Community Engagement and Service-Learning for Community Partners

What are “Community Engagement” and “Service-Learning”?

Please visit the Leo T. McCarthy Center’s Community Engagement and Service-Learning webpage for descriptions of these terms.

The USF Model of Partnership

Our center maintains relationships with service-learning faculty and nonprofit organizations to develop authentic and reciprocal community partnerships (embed link to “The Partnership Model” on CEL webpage). The Leo T. McCarthy Center supports community partner organizations by identifying service-learning project possibilities, facilitating connections with faculty, and through advancing terms of collaboration.

Why Engage in a Partnership with the University of San Francisco?

“Family House very much values the USF Leo T. McCarthy Center partnership. As a community partner, Family House has been able to leverage the support of the center and the students to succeed in our mission of supporting families in crisis. Family House has been a part of the ACE program for just over a year and a half and worked with USF student volunteers for close to 7 years. Through the ACE program and our long-term partnership; we have been able to get the volunteer support needed to run our operation as well as educate and provide hands-on experience to the next generation of student advocates.”
- Karen Banks, Human Resources and Volunteer Manager, Family House

“Our USF service-learners working as after school tutors and mentors have proved to be a terrific group, representing a diverse array of experiences and perspectives. Our USF business students have engaged in some great non-profit marketing collateral projects, flexing their understanding of community connections while also building their project management skills. We are glad to see that service-learners approach their work with maturity, focus, and a mind open to new experiences and conversations around a variety of social justice issues. We have been delighted to see our USF service-learners make true and meaningful connections with our students and our staff at Magic Zone”
Devi Zinzuvadia, Outreach and Volunteer Manager, Collective Impact/Magic Zone

Visit the LTMC Blog

Become a Community Partner

If you are interested in exploring ways to collaborate with USF students and faculty through community-engaged learning, we encourage you to contact our staff to schedule a site visit. We welcome the opportunity to meet with you at your organization to learn about programming areas, service projects, and activities that may align with community-engaged learning courses. To request an informational meeting or site visit, please complete our community partnership request form.

You can also contact faculty directly to discuss partnership possibilities.  We encourage you to reference this document, Questions and Topics for Community Partners to Discuss with Faculty (link to PDF document), when connecting with USF faculty.

Nonprofit Documentation and Liability Insurance

We ask the Leo T. McCarthy Center’s current and emerging nonprofit partners to please provide the following documentation for our files:

  • Proof of nonprofit 501(c)(3) status
  • An original copy or PDF from your insurer of a current Certificate of Liability Insurance naming your organization as a "Certificate Holder" and showing existing coverage of at least one million dollars in general liability insurance.

By providing this information, you help the Leo T. McCarthy Center ensure that we can confidently recommend your organization as a community partner for USF community-engaged courses.

Become a Co-Educator

The Leo T. McCarthy Center values and celebrates the knowledge, expertise, and perspectives of community partners as co-educators of service-learning students, and as thought partners with faculty and staff of the University of San Francisco. Community partners shape community-engaged learning experiences to enhance student learning about pervasive and complex social issues in our community.

Join the Community Partner Seminar

The Community Partner Service-Learning Seminar welcomes nonprofit staff interested in fostering sustainable reciprocal service-learning partnerships with USF faculty and students. Participants attend five sessions designed to define and distinguish service-learning’s role in the organization, provide support for building and maintaining faculty partnerships, create templates and systems for managing students, and share tools for enhancing student learning and reflection. Throughout the seminar series, community partners develop processes and resources to enhance the benefits of service-learning to their organization. Community Partner Service-Learning Seminars are offered twice a year. Participants receive a stipend upon completion of the seminar. For more information, contact Star Plaxton-Moore at

Community Partner Enrichment Opportunities

The Leo T. McCarthy Center provides enrichment opportunities by inviting community partners to participate as panelists at speaking engagements and university events, attend and present at local and national conferences, host community partner events on campus, and collaborate with our center and USF in other capacities. If your organization would like to explore other collaboration possibilities, please contact our staff.

Community Partner Service-Learning Award

The Community Partner Service-Learning Award is presented to a USF community partner in recognition of outstanding service-learning collaboration with USF faculty. The recipient of this award demonstrates an institutional commitment to service-learning by providing meaningful student projects and service experiences, educating students on social justice issues, and facilitating mutually beneficial outcomes for students, faculty, and their own organization.

Award Recipients