Grants aim to bridge networks to increase impact

Three project teams seeking to expand their networks of partners and peers have received Public Affairs Network Grants from the David M. Einhorn Center for Community Engagement.

The grants, offered for the first time this year, support faculty, staff, students, alumni and community partners as they build broader and more effective networks of potential collaborators, coordinate resources and increase the impact of their work on a particular social problem. .

“It’s not uncommon at Cornell for people to work on the same topic and not even know it, either because they’re in different disciplines, focus on different geographic areas, or use slightly different terms to describe their work,” said Anna Sims Bartel. , associate director of the Einhorn Center for Community Participatory Curriculum and Practice. “We are delighted to offer these grants to support network development, as research shows that networks of partnerships and projects can deliver deeper impacts than individual projects alone.”

Providing up to $30,000 over three years, the grants can be used to help raise awareness of the issue and what is being done to address it; increase positive impact in communities; deepen and broaden university-community partnerships; and increase student engagement.

The three projects funded this year are:

  • Youth-led media for social justice: This team from Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) offices across the state, the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research (School of Human Ecology), and the Department of English Literature (School of Arts and Sciences) is creating a network of inclusive, welcoming and anti-racist youth media. Supported by a one-year seed grant, they are identifying Cornell and CCE colleagues and affiliates doing similar work in media design, technology and the humanities who could join the network to promote youth leadership around anti-racism and social justice.
  • Housing Justice for All: This team is using a two-year grant to expand the support network for renters throughout Tompkins County facing eviction and the threat of homelessness. The project builds on services that already exist in the City of Ithaca, including a housing hotline, the Ithaca Tenants Union, a practice at Cornell Law School, and an eviction monitoring project. The network is particularly focused on supporting low-income renters and renters who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color, as they currently face disproportionately high eviction rates.
  • Creating Our Futures: A New York State Resilient Communities Knowledge-to-Action Network: With a three-year grant, this team from the Department of Global Development and the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (College of Agriculture and Life), CCE, and The Local Initiatives Support Corporation is addressing the plight of disinvested rural and urban communities in upstate New York. Honoring the wisdom and assets of these historically underserved communities, the team’s goal is to support, augment, and increase these assets by creating a strong statewide network of individuals committed to community revitalization.

Ashlee McGandy is a content strategist at the David M. Einhorn Center for Community Engagement.

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