October 1, 2008

Grant Aims to Use Web, College Students to Alleviate Poverty

Computers, college students and community service - connecting all three is the aim of a major federal grant to a Virginia nonprofit group. Learn and Serve America, a division of the Corporation for National and Community Service, will award The Phoenix Project $550,000 to increase service and civic participation by college students throughout the United States.

The Phoenix Project, a Virginia-based nonprofit organization, seeks to alleviate poverty in the state by building university- community partnerships in economically distressed areas. It currently coordinates three partnerships in Petersburg, Southeast Newport News and along the Route 1 corridor in southern Fairfax County.

The grant was announced at the National Conference on Citizenship last week at the National Archives in Washington.

"Essentially were creating online, Internet-based tools that will allow college students to be of greater service to their community," said David Carter, director of programs for the Phoenix Project.

The Phoenix Project, together with partners George Mason University and Craigslist Foundation, will use the grant to research whether and how social media tools can engage more students to assist nonprofit and municipal agencies that address community challenges.

Social media most often refers to Internet tools that integrate technology and social interaction, such as blogs, wikis, podcasts and Web sites such as Facebook and MySpace.

The Phoenix Project also is leading the social-entrepreneurship movement in Virginia. Each summer, 30 graduate and undergraduate students complete its summer Nonprofit Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship Program.

Contact Robin Farmer at (804) 649-6312 or [email protected]


Originally published by FARMER; Times-Dispatch Staff Writer.

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