CCI Awarded Leighton Foundation Grant

Author: CCI Staff


Thanks to a grant from the Judd Leighton Foundation, Inc., the Center for Civic Innovation will design and implement a maker space and year-round design thinking curriculum for South Bend K-12 students who attend the CCI Youth Program. The project will engage a summer 2022 CCI internship team with area design thinking and youth education professionals to develop and implement programming that enhances STEM learning and develops a well-prepared STEM workforce ready to take on the challenges of the future.

Since 2000, the Leighton Foundation has pursued its mission to “improve the quality of life in our community in the areas of interest in health, education, and economic development.” This mission aligns with both the CCI Internship Program’s objective to engage talented students in our region with the community to improve the quality of life in South Bend and the CCI K-12 Youth Program’s objective to provide unique educational programs on South Bend’s West Side that combine one-on-one relationships with arts and STEM experiences in a comfortable environment. This project marks the first official programming co-designed in partnership between CCI's Internship Program and K-12 Youth Program.

“This is an exciting opportunity for local youth to collaborate with Notre Dame faculty and college interns on this innovative project that will have a lasting impact on the facility and the programs offered at NDCCI,” said Robinson Community Learning Center’s manager, Jennifer Knapp Beudert.

This 1-year grant effort includes CCI team members Jay Brockman, Alisa Zornig Gura (PI), Lauren Lounsbury, and Aurelie Delavignette along with Robinson Community Learning Center’s Manager, Jennifer Knapp Beudert. The grant team, together with CCI interns and community partners, will use this investment to seed and implement the physical and curricular elements of the program while growing a long-term, sustainable design thinking program.

“We are grateful to the Judd Leighton Foundation for providing this opportunity to expand and enhance educational opportunities in STEM for local K-12 and college students participating in CCI programs,” said CCI’s managing director, Alisa Zornig Gura.

The Center for Civic Innovation officially launched within the Notre Dame College of Engineering in 2018, and upon moving into the former Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture on West Washington Street in South Bend, began working with the K-12 Youth Program on the West Side that had been created by the Robinson Community Learning Center in 2012.