Request for Proposals

The Urban Learning and Leadership Collaborative (ULLC) offers research funding for Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline (D:STOPP) endangering Detroit’s bright youth

Download the Application

Grant Contact: Tahjma Vaughn

Media Contact: Stephanie Maurice

DETROIT, September 3, 2020 – Focus: HOPE, a Detroit antiracism and human rights organization founded in 1968 as a response to Detroit’s 1967 civil unrest, has announced a partnership with the University of Michigan School of Education and Wayne State University School of Social Work to offer mini-grants for community-based research. “I’m excited about support from the Spencer Foundation to do research to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline (D:STOPP) because it is one of the most visible products of systematic racism and anti-Blackness,” said Mr. Jasahn Larsosa, Director of Advocacy, Equity & Community Empowerment for Focus: HOPE and co-principal investigator for this project. “The investment is also very timely given today’s public discussion about Black lives,” he said.

Convened by Focus: HOPE in 2012, the Urban Learning and Leadership Collaborative (ULLC) is a partnership forged between community-based organizations, university stakeholders and HOPE Village residents to advance neighborhood initiatives that address pervasive problems. The HOPE Village is a neighborhood in a roughly 100 block area that intersects North Central Detroit and Highland Park. It is home to Focus: HOPE and other community-serving institutions including two K-8 Charter Schools: NPFE Glazer Academy and Joy Preparatory Academy.

The Spencer Foundation, based in Chicago, is a leading national foundation that supports educational research. This funding will facilitate the ULLC’s ability to solicit, vet, and support community-based research initiatives that seek to promote equitable educational access, fair discipline, and restorative justice in Detroit’s schools while also integrating antiracist and pro-Black learning into schools systems generally in order to nurture the aspirations, well-being and development of all young bright students of color endangered by the school to prison pipeline.

Dr. Camille Wilson, Professor of Education at the University of Michigan, serves as principal investigator of D:STOPP. “Working with Focus: HOPE and the ULLC on D:STOPP is a great opportunity for university, community, and youth partners to collaborate in conducting research that improves education and advances social justice. It is gratifying to co-lead this joint effort,” she said. The University of Michigan School of Education will also evaluate and study this research-based collaborative.

The ULLC is soliciting applications to establish and support a cohort of Detroit-based inquiry teams, comprised of academic and community researchers, with a particular focus on the schools and neighborhoods surrounding Focus: HOPE’s campus in north-central Detroit. Youth researchers will be included, trained, and mentored throughout this process.

ULLC mini-grants will provide each action research team: (1) a one-time award of up to $12,000 for research expenses, (2) an additional $3000 stipend for the adult community practitioner-researcher each year for two academic years, (3) a $300 youth researcher stipend each year for two academic years, and (4) research development, evaluation, and team building support.

All awardees will be required to participate in research development and team building events as well as present findings at a ULLC symposium in the Hope Village Community, which has strong links to Focus: HOPE, Hope Village Revitalization, University of Michigan, Wayne State University, Michigan State University, and other higher education institutions and community-based organizations in the region.

Towards the end of their study, each action research team will develop a practical and research-informed resource that will assist at a school community (or a community organization that has close relationships with local schools). Such resources will relate to school improvement, youth and family advocacy, equitable policy making, and/or strengthening school-family-community partnerships.

Applications may come from university researchers, community-based organizations, or schools.  The ULLC will work with applicants to find good partners for collaborative inquiry. The application deadline is October 15, 2020. The ULLC will be hosting online information sessions on September 10 & 11, 2020.


Thursday, September 10 from 6:00-7:00pm:

Register in advance for this meeting:


Friday, September 11 from 11:00am-12:00pm:

Register in advance for this meeting:

Meet ‘n Match:      To be eligible for the mini-grant, teams must be comprised of a youth researcher, a university researcher and an adult community-based researcher. Those needing support in building their teams are invited to this event where they will meet others looking to “meet ‘n match” toward success. We are scheduled for September 16th, 3-5pm at the HOPE Village Farmer’s Market located in Cool Cities Park at 14150 Woodrow Wilson. Please RSVP here!