Tackling Grand Challenges: Why Does A Community Table Feedback Matter?

By: Katie Kleinhesselink, DU Grand Challenges Program Manager, CCESL

After last year’s A Community Table, we poured over feedback from participants who had gathered at tables in and around Denver and across the country. When asked about the pressing issues affecting economic opportunity in their communities, participants urged action on several common themes:

  • Housing insecurity;
  • Education access;
  • Health and wellbeing;
  • Employment issues (including but not limited to pay equity, barriers to employment, benefits, barriers to hiring, barriers to employment retention); and
  • Racism and gender discrimination.

In handwritten and online surveys, participants shared their ideas for collaborative action to increase economic opportunity. They urged the University of Denver (DU) to share resources and knowledge with the community, research community-identified issues, provide funding to pilot innovative problem solving, become a more visible resource to the community, initiate programming, plan new initiatives, and volunteer time in the community.

Did their feedback matter? Yes! Here’s why.

A Community Table informs everything that DU Grand Challenges does. The conversations that happen each April are the linchpin in the implementation and design of DU Grand Challenges programs.

Consider DU Grand Challenges’ student grants. To qualify for funding, students co-identify with a community partner on a project that addresses one of the A Community Table-identified issues. They then develop and carry out the project in collaboration with the partner and a faculty mentor.

Last year, DU students developed a nutrition program in partnership with the Denver Rescue Mission’s Crossroads program, developed a website prototype for the City of Englewood’s homelessness initiative, and conducted a last mile transportation study for Denver’s West Highlands neighborhood. Learn more about these projects and the other incredible student work that DUGC has funded on our ACE Grants webpage.

Want your voice to shape DU Grand Challenges’ work in the coming year? Sign up today to host A Community Table between April 20-25. Click here to register to bring a handful of people together to talk and shape the future.

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