The Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs at Rutgers-Camden (WRI) serves as a neutral convener and facilitator, while providing technical assistance to a group of stakeholders who seek to address issues adversely affecting regional development in South Jersey.

Since 1999, WRI has dedicated itself to offering training and technical assistance to increase the capacity of  non-profits, community and faith-based organizations, as well as government agencies in the region, with the hope of spurring community development that will lead to regional growth.

Current Projects

Elementary Secondary Counseling Evaluation (Camden School District)

The aim of the project is to reduce disruptive behaviors of students, suspensions and increase student proficiencies through increased mental health services. WRI’s role is to provide process evaluation, assessing the implementation of the Counseling Education program in the Camden School District. The evaluation conducted by WRI will focus predominantly on tracking the opportunities, successes, obstacles and concerns in the implementation of this project through focus groups and interviews with teachers, students, parents and key personnel affiliated with this intervention.

Posted 11:52 am February 18, 2014

Affordable Housing

Affordable housing in South Jersey has a unique set of constraints and factors as compared to the more populous regions of the state, and as such current policy may not appropriately address the issues of this region. This projects aims to narrow the focus of affordable housing from the statewide debate, to one centered specifically on Southern New Jersey, with the ultimate goal of creating a new dialogue and recommendations specific to this unique region.

Posted 11:52 am February 18, 2014

South Jersey Strengthening Families Initiative Evaluation

This project, commissioned by Pascale Sykes Foundation, examines the impact of social service organization collaboration on child well-being, financial stability of families, and relationships between children and their caregivers. Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs will examine the ways in which social service delivery organizations participating in collaboratives, mitigate the negative impact of service fragmentation and resource-deprived environments. The project involves the study of collaboration among social service organizations in Atlantic, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties. The project employs a variety of qualitative and quantitative research methods, including structured family interviews, network analysis, and focus groups designed to measure the impact of social service collaboration on individual families in select pool of families over five years.

Posted 11:51 am February 18, 2014

Food Bank of South Jersey Healthy Living Initiative Evaluation

The Senator Walter Rand Institute (WRI) conducted an evaluation of the Food Bank of South Jersey’s (FBSJ) Healthy Living Initiative. The initiative incorporated several cooking courses for children, teens, adults, and families to increase healthy eating behaviors and cooking skills in South Jersey. WRI provided an assessment of the relevance, effectiveness, impact, and sustainability of the courses along with recommendations that will enable FBSJ in effective planning, programming, and implementation of future courses. Through focus groups with past participants and surveys administered to randomly sampled participants that have completed the courses, as well as a comparison sample of non-participating families who are served by the FBSJ, WRI focused on the program’s impact in terms of the skills learned which include healthy cooking, label reading, and mindful shopping, the retention of nutrition concepts and healthy behaviors over time. Recommendations were offered as appropriate pertaining to the relevance and sustainability of the courses.

Posted 11:49 am February 18, 2014

View the archive of past projects