Our Mission

Recognizing the challenges of 21st century governance, we deliver public impact research and multi-sector leadership development to build the capacity of Virginia's communities, organizations, and institutions to serve the Commonwealth.

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Money

Economic geography of Virginia

Hamilton Lombard, a demographer with the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, points out that Virginia has the largest income gap of any state in the country. In fact, 33 counties or cities in Virginia have a larger income gap with our wealthiest county than can be found in any other state.

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Equity Clinic Group Photo

Apply to a Local Government Equity Clinic

The Cooper Center and the School of Data Science offer Equity Clinics for local government practitioners in Virginia to help equip them with tools to promote good governance, equity, and resiliency.

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Bill Shobe headshot

Shobe's research featured in Nature Climate Change journal

The premier science journal, Nature Climate Change, featured a recently published article, Price-Responsive Allowance Supply in Emissions Markets, by Bill Shobe, Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Studies at the Weldon Cooper Center. 

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Intersections in Public Service Podcast image

New Podcast on Redistricting

For the second episode in our two-part series on redistricting, two Sorensen Institute Alumni who served on Virginia’s 2020 Redistricting Commission share their insights.

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Road sign emerged in water from flooding

A Team Effort to Prevent Flooding in Southside Virginia

The goal is to combine the expertise of flood management professionals and the expertise of community leaders to develope a plan for managing risks and preventing flood events in central Virginia.

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Leaders Lab graphic

Leaders Lab Launches this Fall

The founders of a new leadership program aim to build a “network of doers” for the greater Charlottesville area – and they’re now recruiting participants for the first program in September. 

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Amanda Batten and Monty Mason headshots
Effective leadership – through building trust and working together – is a central theme of Sorensen Institute’s flagship Political Leaders Program (PLP). The program is designed for residents of Virginia already engaged in the political, civic, business, nonprofit or governing life.
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Solar panels at sunset

Virginia Solar Survey Results Released

The first of its kind in Virginia, the Virginia Solar Survey is a comprehensive questionnaire that collects data on solar readiness, policy, and solar and energy storage experience.

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Big Stone Gap, Wise County

Virginia Flood Resilience Initiative

UVA Team partners with Lenowisco and Southside planning district commissions (PDCs) to assist with flood mitigation and planning efforts. 

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Molly Harlow

Congratulations to Molly Harlow

After conducting a national search, the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service is pleased to announce that Molly Harlow has been named the Virginia Institute of Government's Assistant Director for Leadership Development. 

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Tracy Tanner Bond

Tracy Tanner-Bond retires

Tracy, most recently the office manager for the Sorensen Institute, retires after 38 years of service at the University of Virginia. 

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Cooper Center Impact Report cover

Cooper Center releases its first impact report

In the midst of a global pandemic, the Weldon Cooper Center found new ways to deliver its public service mission and serve local communities. 

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Adam Ashley and Tarina Ahuja, Founders of the Greater Good Initiative
Inspired by their experience in the Sorensen Institute’s High School Leaders Program (HSLP) where they were immersed in the world of policy-making, and driven by their belief that “youth voice belongs in politics and in policy,” Tarina Ahuja and Adam Ashley made the decision to start the Greater Good Initiative (GGI), a youth-led policy think tank.
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SEI and LEAD logos

Apply to our newly designed leadership development programs

The Senior Executive Institute and LEAD have been redesigned to meet the needs of today's local government leaders. Learn more and apply. 

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Elizabeth Marshall

Marshall accepted into leadership institute

Elizabeth Marshall was recently accepted into the Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute (VNRLI), a professional development program for emerging leaders.

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Sorensen class participants

Leadership Development Gears Up for Full Slate of Programs

The Sorensen Institute, LEAD, SEI and Certification are continuing to offer virtual offerings this fall but in-person programs as well.

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Hands praying

New Report: Religious Diversity in Virginia

Senior Demographer Shonel Sen and PhD intern Rebecca Bultman co-authored a new StatChat report that takes a look at the religious makeup of Virginia and its localities.

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Fireworks

Congratulations to Molly, Beth and Jenn

Molly Harlow is the new Interim Assoc. Director of Leadership Development Programs, Beth Bennett is the new Assoc. Director of Certification Programs and Jennifer Nelson is the Assoc. Director of Membership and Engagement.

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Electric Transmission Lines

Electricity Demand in Virginia

In order to successfully transition to renewable energy sources, Virginia will need to plan to meet the substantial growth in electricity demand expected over the next decade.

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Richmond James River Bridge

Weldon Cooper Center partners with Go Virginia Region 3

GO Virginia Region 3 and the Weldon Cooper Center partner to advance economic development in Southern Virginia by expanding resources and the Commonwealth’s network.

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Solar power on building

Cooper Center Offers SolSmart Program to Local Communities

The Weldon Cooper Center now offers the SolSmart Program which makes going solar cheaper, easier, and faster for communities across the Commonwealth.

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Benjamin Wendorf
We collected over 600 testimonials from people across diverse sectors who are using the racial dot map in a variety of ways, often to promote equity and inclusivity in their communities.
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Electric Car Charging

Decarbonizing Virginia's Economy: Pathways to 2050

How can Virginia reach its clean energy goals by 2050? This report emphasizes the feasibility of carbon neutrality for Virginia and explores four strategies to get us there.