DC Partnerships

Part of MPC's mission is to create lasting impact within Washington, DC. We're accomplishing this by establishing partnerships with local DC organizations and others looking to make an impact in the region. Non-profit organizations and schools in the DC region can partner with us through undergraduate and graduate students at American University, our Faculty Fellows who are involved in programs such as the Community-Based Research Scholars (CBRS) and Community-Based Research (CBR) Certificate Program, and other courses within the Department of Public Administration and Policy (DPAP). 

Community-Based Research Initiatives

Students in the CBRS and CBR Certificate programs are passionate about social justice and research. They receive in-depth training in quantitative and qualitative research methods. Students conduct surveys, interviews or focus groups, analyze the data, and provide the community partner with a presentation and a report at the end of the semester. See descriptions below for more information about past projects. If you are a non-profit, school, or community organization in DC and are interested in proposing a project, click below.


Other MPC Partners

One DC Logo
MPC has partnered with ONE DC on a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant project entitled, "Making the Just City: An Examination of Organizing for Equity and Health." Read more about this project on our Research page.
Making the Just City Staff

Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum Logo
MPC and the Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum (ACM) have partnered up to bring urban-related events and author talks in collaboration with the A Right To The City Exhibition.

MPC and Smithsonian ACM staff

Woodrow Wilson Center Logo
MPC is part of an international research collaboration providing a comparative study of urban regeneration financing and politics in the U.S., in partnership with the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars’ Urban Sustainability Lab, the Korean Housing and Urban Guarantee Corporation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the University of Pennsylvania's Institute for Urban Research.

Urban Regeneration Initiative Team Members

MPC has been engaging with the DC community since 2014


CBR certificate students complete an independent community-based research project with a local non-profit, school or community organization under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Past projects have typically, but not exclusively, included surveys, focus groups, or interviews with program participants based on the research needs expressed by the organization or school.


CBRS students commit to volunteer for a community-based organization or school for an academic year (September - April). Students are involved in direct service, and not research, with the organization during their volunteer placement.

Spring Community-Based Research Projects

Each spring, CBRS students and CBR certificate students enrolled in SPA-340 Community-Based Research complete a substantive community-based research project with a local non-profit, school or community organization. In Spring of 2020, we partnered with E.L. Haynes Public Charter School, the Latin American Youth Center program at Roosevelt High School, and DC Ethics Bowl.

2020 DPAP Capstone Projects

Maternal Health Outcomes in DC
Authors: Nancy Erickson, Matthew Hufford, and Isabel Taylor

Student Poster for Maternal Mortality in DC project

Best MPA Capstone Poster Award goes to "Maternal Health Outcomes in DC" by Nancy Erickson, Matthew Hufford, Isabel Taylor.

The US ranks 60th in maternal mortality rate out of 187 ranked nations, placing well behind other developed nations. Unlike other countries, the American mortality rate has increased over the past 10 years even though 3 in 5 pregnancy-related deaths in the USA are preventable. The DC maternal mortality rate is still almost 2 times the national rate despite dramatic improvements since 2014. Within DC, Wards 7 and 8 experience the highest rates of women delaying prenatal care, smoking during pregnancy, preterm births, low birth weights, and infant mortality.


11th Street Bridge Project
Authors: Prateek Patel, José Sáenz Crespo, Katharine Silva, Kaitlin Wojak

11th Street Bridge Project Poster.

In 2012, construction of the new 11th Street Bridge was completed, leaving the old piers of the original bridge unused. These piers will be the site of the 11th Street Bridge Park, an elevated park spanning the length of the bridge, connecting DC’s Navy Yard to Anacostia. Concerns remain about the impact the Park will have on Anacostia, one of DC’s most disenfranchised neighborhoods. Our project explores the equity implications that the Park will have on a vulnerable and changing Anacostia.


