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UNI's Public Policy Program receives grant

September 20, 2011

Allen Hays, director and professor, public policy program, 319-273-2910,

Stacey Christensen, Office of University Relations, 319-273-6728,


CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The University of Northern Iowa's Public Policy Program recently received a grant of more than $11,000 from the Max and Helen Guernsey Charitable Foundation to carry out the Neighborhood Study Circles program. The program is designed to help people of limited income in the Waterloo area with needs such as public policy, education, housing, mental health and youth recreation.

There are three stages to the Neighborhood Study Circle program. The first stage includes neighborhood conversations with residents to discuss problems or issues in the community and what they can do to make a difference. Residents will also attend leadership training sessions, where they will acquire the leadership skills necessary to move forward with their issues and plan to resolve them. During the last stage of the program, residents will meet with community leaders, public and non-profit agencies and foundation funders to practice their leadership skills in order to create a strategy to solve the chosen issue.

"Students involved in this project will gain valuable, hands-on public policy experience, while enabling underprivileged community members to better their everyday life," says Allen Hays, director and professor of UNI's public policy program.

The Neighborhood Study Circles program hopes to enable residents to articulate and prioritize issues that affect their lives. The program will provide neighborhood residents leadership skills necessary to effectively mobilize their fellow residents and develop a community wide action plan addressing a range of issues affecting neighborhoods and provide motivation and support as neighborhood residents act on these plans.

For more information about the program, contact Hays, at 319-273-2910 or