Service-Learning Partnership Small Grants Program

The Service-Learning Partnership Small Grants Program provides financial support to VCU faculty members who are initiating or deepening relationships with off-campus community members/organizations to support high-quality service-learning courses.

Two types of funding categories are available—New Partnership Funding and Established Partnership Funding. The funding amount for both categories is up to $2,500 per application. All applicants must provide a project description, a work plan and timeline for the year that articulates the activities that will be completed by the faculty member and by the community partner(s), a description of end-of-year deliverables, a project budget and a letter of support from the community partner.

New Partnership Funding is available to faculty members who have a specific plan for working with off-campus individuals/organizations to co-develop a new service-learning class or to expand an existing service-learning class to include a new service site or service project.

Established Partnership Funding is available to service-learning instructors who have already established a sustained service-learning partnership with off-campus individuals/organizations and would like to expand or deepen their partnership to include scholarship or other high-level collaborative activities.

Application

Applications for the 2016-17 academic year are due by Oct. 1, 2016.

Download the 2016-2017 Partnership Small Grants Application Package‌ (Word)

Required Fall and Spring Semester Awardees' Meetings

VCU instructors and their community partners who receive funding through the Service-Learning Partnership Small Grants Program are required to attend one meeting with the Service-Learning Office director during the fall semester and one meeting with the Service-Learning Office director during the spring semester of the academic year in which funding is provided. The objective of the fall semester meeting is to overview the project work plan and deliverables. The spring semester meeting goal is to revisit and adapt (if necessary) the project work plan and deliverables and to review the budget. Mutually agreed upon times and venues for these meetings will be arranged the time the award is made.

Eligibility

The deadline to submit a proposal occurs each year on Oct. 1. To be considered for a Service-Learning Partnership Small Grant, applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Applicant must be the instructor at VCU.
  • Applicant must be able to spend the awarded funds by May 31 of the academic year in which the funding is provided.
  • Applicant and community partner representative must be available to attend fall and spring meetings with the Service-Learning director (at agreed upon times and venues).
  • Preference will be given to first-time applicants and to recent Community Engagement Institute participants (past two years).

Funding Availability

Grants of up to $2,500 per project will be made. Grants will be announced in the first week of October. The funding period will be for eight months, from October through May. Funds awarded will be transferred from the Division of Community Engagement to the instructor’s home department. Once monies have been transferred to the home department account, it is the responsibility of the applicants to work with their home departments to make project purchases and to make payments to community partners and/or student workers if applicable. All funds awarded must be dispersed by the home department by the May 31 award finish date.

Budget and Allowable Costs

Requested funds may be used for supplies, materials, transportation costs and equipment needed to support (a) the initiation of a new service-learning university-community partnership or (b) the extension/deepening of an already existing and sustained service-learning university-community partnership. Payments to community partners and student workers are acceptable so long as the work can be completed and the partner/student is paid prior to the May 31 award finish date.

Review Criteria

The Service-Learning Partnership Small Grants Review Committee will evaluate proposal submissions based on the following criteria:

  • Merit and feasibility of proposed project to establish or deepen a sustained service-learning partnership.
  • Evidence of mutual benefit and mutual contributions between the service-learning instructor and community partner.
  • Clear description of the specific deliverables that will result from the project as well as the impact on stakeholders.
  • Soundness of the budget.

Preference will be given to proposals that:

  • Align with at least one VCU Quest for Distinction Theme
  • Demonstrate a fiscal match from the faculty member’s academic unit and/or the community partner’s organization.

Required Reporting by Awardees

A brief final project report is due to the Service-Learning Office no later than June 1 of the funding year. Final reports require the inclusion of impact data (e.g., how many students or community members were/will be impacted) and evidence of the project deliverable.

The final report is due June 1.

Download the Partnership Small Grant Final Report Template (Word)

Proposal Format

The Service-Learning Partnership Small Grant Application contains the following four parts:

PART 1: Proposal Cover Sheet. A one-page cover sheet that includes the project name, community partner names, academic department as well as the faculty member, department chair and department fiscal administrator signatures.
PART 2: Proposal Narrative (1,000 word maximum excluding references, 11 font or larger). The proposal narrative requires a description of the project activities to be carried out and the benefit or impact of the project. The narrative also requires a description of the project work plan, timeline and a description of the project deliverable(s).
PART 3: Budget and Budget Justification. A budget table template is provided. A budget justification is also required.
PART 4: Community Partner Letter of Support.