Leadership Project Helping Tax-Aid Promote Census

Christian Futch ’21, a Communication and Media Studies major, was a leader on a  team of students assisting the nonprofit organization Tax-Aid promote Census 2020 participation during the shelter-in-place order.

Christian, along with classmates Laura Barajas, Ivan Galvan, and co-leader Kimmy Fernandez, helped to direct people through social media to a Tax-Aid link to submit the form and seek more information.

The work was part of a leadership practicum project assigned to students in the  “Leadership and Teams in Organizations” class, taught by Denise Lucy, PhD. In all, six teams of four students apiece worked on projects including one on behalf of Tax-Aid, a longtime University partner. Students came from across the disciplines, including Business, Nursing, Psychology, Communications, Global Public Health, and Political Science.

The Leadership Practicum Consulting assignment promoted their learning in teamwork, project planning and change leadership, says Dr. Lucy, executive director and professor of Business and Organizational Studies in the Institute for Leadership Studies in the Barowsky School of Business.

“Learning a content area is most effective when theory is blended with practice,” Dr. Lucy says. “While students are examining theories in leadership, organizational behavior, and change, they also must apply these theories by working in small teams in service of a community or corporate client.

“Students learn to enact a vision, make effective decision-making and prioritizing, resolving conflicts, and developing individual and team effectiveness. They also hone their written and oral presentation skills.”

Christian said the goal was to spread awareness about the importance of the Census – and the ease of filling in the form.

“There are only 10 questions that take 10 minutes,” he says. “Completing the Census provides funding for communities in many different ways, some being healthcare and schools. The outcome we want from this is to get as many people to sign up as possible as there are many `hard-to-count’ communities that may get left out.”

Tax-Aid is a nonprofit that provides free tax advice and the completion of tax forms for underserved populations. Tax-Aid volunteered with the Census 2020 team to outreach to Tax-Aid clients to ensure that each of them understands that the Census 2020 is very important and that each person in all households needs to get counted.

Other student teams/client organizations in the leadership practicum project were Women’s Leadership Events with AAUW, Centering Community Stories for Community Action Marin, Emergency Preparedness for Dominican Facilities, Marketing the Peace Corps to Dominican, and Zen Zone Business Plan for Dominican.

Each leadership practicum team made its final presentation and report on April 29.

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