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UC Gives 200K to Berkeley Groups to Compensate for Campus’ Impact on City

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday August 15, 2006

The UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Community Partnership Fund will distribute $200,000 in Berkeley this year in the form of grants which will support 15 projects through partnerships between local community groups and the university. 

Established by Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, the fund is part of a 2005 agreement between the campus and the city following the adoption of the UC Berkeley 2020 Long Range Development Plan. The annual amount is being counted by the mayor’s office as part of the $1.2 million total compensation the city receives from the university for its impacts on city services. 

“I am very happy to see the university reach out to the community,” Mayor Tom Bates said. “I understand that some of the grants will be matching grants which will help in economic development as there will be public as well as non-profit companies who will come forward to match the amounts. This is a boost towards the good will of the city.” 

The mayor’s office, however, played no role in the selection of the grant recipients, which was handled entirely by the Community Partnership Fund Advisory Board.  

The advisory board, which is comprised of community leaders and representatives from both the city and UC Berkeley, includes UC Berkeley Associate Chancellor John Cummins; UC Berkeley Community Relations Director Irene Hegarty; Carolyn Henry-Golphin, chair of the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors; Assistant City Manager Jim Hynes; and Julie Sinai, senior aide to Tom Bates, among others. 

Sinai called the experience of serving on the advisory board very exciting and added that the huge number of applications that the board had received had made the process challenging.  

“We received $900,000 in applications and made $200,000 in grants. It was very hard to prioritize because all the applications were compelling,” Sinai said. She added that the response in terms of applications was very positive, given that it was the grants’ first year, though the University of California has made previous grants to East Bay organizations. “What was great about this is that the grant acted like a catalyst for the university’s partnership with the community,” she said. 

As a result of this partnership, UC students are getting trained to do community outreach. “The purpose of this grant is really to engage the intellectual and research capacity of the faculty and the students to help the local community,” said Sinai. “A perfect example of this is the Berkeley High Student Court partnering with the Center for Social Justice at the Boalt School of Law. The first year has seen a positive start in building crucial partnerships such as this and we hope to do more such good work in the future.” 

After developing the goals, criteria and process for awarding the partnership grants and reviewing and recommending the grant awards, the advisory board chose 15 winning projects from 45 grant proposals. Chancellor Birgeneau had the final say in all the selections. 

“Nine of the grantees are community support and service projects which will enhance the economic, social or cultural well-being of Berkeley residents, and seven are neighborhood improvement projects that will enhance the physical environment of Berkeley neighborhoods or of facilities,” said UC Berkeley Community Relations Director Irene Hegarty. 

According to Hegarty, the following community service projects will be receiving funding for 2006-2007 which total $94,260: 

• Berkeley High Student Court ($10,000), which will provide a positive alternative to suspension for Berkeley High School students facing disciplinary action. 

• WriterCoach Connection Literacy Support for Berkeley Middle Schools ($5,000), which will extend an existing program that pairs trained writers with 7th and 8th grade students at Longfellow Middle School 

• Cal in the Classroom Partnership ($10,000), in which UC Berkeley graduate students in the sciences will enhance the science curriculum for elementary school students through outreach and presentations.  

• West Berkeley Outreach Project ($20,000), an 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 ($8,000), 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 ($21,260), which 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 ($5,000), which will support a breakfast program and emergency storm shelter for homeless people, including the recruitment of student volunteers and interns.  

• Housing Opportunities Ex-panded (HOPE) Project ($10,000), in which students will be trained and will assist chronically homeless clients to access permanent housing and social services. 

• Jazz Masters Workshop Series ($5,000), which will offer hands-on workshops for young Berkeley musicians taught by selected professional artists scheduled to perform in Cal Performances’ 2008-2009 season.  

The following neighborhood improvement projects will also be receiving funding, which will total $103,871.  

• Piedmont Avenue Landscape Rehabilitation Plan ($30,000), 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 ($13,640), which will add two new elements to this community-designed and -built park in South Berkeley. 

• Berkeley Orphaned Monuments Project ($15,000), which 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 ($15,000), the first phase of a larger project which will include vegetation management and planning for total restoration of a community amphitheater and creekside. 

• Rebuilding Together: Energy, Green & Earthquake Teams ($11,000) will expand home and facility safety projects for elderly and disabled people to include specialized environmental and earthquake teams.  

• Greening Berkeley Hands-on ($19,000), a program to recruit volunteers and buy materials for restoration of people-friendly, biodiverse green spaces in several Berkeley neighborhoods. 

The remaining $1,869 will be carried over to 2007.