What Makes a Solution? Lessons and Findings From Solutions for America
This report provides an overview of the themes and lessons from the Pew Partnership for Civic Change’s Solutions for America initiative. Nineteen promising programs were selected from a nation-wide pool of applications. The projects represented a range of communities: major cities (Boston, New York, Los Angeles); smaller urban centers (Burlington, Vermont; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Charlottesville, Virginia); and rural communities (Big Ugly Creek, West Virginia; Aiken County, South Carolina). In addition to this geographic diversity, the projects represented significant issue diversity as well, as they addressed problems in five policy areas: community economic development; community health; workforce development; civic engagement; and children, youth, and families. Solutions for America was a comprehensive effort to gather systematic data on each of these projects; to learn precisely what works—and what doesn’t—when it comes to solving problems in these areas. This analysis builds on and is complemented by three additional reports. The first, What’s Already Out There: A Sourcebook of Ideas from Successful Community Programs, is a compendium of findings from the nineteen Solutions for America sites. The second is the final internal report of CUPR to the Pew Partnership. The third, “Solutions for America: Preliminary Research Collaboration Findings,” was presented by the author at the Building University-Community Research Partnerships Roundtable held in Charlottesville, Virginia, October 16-17, 2002.
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