L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs



Manhattan Institute Awards Research Grant to Susan Gooden

Susan T. Gooden, Ph.D., professor of public administration and policy at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University, has received a research grant of $364,196 to conduct an evaluation of the life outcomes of participants in nonprofit organizations focused on engaging disadvantaged youth from poor and minority communities.

The New York-based Manhattan Institute for Policy Research awarded the grant, which covers two years of funding through July 2017. The institute identified four nonprofit organizations, which have won its Richard Cornuelle Award for Social Entrepreneurship, that serve predominately low-income African American youth. The nonprofits are:

  • Reclaim a Youth (RAY) of Illinois, located in Chicago, empowers youth ages 12-18 with basic values and affirm their individual talents that help to build a health sense of self-worth and community.
  • Mama Foundation for the Arts in Harlem, N.Y., presents, preserves and promotes the history and fundamentals of gospel, jazz, and rhythm and blues music for current and future generations.
  • New Jersey Orators, based in Somerset, N.J., focuses on helping youth ages 7-18 learn the art of public speaking and effective communication.
  • Center for Teaching Entrepreneurship in Milwaukee works with young people ages 9-24 to develop financial literacy and entrepreneurial skills and help with personal and professional growth.

Each of the four organizations was founded by African-American visionaries who are committed to working with youth within their communities, Gooden said, adding that the institute’s social entrepreneurship awards recognize the best of America’s new generation of nonprofit leaders.

“This grant allows us to evaluate medium- to long-term outcomes of the youth served, identifying programmatic impacts, best practices and lessons learned,” Gooden said. “It examines youth outcomes of well-established nonprofit villages and captures the expertise of their visionary organizational founders and leaders. Our work will deepen society’s understanding of the transfer of education, knowledge, resilience and life skills by nationally recognized nonprofit organizations that largely serve African-American youth.”