A new partnership between Repair the World and Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy has catapulted RTW into the ranks of such acclaimed social service groups as Teach for America and AmeriCorps.
Thanks to discussions with the university initiated by Zack Block, executive director of Repair the World Pittsburgh, CMU is offering to provide up to 10 Repair the World alumni each year with the following: scholarships equal to at least 30 percent of each semester’s tuition; an option to defer admission for up to two years; consideration for additional merit-based aid; and waived application fees.
For years, CMU has offered similar support to alumni of other established service groups.
Repair the World, which was launched in 2009, mobilizes young Jews to address the needs of local communities in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Miami, Chicago, Baltimore, New York City and Detroit. Fellows and alumni who served in any of those communities are eligible to apply for the benefits of the CMU partnership.
The partnership “puts us in the same league as AmeriCorps, Teach for America and Public Allies,” said Block. “This is the first relationship like this with a university in any of our cities.”
Naomi Miller, a current Repair the World fellow, is hoping to take advantage of the new partnership. It was Miller, in fact, who asked Block to speak to administrators at the Heinz College to see if such a partnership would be possible.
“I’m completing my service year now at Repair the World Pittsburgh, and through my fellowship program, I’ve met people who are working with PULSE (Pittsburgh Urban Leadership Service Experience), Coro and AmeriCorps,” Miller said.
“I’m interested in Carnegie Mellon to pursue a master’s of public policy, and I noticed that it had national partnerships with other service organizations. I asked Zack Block if he could go to CMU and ask for a partnership. Now, this partnership is a result of that meeting,” she continued.
The partnership will support Repair the World fellows and alumni who wish to pursue a degree in one of 25 unique programs at CMU’s Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy.
The Heinz College administration was “thrilled” to add RTW to its roll of partners, according to David Eber, director of admissions of the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy.
“We work with three or four dozen strategic partners,” he said, including many in the field of social service. “It became clear to me,” he said, after doing a bit of research on Repair the World, that a partnership would be of mutual advantage to Repair the World and CMU.
“Our students are looking to get an education that prepares them to confront the issues of society,” Eber explained. “They need analytic and technical skills to build upon what they did in our partner organizations.”
With their prior experience, combined with the skills they learn at the Heinz College, they become prepared to “tackle the greatest problems in their local and national communities, in all shapes and sizes,” Eber added.
The Heinz School thrives on its diversity, and Eber is confident that the Repair the World fellows and alumni will contribute positively to the CMU community.
“The Repair the World students will bring a different perspective to the classroom,” he said. “We are very excited about this opportunity, especially because we see the way Repair the World is influencing the region.”
National Repair the World is “privileged” to form this partnership with CMU, said Sam Kuttner, director of the Repair the World Fellowship, in a prepared statement.
“The H. John Heinz III College of Information Systems and Public Policy offers an environment in a world-leading and dynamic academic environment; we know from experience that our fellows, as social entrepreneurs and change agents, are interested in going there to learn, grow and network. It’s very gratifying to work together to make that easier for them to do.” PJC
Toby Tabachnick can be reached at