ANC 3D Smart Energy Solutions
Authors: Sabina Blanco Vecchi, Ben Knuth, Caroline Nickerson, and Adefunke Sonaike

Diagram of an Energy Efficient Home with suggestions

As part of American University’s Master of Public Policy Policy Practicum course and in partnership with Commissioner Elkins from ANC 3D, the authors of this report describe energy efficiency options related to buildings and provide analysis localized to Washington DC — and to the extent possible ANC 3D — regarding global climate change.

Read the Full Report

Teaching students at RHS reinforced what we learned in class.

— John Boyle, ‘23

Project: AU undergraduate students developed and facilitated an Action Research 101 curriculum for high school students. The students were in the process of designing and implementing a survey on an issue of concern to the HS students’ community.

I loved seeing the ethics bowl students think about new ideas and perspectives!

— Rachel Boose, '23

Project: CBRS partnered with Washington, DC Area Ethics Bowl on a research plan to prioritize equity and inclusion in ethics education outreach programs, and identify and address barriers to participation — communication, logistics, transportation, and other resource needs — for area schools, particularly the most under-resourced.



past Spring Semester Community-Based Research Projects

Community Partner Project Outcome

Thrive DC

Students conducted one-on-one interviews in English and Spanish with people experiencing homelessness. Thrive DC has received funding to implement new programs based on the interviews conducted by the AU students, including a program for victims of crime.
Community Partner Project Outcome

DC Hunger Solutions

Latin American Youth Center

Students participated in multiple projects to assist the organization in increasing access to food stamps for underserved populations.
Students conducted surveys and focus groups with teens enrolled in a cooking and nutrition education class.

Created an online food stamps application and an abbreviated, more accessible application for seniors.

Results informed continued improvements to the program.
Community Partners Project Outcome

Maya Angelou Public Charter School

LAYC Career Academy
Latin American Youth Center Programs: Wilson & Roosevelt High Schools


Students conducted surveys and focus groups with DC high school students about barriers to college access and ways the schools or LAYC could enhance how they support them to get the information they need to apply to college.

Schools and programs made changes to their educational programs, informational materials, and advising to increase college access support for students.



Complete Community-Based Research Partner Database

CBR Partners

UPO Logo
Maya Angelou Schools Logo
Thrive DC Logo
DC Hunger Solutions. Ending hunger in the nation's capital.
E.L. Haynes Logo

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CRP = Class Research Project | CBL = Community-Based Learning
Organization Project Years Project Type
Asian American LEAD 2015; 2017 CBL; Capstone
Autistics Association of Washington 2018 Capstone
Capital Area Food Bank 2018 Capstone
Children's National Neonatal Intensive Care Unit 2018 - present Capstone
DC Hunger Solutions 2018 CRP
DC Reads 2015 - present CBL
DC Scores 2019 Capstone
EL Haynes Public Charter School 2020 CRP
Horace Mann Elementary School 2019 CRP
Horton's Kids 2018 - present CBL
Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington 2020 Capstone
Jetli 2018 Capstone
Latino Student Fund 2014 - present CBL
Latin American Youth Center Food & Nutrition Program 2018 - present CBL; CRP; Capstone
Latin American Youth Center Post-Secondary Success Program 2019 Capstone
LAYC Career Academy 2016 - present CBL; CRP; Capstone
Latin American Youth Center Program at Roosevelt High School 2019, 2020 CRP
Latin American Youth Center Program at Wilson High School 2019 CRP
Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence 2018, 2019 Capstone
Maya Angelou Public Charter School 2016, 2019 CRP
The Menses Project 2019 - present Capstone
National Network to End Domestic Violence 2020 Capstone
South Asian Americans Leading Together 2018 Capstone
SMYAL 2017 Capstone
The Family Place 2015 - 2017 CBL; Capstone
Thrive DC 2015 - present CBL; CRP
United Planning Organization 2014 - present CRP; Capstone
Urban Institute 2019 Capstone
Victim Rights Law Center 2019 Capstone
Virginia Williams Center 2019 Capstone
Community of Hope 2019 - present CBL