University & Community Partnerships

Atlanta University Center Consortium

Established in 1929, the Atlanta University Center Consortium (AUCC) is the largest consortia of African American private institutions of higher education.  Current members include Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Spelman College.  Through its CommUniversity, AUCC provides classes and resources to the community focused on financial education, leadership, small business development, and homebuyer education—programs credited with providing technical assistance to 7 small businesses and down payment assistance to 74 residents in fiscal year 2015-16.  It also runs a Community Leadership Development Program to help prepare area residents for leadership roles within their communities.

Yale Urban Design Workshop (YUDW)

Launched in 1992, the Yale Urban Design Workshop (YUDW) is a community-focused center that provides planning and design assistance to communities across the state.  Striving to use the design process as a tool for community organizing, empowerment, and capacity building, its work relies on inclusive, broad-based citizen participation.  Recent projects include development plans for several Connecticut towns, a former airport site, and an industrial campus.

Urban Resources Initiative (URI)

Urban Resources Initiative (URI) advances community-based land stewardship, environmental education, and urban forestry. 
Catalyzed by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, URI incorporated as an autonomous nonprofit in 1991 to be as responsive as possible to all of New Haven, not just the university.  Its GreenSkills program provides jobs to high school students and ex-offenders who are paired with Yale graduate students to plant and maintain trees, thereby improving New Haven's street tree canopy.  Its Community Greenspace project provides supplies, technical advice, and training to support the reclamation and maintenance of abandoned land in distressed urban neighborhoods.  Since 1995, URI has completed more than 220 urban restoration projects in partnership with more than 1,000 community members on an annual basis.

Educating for a Changing World: The Importance of an Equity Mindset

Judith A. Ramaley

Our nation’s colleges and universities are being asked to play demanding roles in creating the capacity for active and engaged collaboration and collective action to address complex challenges that are shaping the world we live in. An essential ingredient of any effort to build healthy communities for any purpose, including education, is the cultivation of equity and inclusion. In this article, we discuss what these terms mean in practice and how to draw upon the talents and experiences of all the members of a diverse community in order to understand and address the pressing social, cultural, economic, and environmental challenges we face in our communities and around the globe. 

Reviving and Revising the Civic Mission: A Radical Re-Imagining of “Civic Engagement”

Tessa Hicks Peterson

Drawing on literature in the field and the author’s own research, this paper argues that civic engagement is critical to the success of students and universities and should be enacted at all levels of educational policy and practices. Yet, it must be facilitated in a way that ensures that equity, justice, and an appreciation of diverse value systems and perspectives are included in the development of civic actors, civic learning, and shared projects of social change in local communities. 

Working Together and Making a Difference: Virginia Western Community College and Goodwill Industries of the Valleys Partnership Case Study Report

Bill Browning, Meredith Archer Hatch and Marcela Montes
The Aspen Institute

Aspen-WSI initially developed this case study as a learning tool for a US Department of Labor–funded consortium of seven community colleges that feature C2E strategies. Northern Virginia Community College leads that consortium. This report supplements the initial learning tool with information shared by staff of Virginia Western Community College and Goodwill at a site visit by members of the consortium in March 2015 and with additional program data collected and reported in May 2015. 

UW South Madison Partnership

UW South Madison Partnership is a new initiative that aims to connect UW-Madison groups working in the South Madison community, create community-based learning courses, and develop new, equitable, and mutually-beneficial partnerships between UW-Madison and the community.  To ensure community involvement, the Partnership’s programs are based in the Villager Mall, an accessible space close to schools and community centers.  The Partnership also houses UW Law School’s Economic Justice Institute, which works to promote justice and economic security. Read more about UW South Madison Partnership...

University of Dayton’s Fitz Center for Leadership in Community

Established in 2002, the University of Dayton’s Fitz Center for Leadership in Community initiates and sustains partnerships within urban neighborhoods and larger communities to affect positive social change, particularly for poor, disadvantaged, and marginalized populations.  As part of the Genesis Project, —a public-private partnership launched in 2000 to help revitalize one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods—the Fitz Center works with community members to help develop community assets.  Focused on community building, it also trains neighborhood associations, elementary school children, and others in neighborhood asset mapping.  Other key initiatives include applied research, especially projects to support Dayton nonprofits, and educational programs focused on neighborhood revitalization strategies and grassroots leadership development.

Gateways for Incarcerated Youth Alumni Survey

Emily Sladek, Laura Coghlan, John Lanning and Cindy Meyer
The Evergreen State College

This publication, co-authored by Democracy Collaborative Research Assistant Emily Sladek, constitutes a survey of former students from the Gateways Evergreen College Class from the years 1997-98 through 2009-10. Gateways is "a culturally responsive educational initiative that works in partnership with the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (JRA) and The Evergreen State College in Washington State":

Conference: Democratic Education, 100 Years Beyond Dewey

February 9th, 2016
High Point University, North Carolina

Our Director of Special Projects Steve Dubb will keynote this conference, which addresses the issue of education, career readiness, and democracy: Read more about Conference: Democratic Education, 100 Years Beyond Dewey...

University of Vermont Women’s Agricultural Network (WAgN)

Established in 1995, the University of Vermont Women’s Agricultural Network (WAgN) aims to increase the number of women owning and operating profitable farms and agriculture-related businesses, and their profile in leadership positions throughout agriculture.  To do so, WAgN provides education, technical assistance, and networking opportunities to women starting or enhancing farms and ag-related businesses.  It also coordinates The Vermont Farm Women's Fund (VFWF), which provides financial assistance not readily available elsewhere to help Vermont women farmers improve their businesses and/or become more involved in agricultural policy development.

Impact to Last: Lessons from the Front Lines of Social Enterprise

Ben Thornley, Jacquelyn Anderson and Lauren Dixon

In these eight case studies, REDF (a California-based nonprofit, has led the pioneering effort to create jobs and employment opportunities for people facing the greatest barriers to work) highlights the work of social enterprise leaders around the country. By surveying groups such as the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland, Ohio, REDF showcases the principal drivers of achieving scale and success, and paving the way towards a more inclusive economy.

A St. Louis organization goes above and beyond providing homes for communities

An interview with Chris Krehmeyer, President and CEO of St. Louis' Beyond Housing

The killing of Michael Brown by a police officer in Fergsuon, Missouri, and the subsequent wave of protests illuminated for a national public the deep racial inequities in greater St. Louis. We sat down with Chris Krehmeyer, head of Beyond Housing, a local community development corporation founded in 1975, to learn about how they've been building a comprehensive approach blending affordable housing, community land trusts, public health, and business development aimed at changing the systems that perperuate disinvestment in African-American communities in the St. Read more about A St. Louis organization goes above and beyond providing homes for communities...