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McCormick Tribune Foundation awards grant to Public Policy High School Initiatives program at UIS

September 7, 2004

SPRINGFIELD - The Public Policy High School Initiatives program at the University of Illinois at Springfield has been awarded a $33,000 grant from the McCormick Tribune Foundation that will fund the participation of six Illinois high schools in the program in 2004-2005.

The Public Policy Initiative, housed within UIS’ Center for State Policy and Leadership, is in its third year of providing a unique civic education program that engages high school teachers and students in community activism and leadership by asking them to identify problems that impact their local communities and to research alternatives that may provide solutions to these problems. Students are taught how to create, develop, and influence public policy at the grassroots level and work closely with teachers and local and state government officials to effect real change.  A partial list of past topics addressed by students in the program includes school funding, voter education, community park and small business development, public housing, and tourism. 

PPHSI director Peggy Dunn notes that the program allows young people to “become part of the process of government at an age when they are most likely to disengage because they lack an understanding of their voice and their role in state and national government and their ability to effect real change in their communities.”

All secondary schools in Illinois are eligible to apply for a classroom grant and develop teaching teams. The curriculum is linked to the Illinois Learning Standards and focuses classroom instruction on local and state government and the roles of citizens in government.  In addition to real-world applications resulting from the projects, students apply classroom experiences to real-life situations, explore potential career interests, and strengthen technology skills.

The McCormick Tribune Foundation is one of the nation’s largest charitable organizations. In 2003 it gave more than $82 million in grants designed to invest in communities, address human needs, and promote the ideals of a democratic society through innovative partnerships. The foundation was established as a charitable trust in 1955 on the death of Col. Robert R. McCormick, longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune.

The foundation provides assistance in four program areas: communities, education, journalism, and citizenship -- as well as a special initiatives program. Through its grants, the foundation seeks to improve the social and economic environment, encourage a free and responsible discussion of issues affecting the nation, enhance the effectiveness of American education, and stimulate responsible citizenship. For more information, visit www.mccormicktribune.org.

For more information about the Public Policy High School Initiative Program, go to http://pphsp.uis.edu/ or contact Dunn at (217) 206-7398.

    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 40 degree programs – 20 bachelor’s, 19 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.
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