Phoenix Project receives major federal grant to increase student service nationwide; partners with Craigslist Foundation and George Mason Univ.
Learn and Serve America, a division of the Corporation for National and Community Service, today announced that the Phoenix Project, a Virginia-based nonprofit organization, will receive $550,000 to encourage increased levels of service and civic participation by college students throughout the United States. The grant was announced at the National Conference on Citizenship, held […]
Learn and Serve America, a division of the Corporation for National and Community Service, today announced that the Phoenix Project, a Virginia-based nonprofit organization, will receive $550,000 to encourage increased levels of service and civic participation by college students throughout the United States. The grant was announced at the National Conference on Citizenship, held at the National Archives in Washington, DC, at which Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (ret.) gave the keynote address.
The Phoenix Project, together with partners George Mason University and Craigslist Foundation, will use the grant to research whether and how social media tools can engage more students in service to the nonprofit and municipal agencies confronting difficult challenges within their communities nationwide. If unmet needs are identified through the research, the partnership aims to use social media tools to respond to those community needs and increase student service.
Social media is defined as the use of electronic and Internet tools for the purpose of sharing and discussing information and experiences. The term most often refers to Internet tools that integrate technology and social interaction through the use of words, pictures, video and audio, such as blogs, wikis, and podcasts and websites like Facebook and MySpace.
“This exciting opportunity will provide to universities and communities cutting edge tools to find mutually beneficial ways to work together,” said Greg Werkheiser, Co-founder and Executive Director of the Phoenix Project.
The partnership will bring together a sophisticated web-based platform in development by Craigslist Foundation, the Phoenix Project’s expertise in civic engagement strategies and its network of more than forty Virginia institutions of higher education, and Mason’s expertise in technology and program evaluation.
“The potential for employing technology to impact students’ education and the health of our communities appears boundless,” said David Carter, who will lead the partnership as the Director of Programs for the Phoenix Project.
Since its founding in 2006, the Phoenix Project has sought to leverage the energy and talents of Virginia’s colleges as a tool for revitalizing economically distressed communities. The hallmark of its university-community partnerships is that it matches students, faculty, and administrators with capacity–building projects that are more sophisticated than traditional volunteer opportunities and thus have greater impact on both the community and the university. Devising new tools to make more of these mutually-beneficial partnerships is the aim of the new grant, according to Carter.
Dr. Philip Auerswald, Director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy and an Assistant Professor at the School of Public Policy at Mason, will lead Mason’s efforts in the partnership. Darian Rodriguez Heyman, Executive Director of Craigslist Foundation, rounds out the leadership team for the initiative.
About the Partners:
The Phoenix Project is a Virginia-based nonprofit that seeks to alleviate poverty in the Commonwealth by building sustainable university-community partnerships in economically distressed communities. It currently facilitates three partnerships in Petersburg, Southeast Newport News, and along the Route 1 corridor in southern Fairfax County. It is also leading the social entrepreneurship movement in Virginia and annually graduates thirty graduate and undergraduate students from its summer Nonprofit Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship Program. See www.phoenixproject.org.
Founded in 2000 by Craig Newmark and others, Craigslist Foundation exists to provide knowledge, resources and visibility to the next generation of nonprofit leaders. We apply the spirit and values of craigslist to the nonprofit world; craigslist is about “people helping people” while Craigslist Foundation is about “helping people help.” Craigslist Foundation is a publicly supported, non-endowed 501(c)3 operating foundation and, as such, does not award grants. Instead, the organization focuses on producing events and resources that benefit as many nonprofits, causes and people as possible. See www.craigslistfoundation.org.
George Mason University, located in the heart of Northern Virginia’s technology corridor near Washington, D.C., is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with national distinction in a range of academic fields. With strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering, information technology, biotechnology and health care, Mason prepares its alumni to succeed in the workforce and meet the needs of the region and the world. See www.gmu.edu.