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Norwalk Housing Authority Recognized By Harvard For Innovation

The Norwalk Housing Authority, 24 1/2 Monroe St., Norwalk, was recognized as a Top 25 program by Harvard University in this year's Innovations in American Government awards competition.
The Norwalk Housing Authority, 24 1/2 Monroe St., Norwalk, was recognized as a Top 25 program by Harvard University in this year's Innovations in American Government awards competition. Photo Credit: File

NORWALK, Conn. -- The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, recognized the Norwalk Housing Foundation’s College Scholarship Program as a Top 25 program in this year’s Innovations in American Government Awards competition.

These government initiatives represent the dedicated efforts of city, state, and federal governments, and address such policy issues as economic development, environmental and community revitalization, public health, equal access to education, emergency preparedness and health care.

These programs were selected by a cohort of policy experts, researchers, and practitioners. Under the leadership of its executive director, Curtis O. Law, The Norwalk Housing Authority created the Norwalk Housing Foundation, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization that raises money for college scholarships and other educational services for Norwalk Housing Authority families.

Its mission is to help public housing residents achieve academic preparation, parity, excellence, and a college degree. All of the foundation's money goes to students and their families for college.

Since its inception in 1998, the foundation has awarded approximately $840,000 through 318 scholarships to 167 students. As the only public housing authority in Connecticut to offer a scholarship program, the foundation encourages learning and development through a support structure embedded into the program that begins with the authority's other educational readiness initiatives, including early childhood through primary education programs and learning centers that operate throughout the subsidized housing community.

“These programs represent the forefront in government innovation, and a cross-section of issues of the twenty-first century, including renewable energy, community revitalization, and public-private partnerships,” said Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in Government program at the Ash Center. “They demonstrate that efforts to make government work better can stem not only from executive orders and statewide initiatives, but also small community programs and private citizens on social media.”

“The Ash Center is proud to recognize these programs and hopes that they will become a vital part of our ongoing efforts to create a community of innovators,” said Tony Saich, director of the Ash Center. “Each Top 25 program can become a blueprint for similar enterprises at all levels of government, inspiring leaders around the country to help improve their communities with opportunities for dialogue and replication.”

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