This annual award expands the work of the Niagara University Community towards understanding poverty both in our local region and on a global scale.

cianca in ethiopiaEvery year, the President’s Office and the Vincentian Community provide $6,000 to support research or direct service projects that will broaden our understanding of poverty, both its causes and innovative ways to counter it. This Research and Project Award to Address Poverty is open to both faculty and staff. 

How to Apply

Projects Funded by this Award

  • 2017

    A Window Between Worlds: Addressing Domestic Violence & Poverty

    (with Jennifer Beebe, Associate Professor of Education) Approximately one in four women in the United States will experience domestic violence at some point in her lifetime (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000). Furthermore, findings from several studies have identified the significant correlation between domestic violence and poverty (Cunradi, Caetano, & Schafer, 2002; Vest, Catlin, Chen, & Brownson, 2002). While it is generally accepted that low socioeconomic status and domestic violence coincide, Goodman and colleagues (2009) have noted a gap in understanding what they define as “survival-focused coping” in both the research and practical realms of domestic violence services.

    The two goals of this proposed project are as follows: First, we seek to conduct a utilization-focused evaluation (Patton, 2008) of the adult therapy group conducted as part of the domestic violence services offered at Family & Children’s. Second, we seek to assess the AWBW program (a bi-monthly portion of the adult therapy group) by conducting an outcome evaluation that specifically explores AWBW programming effectiveness at addressing survival-focused coping among domestic violence survivors living in poverty.
    Dana Radatz, Assistant Professor - Criminology & Criminal Justice
  • 2016

    Going Mobile: Reaching Out and Serving the Poor Where They Live

    Cheektowaga continues to see the largest increase of poverty in all of the Western New York region. With the Vincentian Poverty Grant, we were able to purchase equipment that is invaluable to the effectiveness of a Mobile Food Pantry in that city. Resurrection Life Church in Cheektowaga hosts this innovative “client choice” pantry, which simply means that clients are able to “shop” and select which foods best fit them and their family’s nutritional needs. This platform is becoming widely accepted as the model for meeting the needs of those who come, while at the same time fostering a sense of dignity within.
    JonJay Stockslader, Director, Center for Continuing and Community Education
  • 2015

    Implementing a Strategic Media Campaign for the Friendship Village, Vietnam

    With the help of the Vincentian Poverty Grant, I traveled to Hanoi, Vietnam last summer to spend time at the Friendship Village, which is a home, school, and clinic for approximately 120 children and young adults living with moderate to severe disability owing to Agent Orange exposure. While there, I interviewed the staff and residents, visited the classrooms and clinic, and visited one of the resident’s home in the country, all the while taking photographs, recording interview discussions, and shooting high-resolution video. Upon my return to the US, I worked with NU students--Kate Dickey and Peter Szilvay--to create a variety of media footage that the US arm of the Village can use to better fund raise for the Village.
    Dr. Joseph Little, Associate Professor of English
  • 2013

    Needs Assessment and Analysis of Homelessness in Niagara Falls and Niagara County

    This project funded the collection of research and data about the number of homeless women and children in Niagara County, as well as specific causes of homelessness for women and children such as domestic violence, unemployment, or lack of education. We further investigated the availability and affordability of housing in Niagara Falls for women and children after receiving transitional housing and support services.
    John Overbeck, Professor of Marketing
  • 2012

    Operation Guardian Angel

    This award enabled us to start an official 501c(3) that we entitled ‘Operation Guardian Angel.’ Our organization continues to work with street ministers to provide service and support to victims of the sex trade in Niagara Falls, NY. Our mission is to break the cycle of violence, drugs, and illegal activity by helping victims of the sex trade through targeted outreach and empowerment of the victims.
    Patricia McIntosh, Assistant Director of Alumni and Annual Programs
  • 2010

    Interfaith Approaches to Poverty in Southeastern Turkey

    As part of this project I was able to conduct field research on efforts to alleviate poverty in the South Eastern region of Turkey. The region is well-known for its socio-economic challenges which breeds ethnic conflict. My research involved visiting 9 cities in the region, interviewing more than a dozen non-profit aid organization leaders, personally participating in some of their aid distribution activities. During my research I was able to gather first-hand data on a wide variety of philanthropic activities, identifying aid types as well as their effectiveness.
    Dr. Mustafa Gokcek, Associate Professor of History
  • 2009

    Educating the Poor in Rural Ethiopia: Scheduling, Curriculum and Pedagogy

    I visited the rural Ethiopian town of Sululta to meet with town officials and the Minister of Education. I toured the public school and a private school, visited homes and interacted with local children whose families are unable to finance their children’s education. Following my visit, I submitted a proposal and school design to Global Reach Children’s Fund for the building and operation of a free primary school for poor, unschooled children of Sululta. School construction is presently under way. Also as a result of this visit, I formed relationships with schools in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital city, and in subsequent visits to the country, I spent six weeks training in-service teachers at Little Angels School. The grand focus of the training was on teaching literacy using real books—due to the generosity of a school here in North America, I was able to bring the first real books most of the children had ever held.
    Sherriann Cianca, Professor in the College of Education
  • 2008

    Environmental Justice: Poverty and the Location of Hazardous Waste

    Environmental inequality is said to be inseparable from other forms of inequality leaving subordinated groups such as the poor, working class, and people of color disproportionately burdened by environmental hazards. In our analyses we found that % of minority population was unrelated to environmental risk, but that both economic distress and social disorganization were significantly related to our measures of environmental risk. Our findings challenged other studies that reported a significant race effect implying that people of color were disproportionality exposed to environmental hazards, but instead we found that economic distress and social disorganization were more important constructs in understanding the distribution of environmental risk across the urban landscape of Upstate NY.
    Tim Ireland, Dean of Arts and Sciences