Dr. Elizabeth Altmaier
Participation year
Project title

Programming for At-Risk Children:  The Roles of Public Perception and Organizations on Delivery and Evaluation

I research the role of public perception in determining funding for aid institutions serving at-risk children, with specific interest in the Grant Wood neighborhood in Iowa City.  There is a discrepancy in funding based on who aid organizations help.  Grant Wood suffers from very poor public perception and low amounts of aid.  This research aims to determine what goes into determining public perception and funding for aid organizations.  "At-risk children" were defined using the U.S. Census Bureau definition.  I used online newspaper articles and comments to evaluate public perception of the neighborhood.  I then used Iowa City crime data (2003-2009) to determine if public perception of the amount of crime in the area matched the amount of crime committed.  Funding information comes from the Iowa City Council; crime data from the Iowa City Press-Citizen website.  The project is ongoing.  I met with the Iowa City Council to gain organizational funding information.  Further meetings are scheduled with the Press-Citizen and the ICPD to obtain more information.  I believe the high amount of crime in the Grant Wood neighborhood contributes to the negative perception of the area.  Determining causation between negative perception and funding is difficult.  The organizations that are affiliated with Grant Wood have seen their funding cut while the funding of other aid organizations has trended toward increasing, but there could be mitigating factors.  Furthermore, the city does not evaluate their aid organizations.  The lack of evaluation complicates our ability to find why groups receive what they do. 
University of Iowa