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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release June 21, 1999

           Also Promises to Highlight the Ties of Faith-Based

Organizations and Non-Profit Groups to Communities and Families

Nashville, TN - Vice President Gore today announced a nationwide initiative to educate a new generation of community-builders with the inter-disciplinary skills that they will need to build communities for the 21st century and to promote service learning and partnerships between communities and institutions of higher education.

Some of the major colleges and universities that endorsed and will participate in the new partnership include: UCLA and the University of California System; University of North Carolina; University of Minnesota; Bank Street College; Cambridge College; Teachers College, Columbia State University; Cornell University; Florida A&M; Morgan State University; Tennessee State University; the University of Miami; University of Wisconsin; and Vanderbilt University.

The education leaders will meet to begin the process immediately after the conference. UCLA will coordinate this phase of the initiative and host a meeting of university and foundation leadership in the fall convened by the Vice President.

The Vice President also officially unveiled a new partnership with Campus Compact, a coalition of more than 620 college and university presidents that work to build sound communities through service learning, partnership with local community activities and inter-disciplinary education. This July there will be a three-day national gathering of college presidents at the Aspen Institute convened by Campus Compact and the American Council on Education.

The Vice President also announced a new partnership between the Coalition of Community Foundations for Children and Youth and the American Association of Community Colleges. In addition the Vice President announced a new curriculum produced by the Boston Foundation and announced by Cambridge College.

Speaking at the Family Reunion Conference in Nashville, Vice President Gore also promised to highlight the ties of faith-based organizations and non-profit groups to communities and families. These groups will offer distressed communities a number of services including job training and career assistance, mentoring, partnership building, and business assistance.

"Every family in America deserves the opportunity to live in a community where jobs are plentiful, children receive a good education, and there is hope for the future," said Gore. "Organizations like churches and non-profit groups know their communities best and will be a positive force in working with residents for neighborhood change."

Also under the new Community Building Initiative, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which operates the innovative Center for Community and Interfaith Partnerships, will provide technical assistance to grassroots organizations, community leaders and residents. The Center will partner with other HUD departments to sponsor five conferences for faith-based and non-profit organizations, twenty technical assistance workshops, convene a meeting on community building curricula for colleges and universities, and expand the number of grassroots technical assistance providers.

Specifics of the new Community Building Initiative include:

Launching a New Effort to Empower Grassroots Organizations. Beginning this fall, HUD will host workshops in 20 communities across the country, with a particular emphasis on those places that have been left behind in the nation's recent economic good times. Grassroots organizations and community leaders will learn how to take control of their communities' future by planning their own housing developments, forming community development corporations, accessing HUD and other federal funds, and building partnerships with local governments, HUD, and other players in their communities.

Requesting a 100% Increase in the Budget for Community Outreach Partnership Centers (COPC's). The Clinton-Gore Administration is proposing to double the amount of funding for the COPC program from $7.5 million in FY 1999 to $15 million in FY 2000. Under the COPC program, colleges and universities form partnerships with residents to solve neighborhood problems. For example, Virginia Commonwealth University used COPC funds to partner with a Richmond neighborhood elementary school to enhance curriculum, provide expanded health services, develop tutoring programs and engage parents in computer literacy programs. Colleges also have launched mentoring, job training, business assistance, and other needed programs in underserved areas. This proposed budget increase must be approved by Congress before it can take effect.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will also undertake the following steps:

Expand the Number of Grassroots Technical Assistance Providers. In the coming year, HUD will distribute 40% of its technical assistance grants to providers who have never before participated in the program. This step will help ensure that more faith-based and non-profit organizations from the grassroots will play a major role in the dissemination of community development skills.

Sponsor Five Conferences on Community Building for Faith-Based and Non-Profit Organizations. HUD's Center for Community and Interfaith Partnerships will convene the regional sessions, which will focus on creating opportunity and bringing about social, economic, and racial justice in our communities. The conferences' general purpose is to strengthen the partnerships among faith-based organizations, non-profits, and local and federal government. Participants will craft local action plans and develop the skills necessary to implement them. One of these gatherings will take place in Nashville this fall.