GRI Faculty Affiliate Alicia Sasser Modestino, associate professor in SPPUA and the Department of Economics, was awarded a three-year $649,557 Institutional Challenge Grant from the William T. Grant Foundation beginning July 1, 2021. Dr. Modestino’s proposal was selected from among 25 applications and four finalists.
The Institutional Challenge Grant program encourages research institutions to build long-term research-practice partnerships with public agencies or nonprofit organizations in order to reduce inequality in youth outcomes. To do so, research institutions will need to shift their policies and practices to value collaborative research.
The grant will support Dr. Modestino’s ongoing research conducted through the Dukakis Center and in partnership with the City of Boston to evaluate the city’s renowned summer jobs program. Her prior research, also funded by William T. Grant, used a randomized controlled trial to demonstrate that the program reduces violent and property crime by 30%, increases high school graduation rates by 4 percentage points, and boosts employment and wages during the year after participating—with greater impacts on black and brown youth. These results were used to justify last summer’s $4.1 million dollar expansion of the program under Mayor Walsh during the summer of 2020 in response to COVID-19 and served as a basis for developing four new alternative programming tracks including a virtual internship track in partnership with Kemi Jona’s team at Northeastern University