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Center For Governmental Studies And Sorensen Institute For Political Leadership Receive Grants Totaling $115,000

February 13, 2001 -- Two of the University of Virginia’s leading government and political organizations, the Center for Governmental Studies and the Thomas C. Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, have received grants from the American National Bank and Trust Company of Danville totaling $115,000.

The Center for Governmental Studies, headed by U.Va. Professor Larry J. Sabato, received $65,000 for the continuation and expansion of the Youth Leadership Initiative to middle and high schools in Danville. The Sorensen Institute, headed by William H. Wood, received $50,000 to develop a specialized pilot program to identify, recruit, and train emerging community and political leaders in the Danville area.

"We’re obviously thrilled with the support from the American National Bank and Trust Company," said Wood. "In past years, we have been fortunate to have Danville-area participants in the Institute’s programs, and our goal is to assist other women and men in taking leadership roles in the city and the region."

The Sorensen Institute was established in 1993 by a bipartisan group of Virginians who believed that not enough people in the state were entering public life. The mission of the Institute is to give Virginians the knowledge and skills necessary to be informed and responsible participants in the political process.

More than 250 men and women have taken the Institute’s courses, and more than a third have sought public office, from Congress to local school boards. Its graduates include the chairwoman of the Virginia Democratic Party, State Sen. Emily Couric of Charlottesville, and the chairman of the Virginia Republican Party, Gary Thomson of Chesterfield County.

The grant to the Center for Governmental Studies will help more Danville schools become involved in the Youth Leadership Initiative’s technological and innovative curriculum.

"We’ve had tremendous success in the last two years in Danville, thanks largely in part to the Trust’s support," said Sabato "O.T. Bonner Middle School, in particular, has been a real leader in getting students involved in the political process. This grant allows us to build on this foundation and reach as many schools as possible in the Danville area."

The Center for Governmental Studies, established in 1998 by Sabato, is a non-partisan public-interest institute with a three-part mission of political research, reform and education. Created to combat apathy and disinterest, the Center conducts programs that address current problems facing our political system while educating and informing citizens on public policy issues that affect our state and national interests.

The Center’s signature program, the Youth Leadership Initiative (YLI), provides a comprehensive citizenship education program with teacher developed civics-based curricula structured for middle and high school students all across the nation. Within the classroom, teachers use YLI social studies course units that have been developed by classroom teachers to meet each state’s unique academic standards of learning. YLI hosts the largest on-line mock election in the nation, as well as the YLI e-Congress to introduce young people to the policy-making process.

Contact: Joshua Scoot, (804) 243-3540 or Bill Wood, (804) 982-5698

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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