Chancellor Funds 15 Campus — Community Partnerships

Seeking to support partnerships between local community members and University of California, Berkeley, students, faculty and staff, Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau this week awarded nearly $225,000 in grants through the Chancellor’s Community Partnership Fund. The 15 grant-funded projects will improve public safety, work to close the achievement gap, and help protect the environment in the city of Berkeley.

“Once again, Berkeley community organizations and their campus partners are demonstrating what can be achieved through partnership,” said Birgeneau. This year’s 15 winning projects were selected from a pool of 67 proposals totaling over $1.7 million in funding requests.

Since 2006, the Chancellor’s Community Partnership Fund has awarded 76 grants totaling over $1 million and will continue to award grants annually through 2020. Grants are awarded in two categories: community service programs that enhance the economic, social or cultural well-being of Berkeley residents; and neighborhood-improvement projects that enhance the physical environment of the city’s neighborhoods.

Several of this year’s community service programs, like the “Green Star Schools Pilot Program,” provide opportunities for UC Berkeley students and faculty to bring their expertise to Berkeley’s elementary and secondary schools.

Deborah Moore, executive director of the Green Schools Initiative, said, “This grant supports our partnership with students, faculty and staff at the UC Berkeley Center for Cities & Schools that will help us pilot test a new model Green Star Schools ‘certification program’ in Berkeley schools, which will ultimately be replicated across Bay Area schools. We so appreciate this seed funding that will help us grow a self-sustaining program to engage students in improving the health and sustainability of their school environment.”

The neighborhood improvement projects include a new playground structure for homeless children, pedestrian lighting along the historic LeRoy Steps, landscaping improvements to the landmarked Bernard Maybeck church across from People’s Park, and a rooftop garden for the YMCA Teen Center now under construction. Two of the neighborhood improvement projects, Berkeley Project and Greening Berkeley Hands-On, will once again mobilize hundreds of UC Berkeley students in projects that enhance Berkeley’s neighborhoods and parks.

“It is through partnerships like these that we create wellness in our communities,” said boona cheema, executive director of Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency, a homeless service agency. “With help from Cal’s Rotaract student volunteers and Berkeley Rotary Club partners, we will create an oasis of play and learning for homeless kids in Berkeley.”

“The fund leverages the energy and intellect of the campus and its neighbors to serve the entire community. We hope to grow the fund substantially in the years ahead with support from local alumni and foundations so that we can provide seed money for even more collaborative partnerships,” said Caleb Dardick, director of the UC Berkeley Local Government and Community Relations office and chair of the Chancellor’s Community Partnership Fund’s advisory board.

More information about the 2010-2011 partnership grant recipients can be found online.

2010-2011 Chancellor’s Community Partnership Fund grants were awarded to the proposals listed below; grant award amounts shown in parenthesis:

Berkeley Project mobilized over 1800 UC Berkeley student volunteers to help beautify and improve Berkeley’s parks, schools, marina and public spaces. This year, the Associated Students of the University of California’s (ASUC’s) Berkeley Project and Willard Neighborhood Association are teaming up for the citywide Berkeley Project Day this fall and Berkeley Project Month next spring to create activities that will bring UC Berkeley students and permanent residents together. ($5,000)

Berkeley Scholars to Cal: Stiles Hall and Graduate School of Education faculty will match African American and Latino UC Berkeley student mentors with low-income students of color in Berkeley’s public schools for comprehensive, ongoing college preparation. ($25,000))

The BOSS Village Playground Project: The Berkeley Rotary Club and UC Berkeley student Rotaract members will build an outdoor playground for homeless children living in BOSS’ Ursula Sherman Village in West Berkeley. ($19,000)

Community in the Classroom: Up to 250 UC Berkeley student scientists, working with Cal Teach and the Cal Corps Public Service Center, will bring hands-on science education to Berkeley’s elementary schools. ($9,807)

FACE (Families Advocating for Change in Education): Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action (BOCA) will convene the Parent Engagement and Training Initiative to develop the leadership and organizational capacity of low-income and underserved families of color living in South and West Berkeley in support of closing the achievement gap in Berkeley’s schools. ($12,500)

The Green Star Schools Pilot Program: The Green Schools Initiative and the UC Center for Cities and Schools will pilot the new model Green Star Schools certification program in Berkeley and engage elementary school students in a service-learning program to “green” their school by reducing waste, pollution, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. ($21,450)

Greening Berkeley Hands-On: Berkeley Partners for Parks will coordinate community and UC Berkeley student volunteers to make safety improvements in several parks, gardens and pathways throughout the city. ($5,000)

The Landscape Improvement Project for First Church of Christ, Scientist, will implement the landscape plan developed last year for this landmark facility with support from UC Berkeley’s landscape architect and City and Regional Planning faculty. These improvements include defensive landscaping that should reduce the negative impacts of nearby People’s Park. ($15,000)

The Le Roy Steps Safety Project: Northside neighbors and the University of California Police Department (UCPD) have partnered to install pedestrian lighting to improve public safety on the historic Le Roy Steps, a well-travelled short cut for students and residents visiting the campus. ($7,160)

Mapping Environments: Kala Art Institute’s Artists-in-Schools Program places math coaches from UC Berkeley’s Bay Area Mathematics Project and teaching artists from the Kala Art Institute in residencies in all three Berkeley middle schools where they will lead innovative workshops exploring relationships between art, math and the environment. The project will culminate in a permanent mural at King Park. ($20,000)

The Police and Life Academy for Youth: Berkeley Boosters and police officers from the Berkeley Police Department and the UCPD will interact with Berkeley High School students from South and West Berkeley for eight weeks of interactive workshops designed to build positive relationships based on mutual understanding. ($25,000)

The Southside Community Relations, Safety and Livability Liaison will work to improve communication, coordination and mutual respect between UC Berkeley’s Greek community and Berkeley’s permanent residents. ($5,000)

The Spanish Grammar and Political Asylum Program: UC Berkeley students will improve their Spanish language skills in real life situations by assisting Berkeley’s asylum-seeking immigrant community. This service learning partnership includes the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant and UC Berkeley’s Spanish and Portuguese Department. ($20,000)

The Summer Literacy Collaborative for Equity is a city-wide effort to promote reading and literacy skills retention over the summer that mobilizes over 75 UC Berkeley student tutors working with over 800 low-income youth in a partnership led by the Cal Corps Public Service Center and the Berkeley Public Education Foundation. ($15,055)

The YMCA-PG&E Teen Center Rooftop Garden Project brings together Berkeley High School students and Cal Corps volunteers to create a safe and supportive place for teens. ($20,000)