The National Civic League has awarded the Pforzheimer-National Civic League Fellowships to three graduate students pursuing research at Harvard University and University of Colorado-Denver.
The fellowship program seeks to further student knowledge of and interest in community engagement, community planning, community development, local government administration and civic affairs.
They are, in alphabetical order:
Alexis Kennedy, a Ph.D. student in public affairs at CU-Denver, is conducting research on pay for success, a financial mechanism that allows private funders to invest in preventative programs that serve at-risk populations such as the homeless. If certain outcomes are met, government entities will pay the private organizations back with interest. Currently, close to 100 PFS feasibility studies have been paid for and conducted but only a few have become PFS projects. Kennedy’s project will examine the perceived costs and benefits surrounding conducting feasibility studies and the perceived barriers that prevent feasibility studies from becoming projects. She will interview stakeholders of Colorado projects and send surveys to other stakeholders throughout the nation.
Andrew Pope, a Ph.D. student in the Department of History at Harvard University, is examining the activism of poor and working class people after the Civil Rights Act made Jim Crow illegal. He will travel to Atlanta to conduct oral history interviews with activists, public officials and non-profit sector workers. Pope’s research indicates that a diverse set of activists collaborated to assert control over federal antipoverty programs. This collaboration led to thousands of residents forming coalitions across racial, gender, and sexual lines to continue what they called “the struggle,” a decades long effort to make Atlanta a more just place. Pope says the three movements achieved public policy improvements through disruptive tactics and demands for non-incremental changes. The interviews will complement his archival research to complete his dissertation, “Living in the Struggle: Black Power, Gay Liberation, and Women’s Liberation Movements in Atlanta, 1964-1996.”
Rodolfo Rodriguez, who is working on a master’s degree in at University of Colorado-Denver, is developing Connectar, an initiative to connect Denver’s Latino communities with City resources through culturally responsive methods and strategic partnerships, while simultaneously inspiring civic engagement with local government to achieve equitable decision-making. This project aims to equip Latino-serving community leaders (non-profit leaders, priests, activists, etc.) with comprehensive bilingual resource guides and partner with them to co-host civic engagement trainings (in Spanish and English) for unengaged Latino residents. The fellowship will help him produce a civic engagement training video, in Spanish and English, to provide awareness for Denver residents beyond in-person neighborhood trainings.