UC Berkeley News
Press Release

UC Berkeley Press Release

Chancellor's Community Partnership Award winners announced

– Fifteen projects to improve the quality of life in Berkeley through creative partnerships between East Bay community groups and the University of California, Berkeley, have been awarded $200,000 in grants from a special fund set up this year by UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau.

The winning projects - chosen from 45 grant proposals - were announced today (Wednesday, Aug. 9) by the campus's Office of Community Relations, which is administering the Chancellor's Community Partnership Fund.

"These projects represent great potential for positive change in our community by joining our resources, efforts and ideas," said Birgeneau. "It is our hope that the fund will be a catalyst to encourage new approaches to addressing community needs. I am extremely pleased that the university has been able to contribute to the Berkeley community in this way."

The fund was established as part of a 2005 agreement between the campus and the city of Berkeley, and an advisory board comprised of community leaders and representatives from both the city and UC Berkeley was set up to review the applications and recommend grant awards. Nine of the grantees are community service projects and seven are neighborhood improvement projects.

"It's great to see this important component of our agreement with the university get started," said Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates. "In addition to funding a number of very worthy projects, the fund is already helping to create new partnerships between the community and the university."

The community service projects to receive funding are:

  • Berkeley High Student Court, which will provide a positive alternative to suspension for Berkeley High School students facing disciplinary action.
  • WriterCoach Connection Literacy Support for Berkeley Middle Schools. This will extend an existing program that pairs trained writers with 7th and 8th grade students at Longfellow Middle School.
  • Cal in the Classroom Partnership. UC Berkeley graduate students in the sciences will enhance the science curriculum for elementary school students through outreach and presentations.
  • West Berkeley Outreach Project, an innovative outreach to West Berkeley parents through recreational and educational activities and mental health services. The project will engage parents more effectively in their children's well-being and education and support the development of healthy families.
  • Poetry Flash Community Poetry Series, which will expand and improve accessibility to nationally-recognized poetry readings and help fund a Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival.
  • Youth Emergency Assistance Hostel Volunteer Coordination Expansion. This program will fund a volunteer coordinator to recruit and train UC Berkeley students to become peer mentors to homeless youth and expand community volunteer participation.
  • Dorothy Day House Homeless Breakfast & Shelter Project. The project will support a breakfast program and emergency storm shelter for homeless people, including the recruitment of student volunteers and interns.
  • Housing Opportunities Expanded (HOPE) Project. Students will be trained and will assist chronically homeless clients to access permanent housing and social services.
  • Jazz Masters Workshop Series, which will offer hands-on workshops for young Berkeley musicians taught by selected professional artists scheduled to perform in Cal Performances' 2008-09 season.

Funding also will be given to these neighborhood improvement projects:

  • Piedmont Avenue Landscape Rehabilitation Plan, a draft plan for historic Piedmont Avenue between Dwight Way and Gayley Road based on the original design by Frederick Law Olmsted.
  • Halcyon Commons Rejuvenation Project, which will add two new elements to this community-designed and built park in South Berkeley.
  • Berkeley Orphaned Monuments Project. This effort will conserve, preserve and restore Berkeley's public architectural features and is a first phase of a larger project to inventory, map, assess and document historic features such as walls, stone pillars, steps and walks.
  • Kingman Hall Creekside Amphitheater Restoration, the first phase of a larger project will include vegetation management and planning for total restoration of a community amphitheater and creekside.
  • Rebuilding Together: Energy, Green & Earthquake Teams. This project will expand home and facility safety projects for elderly and disabled people to include specialized environmental and earthquake teams.
  • Greening Berkeley Hands-on, a program to recruit volunteers and buy materials for restoration of people-friendly, biodiverse green spaces in several Berkeley neighborhoods.

    The projects are being launched through partnerships between local community groups, non-profit organizations or neighborhood associations and a UC Berkeley academic or administrative department or individual faculty members, staff members or students.

    Grants were given for two categories - neighborhood improvement projects to enhance the physical environment of Berkeley neighborhoods or of facilities that serve the community, and community support and service projects that enhance the economic, social or cultural well-being of Berkeley residents.

    The partnership fund's advisory board developed the goals, criteria and process for awarding the partnership grants and reviewed and recommended projects to Birgeneau for funding.

    "The advisory board was impressed by the number of applications, the creativity of the proposals and the range of community groups, campus departments and neighborhoods represented by them. This is an exciting beginning for this new fund," said Irene Hegarty, chair of the advisory board and director of UC Berkeley Community Relations.

    The new fund will award grants annually through 2020.