University & Community Partnerships

Raising Student Voices: Student Action for University Community Investment

Joe Guinan, Sarah McKinley and Benzamin Yi

This new report from The Democracy Collaborative and the Responsible Endowments Coalition seeks to connect struggling communities to local institutional wealth through engaging student activism. The report profiles three administration-led initiatives and three student-led initiatives, as well as five potential future partnerships, where institutional investments are directed into local communities in a way that empowers low-income residents, develops small businesses, and generates sustainable economic development. 

Community Engagement Center, The University of New Mexico

The Community Engagement Center (CEC) at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque acts as an academic partnership and policy center for communities seeking to implement community-based solutions. CEC brings together faculty, students, neighborhoods, public institutions and government agencies to pool resources and create opportunity. Since its founding in 2000, CEC has awarded $1 million in AmeriCorps Educational Scholarships; partnered to generate nearly $20 million in federal, state and national funds for community projects, with 80 percent of those funds going directly to local communities; and served approximately 50,000 children and families throughout New Mexico. 

Done Right, Eliminating Food Deserts Result in Community Oases

Building community wealth every step of the way
Pogue’s Run Grocer Mural, an initiative of the Indy Food Co-op. © Indy Food Co-op
Building healthy, vibrant and sustainable communities requires more than “bottom up” solutions. The importance of community ownership to ensure that projects that start at the bottom result in lasting community wealth for the people involved is often missing from the discussion. The local foods movement provides examples that illustrate the importance of this ownership principle in practice.

Democracy Collaborative Presents to Illinois Governor's Task Force

Public session April 24 on community wealth building
Next week in Chicago, Democracy Collaborative executive director Ted Howard will present testimony before the Governor's Task Force on Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Enterprise. The presentation will focus on a set of actionable policy recommendations to help position Illinois as the nation’s leader in community wealth building. The meeting will take place in room 314 at Roosevelt University’s Walter E. Heller College of Business, 430 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24, 2013.

Bernanke Praises Jane Jacobs and Bottom-Up Solutions

Fed Chairman calls for community engagement, collaboration and place-based investment

Last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke addressed the Fed’s Community Affairs Research Conference in Washington, DC, opening his speech by acknowledging that successful strategies to rebuild communities require “multipronged approaches that address housing, education, jobs and quality-of-life issues in a coherent, mutually consistent way.”

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Netter Center 20th Anniversary

More than 500 people from over 70 universities and over two-dozen countries gathered at the Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania to discuss ways to better use university resources to build community wealth in neighborhoods and promote partnerships with public schools. Setting the tone of the conference, Ira Harkavy, Founder and Director of the Netter Center, opened by arguing that effective partnerships not only advance learning, but also strengthen democracy and improve the quality of life in cities around the world.

Northeast Florida Center for Community Initiatives

The Northeast Florida Center for Community Initiatives is a research organization established in 1994 by three faculty members of the University of North Florida. The center has received over $3 million in applied contract research involving 75 student employees and over 750 student volunteers since its establishment. The center has conducted 35 projects, and is currently managing 8 active projects ranging from infant mortality to the economic impact of the arts in Jacksonville.