Press Release

Pace University Partners with The Community Fund to Identify Community Service Needs

Posted
April 17, 2023
Two preschool children reading a book.

Researchers Identify Gaps in Services

Mental health, counseling, substance abuse, and suicide prevention services are among growing needs in lower Westchester that were identified by a team of Pace University faculty researchers during a survey of community residents.

The study, commissioned by The Community Fund of Bronxville, Eastchester, and Tuckahoe was conducted by the Helene T. and Grant M. Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Pace University over an 18 month period that included interviews with area not-for-profits, service providers, and stakeholders.

“Taking a thorough look at community resources and comparing them to current needs goes a long way to ensuring that no person or group is overlooked, and that The Community Fund is maximizing its reach, impact and resources,” said Rebecca Tekula, executive director of the Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and professor of public administration at Pace. “We are looking forward to continuing to work with The Community Fund to improve the lives of area residents.”

The assessment identifies gaps or inadequacies in areas such as human services, health care, housing, public safety, day care, and recreation, among other vital community needs. Findings were presented on March 29, 2023 at The Bronxville Public Library by Pace University faculty who identified ways to use the results to inform the important work of The Community Fund as well as nonprofit agencies, community programs, and local school administrations.

Overall, survey results (PDF) show that while the three communities differ in priorities based on service categories, mental and physical health emerged as the biggest service gap area overall. Findings emerging from the interviews largely confirm the survey results. The most identified theme among all the interview participants refers to mental and emotional health, followed by diversity, equity and inclusion, and youth social and emotional programs.

“The Community Fund is committed to supporting critical social, health and well-being programs that dramatically improve the lives of the people in our Bronxville, Eastchester and Tuckahoe Community,” said Amy Rutter Korb, executive director, The Community Fund. “We are proud to have employed the expertise of Pace researchers to inform our work as well as the efforts of our community partners.”

In 2021, The Community Fund selected experts at the Helene T. and Grant M. Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Pace University to conduct a survey of community members and analyze results.

During this 18-month partnership between The Community Fund and Pace University, Pace Public Administration and Wilson Center faculty and researchers developed an in-depth community survey and held interviews with select community members and leaders in the areas of public health, human services, business, nonprofits, and government. All responses were treated as confidential to ensure the greatest possible degree of candor.

“The interviews and analysis help us understand the ongoing needs of residents, and project where program development and funding will have the greatest impact,” said Gina Scutelnicu Todoran, department chair of public administration at Pace. “It is particularly rewarding to work with an organization like The Community Fund to translate research into practice as we share assessment results with community leaders."

Wilson Center and Public Administration faculty and graduate students have completed a variety of in-depth research projects and reports for local governments and community organizations across a variety of areas, including an assessment of K-12 learning programs for the Westchester Children’s Association; the economic impact of the nonprofit sector in Westchester County; a community assessment of performance for the Port Chester Police Department; and Pace University’s overall economic impact in New York State.

About The Community Fund

The Community Fund, which was founded in 1919, currently supports 26 social service agencies and community programs that provide critical services to Bronxville, Eastchester, Tuckahoe, and the area within the Bronxville 10708 zip code – often at no cost to people who cannot afford to pay. Additionally, The Community Fund provides administrative support to the agencies it supports through on-going site visits, consultations, workshops, and forums.

About The Helene T. and Grant M. Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship

The Wilson Center promotes social change through entrepreneurship. The Center furthers this mission by serving Pace students across all disciplines, social enterprises and nonprofit organizations with education, research, communication, and advisory service.

About Pace University

Since 1906, Pace University has been transforming the lives of its diverse students—academically, professionally, and socioeconomically. With campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, Pace offers bachelor, master, and doctoral degree programs to 13,600 students in its College of Health Professions, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Elisabeth Haub School of Law, Lubin School of Business, School of Education, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems.

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