Sponsorship Interview-Doug Austin, UPD: (2013)

First of all, thank you so much for your donation to Literary Lots! Your sponsorship will go a long way in making Literary Lots a reality!

 

What is the main mission of your organization?

UPD Consulting is a public sector management consulting company dedicated to K-12 education reform implementation.

 

How did you first find out about Literary Lots?

Kauser Razvi, the brains behind Literary Lots, has worked with UPD over the past couple of years.  Her excitement about the concept is infectious.

 

In what ways does Literary Lots fit into your mission?  Was this connection what motivated you/your company to become a sponsor? If not, what was the motivation?

Kauser was the main reason we sponsored the concept, but the idea does actually connect with our mission.  One of our partners is married to a librarian, and UPD has supported library-related events aimed at encouraging children to read.

 

What do you feel the most important things are in regards to community engagement and “place making” to bring community together?

I don’t know if it’s the most important thing, but certainly figuring out how to effectively deal with vacant properties is critical to neighborhood revitalization.

 

What are you most excited about for Literary Lots?

I think it is an idea that can be used by urban communities across the country.  I’m eager to see if the idea gets picked up by other cities, especially Baltimore (where UPD is headquartered).

 

Do you have a favorite children’s book? What is it?

I have two: Corduroy, by Don Freeman and Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson.

 

What would you like to see most in a Literary Lot?

Anything that gets kids up and active would be fantastic.

 

If you were writing a children’s book, what would it be about?

If I were creative enough, I’d write a book in the same vein as The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.

 

UPD Consulting does a lot of work with educational institutions. Was that what made you interested in Literary Lots?

Really it was Kauser’s excitement and passion about the idea, but the educational tie-in is a nice dovetail.

 

UPD is located in Baltimore, where there are surely many vacant lots just like in Cleveland. Could you see or would you like to see a Literary Lot in Baltimore?

Absolutely!  We have already talked about introducing the idea down here.

 

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