Portland Elementary students were inspired by College of Business undergraduate students to aim high as part of the Elevate Portland Initiative, a Signature Partnership.
Portland Elementary students were inspired by College of Business undergraduate students to aim high as part of the Elevate Portland Initiative, a Signature Partnership.

The Signature Partnership Initiative at the University of Louisville began in 2007 with one major overarching goal – increase education attainment for those living in Louisville’s west end neighborhoods. It became a comprehensive effort, addressing hurdles that can prevent educational attainment including access to quality health care, employment opportunities, social and human services and K-12 educational partnerships.

This month, the partnership will celebrate 10 years of success and pave the way for the future work with a celebration at 6 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Louisville Central Community Center, 1300 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd. The event is free and open to the public but an online RSVP is required.

“When people talk about UofL’s impact on the community, you can bet that the Signature Partnership Initiative is part of that conversation,” Interim President Greg Postel said. “We are proud of what we’ve done so far, and excited about what’s next.”

While much work has been done, Interim Vice President for Community Engagement Ralph Fitzpatrick said there is room to grow and expand efforts in order to have a bigger impact on area residents.

“We want the community to know what the Signature Partnership has done so far, but also that there’s much yet to be done,” Fitzpatrick said. “We want to discuss how we can grow to better serve Louisville and how to build capacity to help.”

The event will feature remarks by Postel and retired Vice President of Community Engagement Dan Hall.

A panel will also discuss the impact of the program and discuss opportunities for future growth. The panel includes Diane Porter, JCPS School Board Member, District 1; Mark Carter, president/CEO, Passport Health Plans; Pam Rice, executive director, Neighborhood House; and Kevin Fields, president/CEO, Louisville Central Community Center.

Since 2007, the Office of Community Engagement at UofL, which houses the partnership, has tracked:

  • 21,000 instances of student community engagement opportunities representing more than 250,000 hours of community service
  • 4,200 instances of faculty and staff engagement with community projects in west Louisville
  • 200-plus community partner organizations working with UofL and west end residents
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Brandy Warren

Brandy Warren is coordinator for marketing and communications in UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing, where she manages special events and promotes UofL’s Division of Student Affairs. She previously worked at daily newspapers in Kentucky and Alabama.