Chancellor’s fund awards $246,000 to 17 local partnerships

The Chancellor’s Community Partnership Fund has announced the 2015-16 award recipients for projects focused on education, arts, math and sciences, economic development and community safety. Entering its 10th year, the fund will award a total of $246,954 to 17 partnerships between local community members and UC Berkeley students, faculty and staff.

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BUILD mentor Erika Reyes reads with a student at Bahia School Age Program in Berkeley. The literacy program provides a diverse collection of books to students in the Berkeley Unified School District to explore identities and address stereotypes in literature.

Since its start in 2006, the fund has awarded $2.2 million to strengthen the campus’s support of the Berkeley community. 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.

The fund, which connects the campus and community through research, public service and engaged scholarship, is an effort that Chancellor Nicholas Dirks says is the most valuable investment the campus can make in the Berkeley community.

“It is with great pride,” said the chancellor, “that I support those who partner with the city of Berkeley and a vast array of community and civic organizations that work together to improve the lives of children, youth and all Berkeley residents.”

This year’s 17 partnership recipients were selected from a pool of 41 proposals totaling more than $1.2 million in funding requests. Here are some of the recipients:

  • Berkeley Scholars to Cal provides 25 black and Latino fifth-grade students with comprehensive, ongoing college preparation for eight years prior to their graduation from high school. The program offers 250 hours of direct service per year, including: a black or Latino UC Berkeley student mentor; summer, Saturday and after-school academies; and home visits and case management.
  • Building Competency, Increasing Safety: Improving Transgender Patient Outcomes seeks to decrease discrimination and institutionalized violence that transgender residents of Berkeley face when attempting to access health care by offering trainings and improving the quality of care.
  • Equal Read: BUILDing Identity-Safe Literacy Programs for Berkeley Unified School District will provide broadly diverse book collections, representing 17 different identity group categories, to all elementary school libraries in the district; create a guide for families, mentors and teachers to support readers in exploring identities; and offer BUILD mentors training to address stereotypes in literature.
  • Parklot and Artlot for the Lorin is an inclusive, community-based, design-build process, bringing enduring improvements to public open space. Youth in the Lorin neighborhood of South Berkeley, around Alcatraz and Adeline, will engage new and longtime residents, exploring opportunities for art, entrepreneurship and community-building that values all Lorin residents. Priorities include pedestrian safety, creating spaces for art-making and gathering.
  • Strawberry Creek Watershed Action Program has students learning hands-on science, connecting with nature and taking action to help restore their local creek. Families participate, teachers receive professional development and UC Berkeley student mentors become environmental leaders.

“The partnership fund has become quite an institution,” said Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates. “I would like to thank the chancellor for his continuing commitment to strengthening partnerships between the university and the community. Through this kind of collaboration, we can continue to make Berkeley a stronger, healthier and more vibrant community.”

“We are honored to partner with the School of Education, city of Berkeley, Berkeley school district and UC Berkeley students of color to provide this long-term, sustained support,” said David Stark, executive director of Stiles Hall, which houses Berkeley Scholars to Cal. “The support of the Chancellor’s Community Partnership Fund is key to advancing Berkeley Scholars to Cal and other innovative programs like the Underground Scholars, which supports formerly incarcerated students attending the university.”

Stark said Berkeley Scholars to Cal will allow low-income students of color to receive the support they need to attend a top university like UC Berkeley.

More information on the 2015-16 community partnership grant recipients is available at the fund’s website.