Civic Engagement Fellowships Awarded

Civic Engagement Fellowships Awarded by Newly-Established Center for Engagement and Neighborhood Building
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Media Contact: 
Nancy Kunkler
Tue, 4 Feb 2014

In its first granting activity, the newly-established Center for Engagement and Neighborhood Building at the Alliance for Children and Families has awarded six individuals in the Alliance member network civic engagement fellowships totaling $48,000.

The 2014-2015 New Voices Civic Engagement Fellows receive $8,000 each for their community building work at the local/regional level. The fellowships are designed to embolden staff and community leaders, while simultaneously building the civic engagement capacity of the human services field. As part of their yearlong commitment, each fellow will execute an original civic engagement action plan and host a training opportunity for Alliance member staff and volunteers.

A selection committee comprised of representatives from the Alliance network selected fellows who demonstrate the most promise to strengthen families, communities, and transform human service organizations through civic engagement strategies.

The Center for Engagement and Neighborhood Building, established on Jan. 1, 2014, will unite stakeholders of all types in studying and promoting the efficacy of authentic engagement and accelerating the adoption of these values and practices as a key cultural element among all organizations that work to build stronger neighborhoods and communities. The Alliance, after uniting its member network with that of United Neighborhood Centers of America, brings the heritage of the settlement house and neighborhood center movement to bear in this effort to expand upon the enduring belief that change comes from the inside out.

The 2014-2015 Center for Engagement and Neighborhood Building Fellows:

  • Nina Kavsy Dastur, director of policy and advocacy, Union Settlement Association, New York, N.Y. Dastur plans to build engagement plans with residents to strengthen and expand early childhood and afterschool programs, add access to adult education, and expand health insurance coverage for staff and East Harlem residents under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Kelsey Hubbell, coordinator of community engagement, The Children’s Center of Wayne County, Detroit, Mich. Dastur will host Child & Family Advocacy Day in Detroit, where children and families can voice their concerns to the newly-elected mayor and city council, Detroit Public School leaders, and local law enforcement regarding the “State of the Child” in Detroit.
  • Jennifer Kinzie, mental health counselor, Hillside Children’s Center, Syracuse, N.Y.; and Stephany Moore, senior manager, organization development and learning, Hillside Family of Agencies, Rochester, N.Y. Kinzie and Moore will support Hillside and other neighborhood centers to work together to develop their relationship and work processes with the purpose of creating a larger impact in neighborhoods. Their work will be approached in concert with both the Rochester and Syracuse Hillside-Neighborhood Centers fellowship team.
  • Katie Todd, director of evaluation and development, East End House, Cambridge, Mass. Todd will work with out-of-school-time students in the East End House Middle School Program to develop and implement a Community Based Participatory Research project aimed at assessing the impact that the program has on its participants and broader community.
  • Jennifer Vallone, director–Project Home, University Settlement, New York, N.Y. Vallone will expand the organization’s advocacy committee to be an advocacy/community engagement committee with the aim of incorporating the ideals of both within each University Settlement program and supporting each program to develop a practical plan to increase their efforts in both areas.

The Alliance for Children and Families is a national organization dedicated to achieving a vision of a healthy society and strong communities for all children, adults, and families. The Alliance works for transformational change by representing and supporting its network of hundreds of nonprofit human serving organizations across North America as they translate knowledge into best practices that improve their communities. Working with and through its member network on leadership and advocacy, the Alliance strives to achieve high impact by reducing the number of people living in poverty; increasing the number of people with opportunities to live healthy lives; and increasing the number of people with access to educational and employment success. Go to for more information.

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