UC Santa Cruz community collaborations receive nearly $1 million from Kellogg Foundation

Two of UC Santa Cruz's most highly regarded community collaborations have received nearly $1 million from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation to support their work promoting educational achievement, economic equity, and environmental justice.

UCSC's Bridging Multiple Worlds Alliance (BMWA) and the Center for Justice, Tolerance, and Community (CJTC) will share a grant of $978,125 over three years. The Kellogg Foundation awarded the funds as part of its "engaged institutions" program. Since 1930, the nonprofit foundation has focused on "helping people help themselves," and its programs build the capacity of individuals, communities, and institutions to solve their own problems.

Since opening in 1965, UCSC has gone beyond its purely academic mission to distinguish itself as an engaged partner with local, regional, state, nationwide, and global communities.

"Our faculty are committed to building a better world, and these two programs strengthen the capacity of community-based organizations to change social policy and educational outcomes for the underrepresented and disadvantaged," said Acting Chancellor Martin M. Chemers. "Communities have a great deal to gain from interacting with the university, and the university also sees important gains from these collaborations. Our researchers are generating exceptionally useful work on issues of equity, diversity, and social justice."

Both BMWA and CJTC emphasize partnerships in which community members are active participants who help shape the research agenda, a commitment that the Kellogg Foundation also embraces.

BMWA was developed by UCSC psychology professor Catherine Cooper and is codirected by Cooper and Elizabeth Dominguez, director of the Cabrillo Advancement Program at Cabrillo College. The alliance is devoted to encouraging young people from diverse backgrounds to get on the path to higher education and college-based careers by increasing their awareness of college as an option for them and of the resources that are available to them. Active in six states, the alliance reaches out to children, beginning with sixth graders, and works with families, schools, and neighborhood programs to "bridge multiple worlds" and build university/community partnerships that open the academic pipeline to youth of all backgrounds, including those of African, Chinese, Filipino, Latino, European, Japanese, Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Native American descent.

"Within the alliance, we create partnerships to help low-income, ethnic-minority, and immigrant youth create networks of support so they can build pathways to college and careers," said Cooper.

Under the leadership of Manuel Pastor and Dana Takagi, professors of Latin American and Latino studies and sociology, respectively, CJTC has built upon UCSC's reputation by building collaborative relationships between the center and community organizations working on issues of environmental degradation, regional empowerment, employment assistance programs, and local impacts of globalization, to name a few.

"The CJTC is dedicated to 'leveling the playing field' in public policy debates by giving community organizations the empirical data they need to seek social, economic, and environmental justice," said Pastor.

The Kellogg grant will support the ongoing work of BMWA and CJTC and will position each initiative as a model for university/community collaborations across the country. Programs will provide training to social justice leaders, educators, students, and policy makers to encourage collaboration with community-based organizations and the building of enduring alliances with other individuals.