Community Engagement

The Mercyhurst University Civic Institute is engaged with the community in many areas. Staff of the department are active participants in community initiatives relating to our current work. In some instances, the Civic Institute staff bring community partners together and facilitate dialogue; while at other times, staff are asked to participate and share their expertise and knowledge. The following are some of the partnerships where we are 'at the table' with the community.

The Civic Institute is the research partner for the City of Erie's Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation (BCJI) Program. The BCJI is a research driven program out of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, and US Department of Justice that emphasizes crime reduction based on place, data-driven efforts that are community-oriented and build trust, partnerships and capacity within a neighborhood. The City of Erie's BCJI neighborhood is East 6th Street to East 26th Street and from Holland to Wayne Streets.

The Child Abuse Prevention Task Force is a collaboration of agencies and organizations that provide services across Erie County working to raise awareness of the potential resources and information available to their clients and consumers.  The Task Force is committed to the prevention of child abuse and neglect through advocacy, education, and public awareness. 

The Erie Coalition aims to ensure that a Trauma-Informed Community can help build the foundation for its residents to overcome the past, thrive in the present, and face the uncertain future with renewed confidence.

The Home Team was created to promote a comprehensive, collaborative and sustained community approach to homelessness. Formed in 1997, it consists of local government representatives, service providers, business owners, consumers and concerned citizens. The Home Team's goal is to enable the person or family experiencing homelessness to become self-sufficient and to move into permanent housing.

The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency stipulates that all counties operate a Criminal Justice Advisory Board to evaluate a county's suitability for support of criminal justice initiatives. Locally, the Erie County CJAB is known as the Erie County Criminal Justice Coalition (ECCJC). Over the years, the ECCJC has been instrumental in pivotal decision making for justice-related issues at the county and local levels.

The Heroin Overdose Awareness Task Force aims to raise awareness and take steps to help prevent addiction.

Erie County Truancy Task Force

The task force seeks to gain a thorough understanding of truancy and identify strategies to effectively address the issues in an effort to reduce truancy throughout Erie County. The task force includes city and county school districts in addition to juvenile court judges, child welfare, juvenile probation, non-profit social service agencies and other community stakeholders. 

Erie Together is a movement of hundreds of local individuals, organizations, schools and businesses working together in strategic ways to prevent and reduce poverty, elevate prosperity, and make the Erie region a community of opportunity where everyone can learn, work and thrive.

Maternal & Child Health Task Force

The Maternal and Child Health Committee is facilitated by Early Connections.  The committee seeks to promote comprehensive community health improvement processes by promoting positive maternal, child, adolescent, and family health outcomes in Erie County. 

UnifiedErie was formed with the purpose of reducing crime & violence in Erie County, PA. It includes three prongs: enforcement,  prevention, and reentry. It is a collaborative effort, with invested members coming from multiple disciplines to work together on this important issue.