of the swing.Play is for everyone! By building inclusive playgrounds, we are creating spaces where children (and adults!) of all abilities can play together. This means removing barriers and designing playgrounds that are accessible, provide varying levels of play challenges, and most importantly, are fun! Working with Anchorage Parks and Recreation and community partners, we have built 29 inclusive playgrounds in Anchorage.

Anchorage Trails Initiative

Anchorage Trails logoThe Anchorage Trails Initiative is a community coalition that empowers citizens to speak up for walkable, bikeable transportation strategies and investments to increase connectivity, improve health and attract and retain top talent and investment to Anchorage. It started in 2011 in partnership with the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation’s Live.Work.Play. grassroots initiative to improve Anchorage’s quality of life. Together we’re improving trail signage and wayfinding across Anchorage’s trails system.

Schools on Trails

Children run through the snowThrough Schools on Trails, we connect Anchorage students and teachers to their nearby parks and trails to educate about community assets and enrich neighborhoods through increased local awareness. Some projects have included creating Schools on Trails maps of schools and their neighborhood parks and mobilizing classes to use the Community Challenge Grants program to improve their parks and create outdoor learning labs.