Campus-community partnerships have emerged over the past two decades as a powerful tool for revitalizing communities and meeting persistent community needs. Universities are often the most talented and committed institutions left in our core cities or in declining rural areas. Increasingly, communities are turning to these powerhouses of human talent and ingenuity to forge collaborative efforts to achieve results what neither the university nor the community by itself could achieve. Thus, the mission of many universities, including Mercer University, has expanded beyond the traditional goals of academic learning and scholarship. Part of this public mission has become civic transformation through community partnerships.
In 1996, Macon Mayor Jim Marshall, and Mercer President R. Kirby Godsey agreed that Mercer would join forces with the city to reverse the decline of the historic Beall's Hill neighborhood adjacent to Mercer’s main campus in Macon. The results have been substantial, as more and more community partners join the effort and more and more faculty and students discover how they can be part of this transformation.
Mercer recently took on its largest project to date, serving as the lead fiscal agent for a federally funded, place-based, data-driven initiative targeting four local public schools. Macon Promise Neighborhood provides targeted, wrap-around educational, social, and health services to children ages birth to twenty-three in two neighborhood adjacent to the Mercer campus. This million dollar project brings together over thirty local partners and several million dollars in community resources.