Urban Update 
The monthly newsletter of the UMass Dartmouth Urban Initiative
April 2012
Along with conducting research, evaluating programs, and providing technical assistance, the Urban Initiative addresses our community's information needs by responding to regular requests for data, research, and best practices around urban policy issues.

As evidenced by the requests we field and even the stories we read in the paper (see "High ninth grade failure rate alarms school committee" for one example), there are major gaps in the availability and accessibility of data about our cities.

The Urban Initiative seeks to fill these gaps with our latest endeavor, something we're presently calling the SouthCoast Urban Indicators Project. The objective of this project is to facilitate data-driven, evidence-based decision making by providing information about a wide range of urban policy issues that is both accessible and understandable.
While this project will eventually center around a dynamic, user-friendly website that shares data and solutions-oriented context (currently being developed with the help of our friends at mediumstudio), we're presently sharing the information we've compiled through a new page on our website. Your feedback is essential to the efficacy of this project, so please check it out and let us know what you think!

In addition to kicking off our indicators project, we and our partners at the New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce released a report last month on regional permitting processes and best practices. Read the full report on our website, and also check out the corresponding article in the New England Business Bulletin and this editorial in the Standard Times.

From the blog:

Here are some of the posts we've added to Urban Update since the last newsletter:

  • Ever heard of chair bombing, seed bombing, or guerrilla wayfinding? These are three types of tactical urbanism, a fancy name for grassroots, resident-driven projects that are aimed at civic engagement and policy change.  We'd love to see this kind of thing take off in the South Coast. Read our blog post and let us know if you're interested!
  • If you missed our full recap of the National Dropout Prevention Center's recent conference, catch up here.  
  • March was Women's History Month, so we wrote this post to salute the women who lead our cities.  
Upcoming Events

What: Webcast: "Public Housing Transformation and Crime: Is there a link?" The Urban Institute and Emory University are releasing a study exploring the relationship between public housing transformation and crime based on Chicago and Atlanta's HOPE VI grants.  

When: Thursday, 4/5 from 12:00-1:30p  

Where: Watch live or a recording here.
Cost: Free

What: "Roles and Responsibilities for Nonprofit Boards" Presented by the Community Foundation of Southeastern MA and UMass Law's Community Development Clinic. Topics will include communicating your nonprofit's mission, best practices for board meetings, legal duties of board members, strategic planning, and other important topics. Register here.   When: Wednesday, 4/11 from 6:00-8:00p   

Where: UMass Dartmouth's Law School Moot Courtroom, 333 Fauce Corner Road, North Dartmouth 

Cost: $10 fee includes light dinner  


What: "Evaluating your nonprofit program--the what and how;" This workshop will address the key components to creating a successful evaluation plan for your program or nonprofit. ONLY A FEW SEATS LEFT! Register here

When: Thursday, 4/12 from 9:00-12:00p 

Where: The Rhode Island Foundation

Cost: $15  


What: Webinar: "How to Cultivate Your City's Food Cluster." Presented by the Institute for Competitive Inner Cities, this will address the role of food in economic development and job creation. Mayors, economic development officers, and nonprofit leaders encouraged to participate.

When: Wednesday, 4/18 at 2:00p

Where: Register here 

Cost: Free     


Want your upcoming event listed? Email us!

Grant & technical assistance opportunities

Patagonia Environmental Grants

Deadline: April 30, 2012


Patagonia funds environmental work, and they are most interested in making grants to organizations that identify and work on the root causes of problems and that approach issues with a commitment to long-term change. Click here for more information.   


State Farm Service Learning Grants  

Deadline: May 4, 2012


The State Farm Youth Advisory Board is accepting applications for youth service-learning projects designed to create sustainable local change in communities across the United States and Canada. Learn more here.  


Know of any other upcoming opportunities we should share? Email us!
Job opportunities

Director of Development, United Way New Bedford     Where: New Bedford, MA  


Reporting to the President, the Director of Development will identify,cultivate, solicit, and steward current and major donor prospects. Candidate should be a dynamic, strategic, results-oriented self-starter with superb written and verbal communications skills. Click here to learn more and apply.  


SMILES Mentoring Program Coordinator, People Inc.    

Where: New Bedford, MA


The Program Coordinator is a highly motivated individual who has energy, enthusiasm and experience working with children and is also responsible for the hiring, oversight and management of the SMILES Program Facilitators, their training, curriculum and materials. Learn more here. 


Community Development Coordinator, City of NB

Where: New Bedford, MA


Responsible for assisting in the development and implementation of the Consolidated Plan, Annual Action Plan, Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER), overall grant management for the Community Development Block Grant Program, Emergency Solutions Grant Program, Supportive Housing Program and assigned
More information available here. 


Interested in green job opportunities? Click HERE to see a list of green job opportunities in area, courtesy of The Marion Institute. 


Make sure to check out our blog, which has many more job opportunities than those featured here. And let us know if you have an opportunity to share!

In this issue:
From the blog
Grant opportunities

 What is the Urban Initiative?

The Urban Initiative at UMass Dartmouth is a division of the Center for Policy Analysis that was established in 2007 to address challenges and opportunities in the region's smaller industrial cities, with a particular emphasis on nearby communities like Fall River and New Bedford.  


In addition to conducting applied research, evaluating programs and policies, facilitating collaborations, and providing technical assistance to cities and organizations therein, the Urban Initiative serves as a knowledge base for urban policy issues and their applications in the region. 

 Who is the Urban Initiative?

Since August 2011, Colleen Dawicki has served as Project Manager of the Urban Initiative. A New Bedford resident and SouthCoast native, Dawicki earned a B.A. in Public and Private Sector Organizations from Brown University in 2006 and is working toward her Master's of Public Policy (MPP) at UMass Dartmouth.


Hannah Colestock is the UI's Graduate Research Assistant. Also a student in the MPP program, Hannah earned a B.A in Sociology and Women's Studies from the University of New Hampshire in 2009.   


The Urban Initiative team works closely with David Borges, Associate Director of the Center for Policy Analysis, who has over fifteen years of experience working on regional public policy issues.

        Did you know...?

- 17.4% of US cities (pop. > 30,000) currently have a woman serving as mayor

- Between Fall River and New Bedford, there are 2,271 families on the waiting list for child care vouchers

- The lifetime cost to society of New Bedford's high school dropouts during 2010-11 alone is estimated to be over $57 million, a cost that could have been avoided if they stayed in school and graduated.

Learn more facts of random and critical natures alike by visiting our website and following our blog.

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Contact us!

Email: urbaninitiative@umassd.edu

285 Old Westport Road
North Dartmouth, MA 02747

Website: http://www.umassd.edu/urbaninitiative/