Community Partners

What We Do

The Swearer Center partners with a wide range of organizations (nonprofit, LEAs, state and local government agencies etc.) that wish to access the resources of the Swearer Center or the university to advance their mission and work. Partnering organizations work with Swearer Center and university staff as co-educators, co-developers and co-creators of knowledge in our community engagement and engaged scholarship work. 

Our goal is to create strong reciprocal partnerships with organizations focused on community development and social change in the following areas: health (access and equity), environment, economic justice, arts and education. Each year we maintain 80+ organizational partnerships locally and deploy 600+ Brown student volunteers/fellows to work with partnering organizations.

From left: David Grace (The MET School), Michelle Duso (Home to Hope), Shirley Fuertes (English for Action), Cristina Cabrera (Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island)

Our partnership practices are centered around the following values:

Community Agency 

The idea that community-based organizations are best situated to design, create and deliver programs and services in their own communities and therefore our work is that of capacity building partner, technical assistance, and conduit to access other university resources like community-based research.


The idea that we are holding present in our minds the relative value of our partnership to each partner. We work to ensure that both partners realize the desired benefits of the partnership. The Swearer Center offers partner organizations a variety of supports, resources, scholarship, student time and effort, funding for social innovation projects and membership in the Community Partner Network. In turn, partner organizations provide essential learning and engagement opportunities for students, as well knowledge and expertise to Swearer Center and institutional staff as we seek to understand and better inform the field of higher education and community engagement. 

How We Do It

Through our ecosystem of programs, tools and partners, we provide structures for organizations to access resources in three core areas of community engagement: direct service, capacity building and research, assessment and evaluation. Plugging into the Swearer Center’s ecosystem - in any of these core areas - gives our partners access to training, technical assistance and high-impact practices through and our Community Partner Network. Across all of the three core areas, we provide access to the BrownEngage platform so that partners are able to continuously recruit, manage and track the output of ALL of their volunteers (Brown student and non-Brown student). The platform can also be used to build connections and share resources among partners in our network.  

Why We Do It

Central to the Center’s approach to partnership is a commitment to creating opportunities for partner agencies and community members to provide feedback to and advise the Swearer Center on the development and implementation of programs designed to meet community needs and support the mission and work of our partners. Additionally, the Swearer Center strives to create a venue for our partners to convene to share high-impact practices and explore opportunities for collaboration and collective impact.

Some of our local partners:

For a full list of Swearer Center community partners, visit BrownEngage.

Need assistance? Contact us at [email protected].