Ginsberg Community Engagement Grant Helps IDC and Groundcover News Improve Distribution

image of newspaper cart prototype made of metal and canvas bag for newspapers

From 2021 Annual Report: The Ginsberg Center provides multiple forms of financial resources for student groups and organizations to engage in positive change through social justice education, leadership development, and meaningful service experiences with the community. In particular, our Community Engagement Grants allow us to deepen partnerships between student organizations and community organizations or agencies who are working together to address a community-identified need.

This year, one of those grants went to U-M’s Impact Design Collaborative (IDC) to support work with their partner, Groundcover News, a street newspaper that helps low-income members of the community make the transition from homeless to housed. A collection of designers, architects, and planners seeking to initiate change in the design field and the built environment, IDC uses design principles to address local issues.

IDC’s aim was to help Groundcover News improve the efficiency of their distribution via redesigned mobile newspaper carts that were both more aesthetically pleasing and practical.

To that end, IDC used their Community Engagement Grant to help fund the design of a prototype of the new cart, as well as to purchase the materials for the construction of some carts. According to Camilla Lizundia, an IDC project manager, the grant itself was just one of many aspects of how Ginsberg has supported—and continues to support—the project, from inception to fruition.

“We really appreciated how receptive the Ginsberg Center was when we were in the brainstorming phase of our project,” she says. “Also, the steps to apply for the grant encouraged us to foster a deeper relationship with Groundcover News.”

The team found particular value in Ginsberg’s Entering, Engaging, and Exiting Workshop, which helped them approach the project mindfully. “For us, that workshop helped us stay conscious of and accountable for the impact our project has on surrounding communities,” Lizundia adds.

As with most things, the pandemic has slowed the construction of the prototype cart a bit, but IDC has already begun the process of constructing the carts from their visual rendering. IDC is continuing into these next phases with Ginsberg principles guiding them.

“It’s so easy for U-M students to enter into a new community, ask for what benefits U-M, and then leave,” Lizundia says “But with this project, our team really tried to establish a long-term partnership with longterm solutions that benefit Groundcover first, then U-M’s goals.”

Read more from our 2021 Annual Report here.