$100,000 Given for Innovative Service Models to Be Integrated at Higher Education Institutions

April 17, 2015

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Contact:  MacKenzie Moritz
Associate Director for Strategic Partnerships
The Franklin Project
The Aspen Institute
202-736-3512 | MacKenzie.Moritz@aspeninstitute.org

Ben Thrutchley
Communications Director
National Conference on Citizenship
202-674-5121 | BThrutchley@ncoc.net 


$100,000 Given for Innovative Service Models to Be Integrated at Higher Education Institutions
Prizes for the 2015 Higher Education + Service Year Innovation Challenge Awarded to Drake University, Miami Dade College and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth 

Washington, DC, April 17, 2015 – The Franklin Project at the Aspen Institute along with the National Conference on Citizenship and the Corporation for National and Community Service announced Wednesday that the winners of the Service Year + Higher Education Innovation Challenge were Drake University, Miami Dade College, and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. 

Prizes were awarded in three categories: private university, public university, and community college with each winner receiving $30,000. The winners for each of the categories were Drake, UMass Dartmouth, and Miami Dade respectively. Miami Dade received an additional $10,000 for receiving the audience choice award, which was voted on by those attending the event at the Aspen Institute. 

The prizes were awarded to these institutions for outstanding and innovative plans to create new university-based service year positions connected to academic credit. The prizes were made possible thanks to the generous support of the Lumina Foundation and the winners were announced by Lumina CEO and President Jamie Merisotis. The purpose of the challenge was to generate innovative new ideas that integrated the service into the higher education experience. 

To be eligible for the challenge, institutions had to design a service year program that will result in academic credit, meet Service YearSM exchange certification criteria, be designed for sustainability, have the support of the institution’s leadership, and provide a model for other similar post-secondary institutions.

More information about the challenge can be found at: http://www.sychallenge.org/about-the-challenge/.

Nine finalists were invited to present their program concepts in person to a panel of judges, including potential funders, during an all-day event on April 15 at the Aspen Institute in Washington, DC. Esteemed leaders participating as judges for the Challenge include Holly Zanville, Strategy Director at Lumina Foundation; Maureen Curley, former President of Campus Compact; Harris Wofford, formerly US Senator, Special Assistant to President Kennedy, and the CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service under President Clinton; Alan Khazei, Co-Founder of City Year, Founder & CEO of Be the Change, and Co-Chair, Franklin Project at The Aspen Institute; and Ted Miller, Chief of External Affairs at CNCS.

The Challenge was hosted by John Bridgeland, former Director, White House Domestic Policy Council under President George W. Bush, Member, White House Council for Community Solutions under President Obama, and Co-Chair, Franklin Project at The Aspen Institute; and Shirley Sagawa, Chief Service Officer of the National Conference on Citizenship and former Deputy Chief of Staff for First Lady Hillary Clinton.  

“We challenged higher education to provide students opportunities for a year of civilian national service tied to learning and to ensure that “service year” translates into course credit. Americans always respond to a challenge —and 9 outstanding finalists have already developed innovative efforts to be launched in the coming years,” said John Bridgeland.

“These programs offer a rich set of models for ways that higher education institutions can advance student learning while building strong bridges to the community,” said Shirley Sagawa.

The Service Year + Higher Education Innovation Challenge Winners

Private University Innovation Challenge Winner – Drake University (Des Moines, IA)

Drake University’s Engaged Citizen Corps is an intentionally designed curriculum and service year experience for entering first year students. Members will complete a 9 month, 32 hour per week service placement with the integration of 24 undergraduate college credits. Members will work towards increasing economic and community development in the greater Des Moines region. Members will be placed at an agency working in one of five focus area for economic and community development: housing, transportation, health and safety, business cultivation, and arts and culture. They will serve as a key member of a working group charged with advancing economic and community development within one of the focus areas. Members will live together in one of the Drake University’s residence halls. Members will receive $8500 living allowance stipend in addition to university benefits. The program is targeted towards entering first year students who want to embed a year of service into their career exploration and academic experience. Drake’s goal is to engage 15-20 entering students to create the Engaged Citizen Corps. The Office of the President External Affairs submitted the application on behalf of Drake University.

“Drake University is honored to receive this prize. The challenge provides an outlet for institutions of higher education to ignite ideas and cultivate innovation around civic engagement. Universities as social enterprises must consider the service year experience as attainable for students to complete during their collegiate years. It is critical to our mission as institutions. Drake University looks forward to building this model at our campus. It is our hope other universities will consider how they can incorporate a service year as an educational component central to their mission,” said Drake University winner Mandi McReynolds, Director of Community Engagement and Service Learning. 

Presenter: Mandi McReynolds, Director, Community Engagement and Service Learning
Project contact: Mandi McReynolds, mandi.mcreynolds@drake.edu 
University media contact: Aaron Janco, Senior Media Strategist, Office of Communications aaron.janco@drake.edu 515-779-0526

Public University Innovation Challenge Winner: University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (North Dartmouth, MA)

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth proposed the Community Health Worker Advocate! Navigate! Educate! (CHW-ANE) service year. The UMass Dartmouth will offer a service year to students who are part of the College Now program, which assists students with the transition from high school to college through a first year experience, specifically preference will be given to students admitted to the College of Nursing. Students will be trained as Community Health Workers, which will improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of care by assisting patients with self-management of chronic illnesses, medication adherence, and navigation of the health care system. This training, in concert with their service will provide them with real-world experience. They will select five students to be part of this program and students will receive academic credit for their service and tuition waivers. The application was submitted by the Leduc Center for Civic Engagement.

