UGA Public Administration and Policy doctoral students were invited to compete in a national policy competition hosted by the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania, held March 16-17. This invitation-only competition was open to the best programs in public policy in the United States, and UGA was among only nine schools to advance to the event in Philadelphia. At the competition the team of Danielle Atkins, Grace Bagwell, and Justin Bullock were selected as one of 4 national semi-finalists (along with teams from New York University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Chicago) and won a $5000 prize.
The policy team presented their proposal on an original idea aimed at integrating community stakeholders interested in poverty alleviation (including charitable organizations, donors, and volunteers) to better provide services to those in need. Piecing Assistance Together for Charitable Helpers (PATCH) is a web-based platform that connects the efforts of these different groups. Their innovation is to provide a free online networking site designed to bring organizations, donors, and volunteers to better serve people in need in the Athens community. Once live, the PATCH team expects the site to function much like a social networking site for groups and individuals interested in poverty alleviation. Charitable organizations will be able to directly provide information about goods or services that they need to donors and volunteers who have opted in to receive the information, thereby effectively and efficiently streamlining the process. In addition, organizations will be able to communicate with other partnering nonprofits in an attempt to fill previously unmet client needs.