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University Neighborhood Partners (UNP) Broadens Scope with $1.6 Million

Jan. 3, 2005 — University Neighborhood Partners (UNP), a U of U program that brings University and west side groups and individuals together, has been awarded a $400,000 Community Outreach Partnership Center (COPC) grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

UNP raised an additional $1.2 million-in donated time, cash, space and in-kind contributions from partners, far exceeding the 100 percent match required by the grant. These funds will, according to University of Utah President Michael Young, “increase diversity on campus, build bridges between communities and offer opportunities for research, learning and service.”

Young congratulated UNP organizers and partners at a recent UNP gathering and noted, “These grants are rarely given to applicants the first time around as HUD requires real partnerships between the campus and the community already be in place, not just hoped for. This is a singular tribute to a wonderful partnership between the University of Utah and this great community.”

UNP Assistant Director Sarah D. Munro explains, “This particular grant emphasizes leveraging the physical and economic resources of university institutions-and the knowledge, creativity and energy of their faculty and students, in a community-based way. Grant funds will increase the U’s capacity to engage in mutually beneficial partnerships with community organizations and residents to create stronger, healthier communities.

“This grant money will give University faculty and graduate students the opportunity to develop research questions or courses that, in some way, connect their professional research and teaching responsibilities to the goals defined by west side residents,” Munro says.

UNP Director Irene Fisher notes that the COPC grant will specifically impact and extend UNP’s capacity within the area of education-for both west side residents and University students and faculty.

The $400,000 grant, which will be dispersed by COPC over a three-year period, from 2004 to 2007, will give UNP the resources to move forward in six specific programs, including the Westside Leadership Institute, which was established to support the development of Salt Lake City west side resident leaders as a catalyst for positive change in their communities. The Institute partners with Neighborhood Housing Services and Salt Lake Weed and Seed. The grassroots community leadership course, based on the Pew Foundation’s LeadershipPlenty Program and co-taught by U faculty and community leaders, teaches participants how to network, develop project plans and the basics of business, communication and leadership skills.

Judy Fuwell, a special education assistant at Northwest Middle School, and her teacher colleague, Sela Botchway, graduated from the Westside Leadership Institute last spring, then applied for and received a $400 mini grant from the program. They were also awarded an additional $3,000 from their school to create a “School and Family Partnerships” class, where Northwest students can get help when they get into social or academic trouble. “Instead of being punished or sent to detention, they can choose to attend the class,” she says. Fuwell hopes to empower parents and students at the Title I school and provide resources-speakers, community service, reference books, a social skills curriculum and access to tutors and interpreters-to ensure their success. If effective, the school plans to continue to fund the project.

Five other UNP programs will be funded by the COPC grant.

The Hartland Apartment Partnership will offer a new, onsite community center (1700 S. and Redwood Rd.), in space donated by the management, that will consult Hartland residents, 75 percent of whom are non-native English speakers, on financial literacy, English as a second language, health, youth leadership, law and life skills.

The Westside Studio will bring together University architecture, urban planning and business faculty and students and west side community and business representatives to develop concrete plans for revitalization on the west side. Housed in Citifront Apartments (North Temple and 600 W.), in space donated by the owners, architecture and urban planning students will create plans for revitalization and business students will provide “due diligence” and feasibility assessments for the plans.

The Northwest Parent Resource Network will provide a center, in space donated by Salt Lake County, for parent support resources and a network of information and support facilitated by community advocates. The network will serve families in the northwest area of the city, including eight elementary, one middle and one high school.

After studying the obstacles to participation by minority residents in the community council process and in public decision-making, the Neighborhood Involvement Alliance, formerly the Glendale Community Partnership, will prepare a report for community council leaders and work with interested councils to carry out recommended actions.

The West View community newspaper will continue to be written, edited and distributed by a local family to Westside neighborhoods. COPC funds will allow the University’s Department of Communication to support the ongoing work of the long-time activists.

For more information on University Neighborhood Partners, call 801-972-3596 or visit