Who is a Community Partner?
Service-Learning community partners are typically non-profit agencies, schools, and government organizations, or others who provide valuable support and services to communities. Corporate partners are not ruled out because, as Riemer and McKeown state, “Both corporations and universities are engaging more and more in work to enhance the vitality of all levels of society.” *
The most important questions are: Is the work of the partnership going to benefit the community, locally or more widely? Is the product of the partnership going to be available / open to a significant portion of the community (not to only to a privileged subgroup)? In the end, is this service to the public rather than service to a selective organization?
For example, a project to create accessible technology for those with disabilities might partner with a local agency for community members with disabilities and with a local computer company. While the computer company is a for-profit business, the content of the project is service-related in that it addresses a community need.
If you have questions about community partners, or would like more information on how to find a potential community partner, contact the CUPS office: firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-656-0095.
*From Jacoby (2003), Building Partnerships for Service-Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, p. 234.