Sept. 25, 2001

CONTACT: Ward Mullens






YPSILANTI - Eastern Michigan University's Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Communities has been awarded a Community Outreach Partnership Center by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The grant, a combined effort by EMU, the City of Ypsilanti and several community partners, will have a three-year financial impact of $2.3 million.

"EMU is committed to building community partnerships as part of the institution's mission, incorporating community engagement in the learning experience of our students and addressing community challenges in our research," said EMU President Samuel A. Kirkpatrick.

"The City of Ypsilanti is thrilled to support Eastern Michigan University. We have worked closely with a number of faculty, staff and students over the years and consider this program to be a way of enhancing and institutionalizing these working relationships," said Cheryl Farmer, mayor of Ypsilanti.

"This award is a tangible result of our on-going commitment to our community," said Kirkpatrick. "This should be viewed in an institutional context because this award is only given to Universities that have the structure and support to sustain community involvement on a long-term basis."

"The principal function of this center is to link community organizations, municipal government and units of the University in the ongoing tasks of identifying and addressing the social cultural and economic needs of the city and its residents," said David Clifford, director of EMU's Institute for Children Families and Communities. "This award will help facilitate solutions to community issues and will stimulate community change."

The COPC will focus on three cooperative areas between the community and the University. Those areas are community building and civic engagement; education and youth leadership; and economic development and employment.

Clifford said that will translate into several different projects between the University and Ypsilanti.

"The Center will provide permanent communication and coordination for projects that deal with leadership training for neighborhood organizations; small business consultation and support; and staffing computer labs in the community to help disadvantaged youths learn new skills." Clifford said. "This will address very significant community issues."

Participating with EMU and the City of Ypsilanti will be Washtenaw Community College, Joint Operational Services for a Human Urban Alliance (JOSHUA); Michigan Small Business Development Center; the Michigan Chapter of the Organization of Latino Social Workers; SOS Community Services; Washtenaw County Workforce Development and Community Action Boards;

HUD's COPC Program was created in 1994 and is primarily concerned with human resources development in distressed low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. Seventy-seven grants have been awarded to institutions of higher education. The program requires each grantee to use a multidisciplinary approach and other resources to partner with community-based organizations, local governments, and the private sector.

The COPC Program is open to accredited public or profit nonprofit institutions of higher education granting 2 or 4-year degrees. Consortia of institutions can also apply.

Other institutions that have participated are Howard University in Washington D.C.; Tulane and Xavier in Louisiana and the University of Arkansas.

Eastern Michigan University ( is a four-year, comprehensive metropolitan university committed to the needs of its students and communities through teaching, research and service. EMU offers more than 200 programs in the arts, sciences and professionals through traditional classroom settings, on-site continuing education classes and on-line courses. EMU is the fifth largest university in Michigan, serving 24,000 students from around the world and offers undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate programs.