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As part of its weeklong celebration leading up to the inauguration of Capital University’s 16th president, Dr. Elizabeth Paul, the institution announced a formal partnership with The Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation on April 20, 2017. The only partnership of its kind in the Columbus region, the relationship will fuel scholarships for low-income, underrepresented and first-generation students with a passion for community engagement and social justice issues.
“The Bonner Foundation’s work focuses on empowering students who might not otherwise pursue higher education, and empowering communities to be equal partners in building new capacity in their neighborhoods. This aligns perfectly with Capital’s mission, as a purpose university that prepares purpose-ready students who graduate and make significant contributions to the communities in which they live, learn and lead,” said Dr. Elizabeth Paul, president of Capital University. “We’re educating students, shaping purposeful lives, and lifting up our neighborhoods one by one.”
Known for supporting anti-poverty programs in the areas of education and hunger, the Bonner Foundation seeks to provide students the opportunity to attend college while simultaneously building the communities around them. The organization works with more than 60 campuses nationwide, which identify students with limited financial resources who are motivated by social justice issues and offer financial assistance in exchange for community engagement and service. Oberlin College is the only other Ohio school with a formal Bonner partnership.
– Dr. Elizabeth Paul
“We look for institutions whose philosophies line up with what we believe: that compassion and collaboration really do make the world a better place,” said Robert (Bobby) Hackett, president of the Bonner Foundation. “Capital University’s students, staff and alumni subscribe to that belief, and we want to help bring that opportunity to even more would-be ‘change-makers’ in the community.”
Capital University will implement the Bonner program first with existing students and then extend it to prospective students, including those from Columbus City Schools’ “I Know I Can” and United Way’s E3 participants, in fall 2018 through a competitive scholarship process. Capital’s Bonner Leader Program is distinctive because of the university’s strengths in convergence, multi-disciplinary problem-solving, and blend of liberal arts and professional programs at the undergraduate, adult degree-completion and graduate levels. As an urban university with campuses in downtown Columbus and Bexley, the neighborhoods that surround its campuses are an extended learning community that create opportunity for the immersive, high-impact learning experiences. Knowing that more than 90 percent of each graduating class from Capital remains in Ohio following graduation, and with 19,000 Central Ohio alumni, Capital’s long-term goal is to make a meaningful and lasting impact on both its students and the larger Columbus community.
Aligning with Capital University’s purpose-driven mission, Capital’s Bonner program will expand on traditional service models to spark an intentional movement to address and impact real challenges in Columbus, beginning in the Near East Side and Driving Park neighborhoods. Capital and Near East Side officials have been collaborating and working to identify focuses that will likely drive Bonner leaders’ work in the community, with potential issues ranging from infant mortality to home foreclosures to small business development.