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Divided Community Project Receives $100,000 Grant from The Jacques M. Littlefield Foundation

April 20, 2018 | College

The Jacques M. Littlefield Foundation approved a $100,000 grant over two years to the Divided Community Project (DCP), housed at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. DCP provides public officials and community leaders with useful tools and resources to deal effectively with community unrest before it occurs and constructively address violent social conflicts that do arise.

“The Divided Community Project does outstanding work based on deep experience in communities throughout the United States,” said Scott Littlefield, Treasurer and Vice President of the Jacques M. Littlefield Foundation. “Their cross-sector approach is informed by best practices and it is led by highly skilled practitioners. This grant is an important complement to our local work in California and Colorado.”

The Jacques M. Littlefield Foundation supports educational opportunities in California and Colorado and seeks sustainable improvements in the society, the economy, and the environment. The Foundation believes that great communities are built by empowering dynamic people and organizations. Therefore, the Foundation awards grants that, among other things, build community engagement and grow the capacity of local leaders.

Grande Lum has served as the DCP’s director for the last two years. “We thank the Littlefield Foundation for believing and supporting this project,” he said. “As communities across the country face increasing division, we want to equip leaders with tools to prevent division from devolving into polarization.” Prior to his role with DCP, Lum directed the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service, where he oversaw response teams following high-profile incidents in Ferguson, Mo., Sanford, Fl., Staten Island, N.Y., Baltimore, Md. and elsewhere.  Nancy Rogers, Josh Stulberg, Sarah Cole, and Bill Froehlich of Moritz College of Law, currently serve on the DCP executive team.  A national steering committee of community mediators, current and former public officials, and scholars guides the project.

DCP has published three reports: Planning in Advance of Civil Unrest (2016), Key Considerations for Community Leaders Facing Civil Unrest (2016), and Divided Communities and Social Media (2017).  A forthcoming 2018 report, Facing Hate, will focus on how community leaders can prepare and respond to hate incidents. This year, DCP will launch the American Spirit Initiative. Components of the initiative will focus on dissemination and implementation of resources through pilot programs nationwide, and currently include Columbus, OH; San Mateo, CA; Rochester, NY; and Orlando, FL.  DCP has developed tools including a table top simulation and a community stress assessment test that successfully support planning in advance of civil unrest.

For more information, please visit the Divided Community Project website: go.osu.edu/dividedcommunityproject  or contact Associate Director Bill Froehlich at (614) 688-4192.