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UNC receives $375,000 grant for project to help local elementary schools

Strowd Roses Inc. and the Triangle Community Foundation have pledged grants totaling $375,000 to the Carolina Center for Public Service at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for a three-year project that will benefit students in Carrboro, Ephesus Road and Frank Porter Graham elementary schools.
In a unique school-community partnership, Strowd Roses, Triangle Community Foundation and Carolina are coming together to offer a wealth of resources to the schools to address the achievement gap among elementary students. Through its Strowd Roses Faculty Fund, the Carolina Center for Public Service will use the gift to support the school-based research of School of Social Work faculty member Natasha Bowen, Ph.D.
“One of the exciting things about this project is that it is a collaboration among the researchers at the UNC School of Social Work, educators in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system, and resources in the community coming together to provide positive outcomes to children and families,” said Jack Richman, dean of the School of Social Work.
Researchers at the School of Social Work have created a comprehensive assessment tool that identifies social environmental barriers to learning, called the Elementary School Success Profile (ESSP). It includes a collaborative decision-making process, an online database of intervention strategies, staff development workshops and a variety of other resources. The project stresses school, parent and community collaboration to maximize efforts and resources. More information about the ESSP is available online at           
Beginning this month, the three-year project conducted by the School of Social Work will follow a group of third graders, identify the individual needs of the students and work with the schools to develop strategies to address those needs. Schools will receive generous funding to purchase materials, training and supplies needed to put strategies into action. Drs. Bowen and Joelle Powers, faculty at the School of Social Work, will work with school staff throughout the project.
“The immediate goal is to improve students’ social environments, as well as psychological and physical well-being. The long term goal is to improve the academic performance of students, and reduce performance disparities based on race/ethnicity and socio-economic status,” said Dr. Bowen.   
Strowd Roses Inc. is a nonprofit charitable foundation dedicated to supporting the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community. It was established with funds from the estates of the late Irene Strowd and her sister, the late Gladis Adams. In endowing the foundation, Irene Strowd wished to honor the memory of her husband, Fletcher Eugene Strowd, by providing in perpetuity for the maintenance and care of the Community Rose Garden that he founded, and by funding projects and organizations that would improve the quality of life for citizens of the greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro community.
Triangle Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization that makes grants and administers a variety of programs for the community’s benefit. It partners with leading corporations and nonprofit organizations that create innovative solutions to meet the region’s needs and support the common good.
The UNC School of Social Work is a highly selective and distinguished graduate school offering masters and doctoral programs. The school is one of the nation’s leaders in social work research and education, and is consistently ranked among the top 10 schools of social work in the country.
The Carolina Center for Public Service engages and supports the UNC faculty, students and staff in meeting the needs of North Carolina and beyond. The center strengthens the university’s public service commitment by promoting scholarship and service that are responsive to the concerns of the state and contribute to the common good.