Community Capacity and Wellbeing

13620768_284480421909589_7757110270146454415_nAbdirazak Ibrahim was living at the Hartland Apartments when UNP launched its Partnership Center there in 2004. Both of his parents attended citizenship and English classes at the center. Abdirazak himself approached UNP around 2010, seeking support for his fledgling organization, the Somali Community Self-Management Agency, which addresses basic needs such as housing, food, and language acquisition, so that refugee families can integrate into the US and attain self-sufficiency. UNP supported the Self-Management Agency in registering as a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization.

Abdirazak joined the UNP Hartland Resident Committee as a community leader. Through UNP, he built partnerships with the College of Social Work and the Department of Occupational and Recreational Therapies at the University of Utah. Graduate students have worked closely with Abdirazak to build the organization’s capacity, while advancing their own learning. The agency continues to offer classes on the weekends at the UNP Hartland Partnership Center.

Community Capacity & Wellbeing partnerships bring together residents, community organizations, and higher education partners to advance the priorities of west side families in the areas of housing, health & wellness, employment, safety, environment, local organizational & community development, civic engagement, and language acquisition. While these partnerships often focus on meeting the most basic needs of a community, family, and individual, they simultaneously build the capacity of community organizations and systems of higher education who are engaged in actively working with the community to find and create long-lasting and sustainable solutions.

Long-Term Goals Include:

  • Two-way integration
    • Individuals and families have opportunities for learning about and connecting with local communities, as well as the larger systems that affect their lives.
    • Community organizations and systems of education have opportunities to engage with residents and community groups for the purpose of expanding their capacity to implement research, teaching, and other practices in partnership with, and informed by, the communities with which they work.
  • Family and neighborhood stability by ensuring that all residents have the resources, access, information, and opportunities they need for educational success.

UNP Hartland Partnership Center

The UNP Hartland Partnership Center is the site of many of UNP’s community capacity and wellbeing partnerships. The Center is based on a holistic model of family support, enhancing community capacity, resident leadership, and access to resources for people right where they live. The Center has evolved over time into a home for over 30 partnerships addressing housing stability, employment pathways, health care, citizenship and language acquisition, and education from pre-K through adults. Guided by a committee of local residents, the Center is driven by community-identified priorities, and provides an extraordinary space of shared learning across community and higher ed partners. The Center has inspired other similar projects at the Bud Bailey Apartments, Hser Nae Moo, Sunnyvale, and other locations. UNP staff at Hartland work closely with other neighborhood ‘hubs’ and partners to create a web of connections that support a healthy, strong, interconnected community

Community Health Initiatives

University Neighborhood Partners supports many connections and partnerships that address community health and wellness. Some partnerships promote and provide access to healthy lifestyles. Others relate to the needs of people and families who are affected by disabilities. Still others deal directly with issues related to physical, emotional, and mental health and/or substance use. One by one, we connect families and individuals from diverse backgrounds to resources and needed services. More importantly, we support them in overcoming adversity and building their resilience and support systems, increasing their capacity to address their health needs in the future.


The Citizenship partnership is a free course collaboration between the English Skills Learning Center and the S.J. Quinney College of Law Pro Bono Initiative that works to provide education, preparation, and English language acquisition needed to pass the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization test and interview. The goal of this partnership, is for individuals to work, learn and practice at their own pace in preparing for the reading, writing, and speaking portions of the naturalization test.

New American Academic Network

The New American Academic Network, or NAAN, is a partnership established by UNP in the fall of 2009. NAAN works with foreign-trained refugees and immigrants to obtain the assessments, course work, and resources they need to integrate into professional employment in the U.S. Participants hold a wide range of academic and professional credentials from their countries of origin. NAAN connects them with higher education so participants can return to school and continue their chosen careers. In addition to gaining academic experience in the U.S., participants also develop valuable professional networks and relationships that build their social capital.