Community Engagement Center

Mission Statement

“The Community Engagement Center supports Pitzer faculty, students, staff and community partners in forwarding social responsibility and community engagement in surrounding communities through research, service, advocacy, and social change action.”

Since its founding in 1963, Pitzer College has been committed to teaching students to be responsible citizens of communities both local and global by applying the study of liberal arts to concrete actions that benefit others. With the generous support of two major contributors, the W.M. Keck and James Irvine Foundations, Pitzer established the Community Engagement Center in 1999 to further this commitment through a variety of programs integrating work in the field with work in the classroom.

Community Engagement connects students and faculty with local organizations to create community-based research, service learning and experiential education opportunities that enhance the social, environmental, cultural and economic health of our communities. CEC serves as a liaison between the academic institution and community partners, provides internship opportunities, and assistance with funding and programming, as well as providing logistical support to students, faculty, staff, and community partners

Letters of Support


Carnegie Community Engagement Classification

The Community Engagement Center on behalf of Pitzer College has successfully applied for and attained Carnegie Classifications in both the areas of Curricular Engagement and Outreach & Partnerships.

CEC recognizes and honors the students, faculty, staff and community members (past and present) who founded each of Pitzer College’s community engagement programs and gives thanks to all those who sustain these partnerships day after day. Institutions of higher education are invited to apply to these distinctions every 5 years.

Community Engagement Classification
As an elective classification, the Community Engagement classification involves a substantial investment of effort by participating institutions in response to a detailed documentation framework. The framework was developed by Amy Driscoll in consultation with a national network of advisors, including participants in a pilot project conducted in 2005.
The first stage of the documentation process requires institutions to provide a set of entry or foundational indicators, Institutional Identity and Culture and Institutional Commitment. This includes both required and optional documentation examples and descriptions. For example, one requirement of Institutional Identity and Culture was that “the institution indicates that community engagement is a priority in its mission.”
The second stage of the documentation process involves the provision of data and descriptions of engagement activities, with examples, under two categories: Curricular Engagement and Outreach & Partnerships.

Curricular Engagement
Curricular Engagement refers to teaching, learning, and scholarship that engage faculty, students, and community in mutually beneficial and respectful collaboration. Their interactions address community identified needs, deepen students’ civic and academic learning, enhance the well-being of the community, and enrich the scholarship of the institution.

Outreach & Partnerships
Outreach & Partnerships refers to two different but related approaches to community engagement. The first focuses on the application and provision of institutional resources for community use benefiting both campus and community. The latter focuses on collaborative interactions with community and related scholarship for the mutually beneficial exchange, exploration, discovery, and application of knowledge, information, and resources (research, economic development, capacity building, etc.).
Institutions selected the appropriate category (or categories) within which to describe their engagement with community. The documentation process was extensive and substantive, focused on institutionalized approaches to community engagement.
The review process involved close reading of the documentation provided, including consultation with and participation by a national advisory panel. Institutions also received detailed feedback about the documentation they provided.

For more information visit the Carnegie Foundation Website


Founding Contributors

The James Irvine Foundation
Established in 1937 as trustee of the charitable trust of James Irvine, a California agricultural pioneer, to promote the general welfare of the people of California. The Foundation is dedicated to enhancing the social, economic, and physical quality of life throughout California, and to enriching the State’s intellectual and cultural environment. Within these broad purposes, the Foundation supports arts, community development, health, higher education, and youth programs

W. M. Keck Foundation
The W.M. Keck Foundation is one of the nation’s largest philanthropic organizations. Established in 1954 by the late William Myron Keck, founder of The Superior Oil Company, the Foundation’s grantmaking is focused primarily on the areas of medical research, science, and engineering. The Foundation also maintains a program for liberal arts colleges and a Southern California Grant Program that provides support in the areas of civic and community services, health care and hospitals, precollegiate education, and the arts.

The California Endowment
Created in 1996 as a result of Blue Cross of California’s conversion to WellPoint Health Networks, a for-profit corporation, The California Endowment is the State’s largest health care foundation with $3.7 billion in assets. Since its inception, The Endowment has awarded more than 1,200 grants totaling $470 million to community-based organizations throughout California. In February and June 2000, The Endowment awarded CEC two grants to support health services at a transitional housing program developed by HOPE (Homeless Outreach Programs and Education) and at the PEOC (Pomona Economic Opportunity Center, aka Day Labor Center), a local resource for day laborers

Edison International
Committed to the economic prosperity and overall quality of life in the communities where its employees live and work. To meet that commitment, the company has launched numerous community initiatives and historically supported a variety of effective educational, civic, and charitable activities. In April 2000, Edison International provided CEC with a generous award to support English as a Second Language courses at the Pomona Economic Opportunity Center

McCormick Tribune Foundation
The mission of the Los Angeles Times Family Fund, a fund of the McCormick Tribune Foundation, is to improve the lives of disadvantaged children and youth in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. Since its inception, the Los Angeles Times Family Fund has awarded over 550 youth-focused grants totaling more than $9.1 million. In July 2004, CEC received a plenteous award to support a literacy program and community garden at Camp Afflerbaugh-Paige, a local juvenile detention camp and high school.

3M Corporation
The 3M Corporation and colleges and universities across the nation have enjoyed a rich partnership. In August 2004, CEC received a generous award to support the development of an after-school program for homeless and near-homeless youth at a Salvation Army in Ontario, California.


Community Affiliates