UMass Dartmouth winner Matthew Roy, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Civic Engagement, pointed out the potential impact of the UMass Dartmouth project and noting, “Our Community Health Worker service year program is designed to empower students from our community to improve the health and well being of our community by working with populations that need assistance in understanding healthy life choices or navigating the health care system. It will be transformational for students and community alike,” said UMass Dartmouth winner Matthew Roy, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Civic Engagement.

Presenters: Matthew Roy, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Civic Engagement; Caitlin Stover, Chairperson and Professor of Community Nursing.
Project contact: Matthew Roy, mroy@umassd.edu; Caitlin Stover, cstover@umassd.edu
University media contact: Joseph Sullivan, Public Affairs Specialist,jsullivan15@umassd.edu, 508-910-6884

Community College Innovation Challenge Winner and Winner of the Audience Choice Award: Miami Dade College (MDC) (Miami, FL)

The Miami Dade College Changemaker Corps is a peer to peer mentoring and support program that helps youth who have aged out of foster care mentor other foster care system students, with the goal of helping them stay in school, graduate, and develop employability skills. Miami Dade County has a large number of youth who are in the foster care system, or who have recently aged out of the system. The transition to adulthood for youth who age out of foster care is burdened with challenges. Less than 50% of this population graduates from high school, 40% will be homeless within 18 months of aging out of foster care and 25% will be incarcerated within two years of exiting the program. The MDC Changemaker corps members will be recruited from the 300 former foster care youth enrolled at MDC. During the pilot year, MDC will recruit and place five Changemaker Corps service year members in the program. Each Corps member will be assigned approximately 20 MDC former foster care students to mentor and grow the Changemaker Corps members to 20 per year within the next five years. Students in the Corps will also receive academic credit for coursework associated with their service year experience, as well as professional development sessions. The application was submitted by the Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy at Miami Dade College.

“Miami Dade College is committed to national service and to creating a high quality, replicable, and scalable service year model. We are very excited about the opportunity to help our community college students have more opportunities to serve through our Changemaker Corps Peer Mentoring program. This initiative will help former foster care students, and other at-risk community college students, stay in college, graduate, and be prepared for workforce and civic success. We are honored to have been selected and we commend and thank the Franklin Project, NCoC, CNCS and the Lumina Foundation for making this possible,” said Miami Dade winner Josh Young, Director of Miami Dade College’s Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy.

Presenters: Josh Young, Director of Miami Dade’s Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy; Barbara Pryor, Director of Miami Dade’s Single Stop Program; Claudia Gourdet, Miami Dade College student; Virginia Emmons, Founder of Educate Tomorrow
Project contact: Josh Young, jyoung@mdc.edu
University media contact: Juan Mendiet, Director of Communications, jmendiet@mdc.edu 305-237-7611


Additional Finalists

For additional information on the finalists, please contact MacKenzie Moritz, Associate Director for Strategic Communications for the Franklin Project at the Aspen Institute. MacKenzie.Moritz@aspeninstitute.org, 202-736-3512

Private University Category: Mount St. Joseph. University (Cincinnati, OH), Saint Peter’s University (Jersey City, NJ) 

Public University Category: San Jose State (San Jose, CA), University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY)

Community College Category: Alamo Colleges (San Antonio, TX), Salt Lake Community College (Salt Lake City, UT)


The Service Year + Higher Education Innovation Challenge Awards are funded by the Lumina Foundation.

About the Challenge Partners

Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina’s outcomes-based approach focuses on helping to design and build an accessible, responsive and accountable higher education system while fostering a national sense of urgency for action to achieve Goal 2025. 

National Conference on Citizenship is a congressionally chartered organization dedicated to strengthening civic life in America. We pursue our mission through a nationwide network of partners involved in a cutting-edge civic health initiative, an innovative national service project, and our cross-sector conferences. At the core of our joint efforts is the belief that every person has the ability to help their community and country thrive.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Social Innovation Fund, and Volunteer Generation Fund programs, and leads the President’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve. For more information, visit NationalService.gov. CNCS also administers the Presidents Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement.  

The Franklin Project is an initiative by the Aspen Institute to marshal the best case for a voluntary civilian counterpart to military service in the United States. At the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival, General Stanley McChrystal called for large-scale civilian national service to engage more Americans in serving community and country. The Franklin Project believes national service can and should become a common expectation and common opportunity for all Americans to strengthen our social fabric and solve our most pressing national challenges. To realize this vision, the Franklin Project engages outstanding Americans from the private sector, higher education, government, the military, the faith community, the philanthropy, and nonprofit organizations, to develop innovative policy ideas and to build momentum around advancing a new vision of civilian service for the 21st century. For more info, visit www.franklinproject.org

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