Skip to main content

Search NYU Steinhardt

NYU Metro Center’s Center for Policy, Research and Evaluation Received a $600,000 Reducing Inequality Award

Photo of a teacher and student

The William T. Grant Foundation has awarded the NYU Metro Center’s Center for Policy, Research and Evaluation a $600,000 Reducing Inequality award. Given the inequitable representation among Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in teaching and educational leadership roles, we will explore how a community-based civic leadership initiative for parents/caregivers and their children--the Children’s Leadership Training Institute (CLTI) and the Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI)--can disrupt power inequities to influence educational systems and institutions. We hypothesize that simultaneously building the leadership capacity of both children and adults will embed civic knowledge, skills, and confidence within the family, and thus lead to more sustainable civic engagement and collective action.

Dr. Joanna Geller, Director of the Center for Policy Research and Evaluation, will serve as Principal Investigator, alongside Co-PIs, Dr. Gigliana Melzi of New York University and Dr. Matthew Diemer of the University of Michigan.

Researchers will work in collaboration with the National Parent Leadership Institute, which  administers and implements the Children’s Leadership Training Institute and the Parent Leadership Training Institute, 20-week civic development programs for parents/caregivers and their children, ages 3-12. Session topics for children and parents parallel one another and include becoming change agents, community and local systems structure, the power of media, public policy, law, and budgeting. In CLTI sessions, children also practice reading, leadership skills, public speaking, and develop and implement a community project.

Our 3-year mixed-methods study will begin with an intensive case study of the CLTI/PLTI site in Bridgeport, Connecticut, as this two-generational family civic initiative is implemented in real-time. We will then implement a quasi-experimental longitudinal survey design and conduct interviews and focus groups with CLTI/PLTI alumni, public officials, and program stakeholders across three CLTI/PLTI sites. In addition, we will engage a participatory research team of CLTI/PLTI alumni and staff, who will advise on the case study and survey and will actively participate in the qualitative research in the three sites.

The Investigators are grateful to the following individuals for their contributions to the proposal process: Zulema Gomez, Melvette Hill, Carolyn Lee-Davis, Gina LeVon Simpson and Donna Thompson-Bennett of the National Parent Leadership Institute; Dr. Elise Harris Wilkerson, Sara McAlister, Dr. Wendy Perez, and Silvia Taylor of NYU Metro Center; Gabrielle Kubi of the University of Michigan; and Anne Henderson and Kate Gill Kressley. We are also deeply appreciative of the excellent feedback from anonymous reviewers, as well as the W.T. Grant Foundation staff and board.

Please contact Joanna Geller at with questions about the study.