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Release: Jan. 14, 2003

Stepping Up Project names Cavitt and Clayton co-coordinators

Two Iowa Citians with long-time ties to downtown businesses have been named co-coordinators of the Stepping Up Project, a community and campus coalition to reduce the harmful effects of high-risk drinking. Carolyn Cavitt and Jim Clayton will share the responsibilities of the position, each working half time and each receiving an annual salary of $20,000. Cavitt will manage the office and support staff while Clayton will primarily work in the community.

They replace Julie Phye, the original Stepping Up coordinator who resigned in January 2002 to accept a position as a curriculum coordinator with the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine.

Both Cavitt and Clayton have been members of the Stepping Up executive board since the coalition was formed in 1996.

"I'm pleased that Carolyn and Jim have agreed to share the duties of Stepping Up coordinator," said Phillip Jones, University of Iowa vice president for student services and dean of students. "They have been major contributors to Stepping Up's successes over the past six years. Their community ties help emphasize that Stepping Up is truly a collaboration between our communities and the university."

Cavitt has lived in Iowa City since 1974 and was a stockbroker with RBC Dain Rauscher for 20 years. She was the branch manager of the Iowa City office from 1998 until she retired in 2001. She has been chair of the Stepping Up executive board since its inception. She and her husband, Michael, have one daughter, Camille Holthaus of Minneapolis.

Clayton has been the co-owner of The Soap Opera, a retail store in downtown Iowa City, since 1981. He is a member of the board of directors of the Downtown Association, board president of ARC of Johnson County, and active in Big Brothers Big Sisters. He also served for one year as vice chairman of the Stepping Up executive board. A former tavern keeper in Galena, Ill., his hobbies include home brewing, winemaking and artisan breads and pizza baking. His wife is Christine.

The Stepping Up Project includes members from Iowa City, Coralville, Johnson County and the UI. It is one of several "town-gown" coalitions participating in a national program called "A Matter of Degree: The National Effort to Reduce High-Risk Drinking Among College Students." The initiative is funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and administered by the American Medical Association. Stepping Up was started in 1996 with a six-year, $830,000 grant from RWJF. Last October, RWJF awarded Stepping Up a four-year, $466,729 grant to continue its efforts.

The Princeton, N.J.-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care. It concentrates its grantmaking in four goal areas: to assure that all Americans have access to basic health care at reasonable cost; to improve care and support for people with chronic health conditions; to promote healthy communities and lifestyles; and to reduce the personal, social and economic harm caused by substance abuse—tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs.