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  Cornell University

Request for Proposals (RFP) 2017

The 2016-17 deadlines for all funding cycles (fall, spring, and summer) have passed.

Download a PDF of this page here (right mouseclick link and choose “save as” to save to your computer).

Engaged Opportunity Grants were explained at a recent information session. Watch below or on CornellCast.


To create, expand, and strengthen opportunities for faculty and staff to develop, administer, or participate in community-engaged initiatives.

Among the potential uses of grant funds would be to supplement engaged leadership building blocks, evaluation, creative initiatives, community partnerships, events, co-sponsorships, speakers, presentations, travel, and scholarly projects, including their planning, implementation, assessment, and publication.

Opportunity Grants are intended to support:

  1. Student Leadership Programming:
  • projects that offer participation for students in leadership education, community engagement, and/or critical reflection.
  • collaborations with diverse partners (e.g., communities, alumni, and other university stakeholders) that build student leadership capacity through community engagement.
  1. Conference Travel to Present Engaged Scholarship:
  • poster, panel, or individual presentation of research or other scholarly work that aims to advance understanding of community-engaged research, teaching, and partnership.
  1. Other opportunities:
  • production, sharing, and dissemination of community-engaged products, stories, or training opportunities.
  • assessment and evaluation of community-engaged learning and research, programs, and impacts (of student or faculty learning or of partner communities).
  • co-sponsorship and documentation of community-engaged events.
  • network development activities (e.g., thematic luncheon conversations, workshops, pilot collaborations, communications infrastructure) related to community engagement.

For ideas that are not included above, please consult with the Office of Engagement Initiatives.

Opportunity grants are not intended to support work or programs that are supported by other funding mechanisms:

  • Research projects to advance understanding of the impact of community-engaged learning and research on student/faculty/staff/community partner learning or well-being;
  • Undergraduate research programs;
  • Curriculum development;
  • Graduate student thesis research.


The Office of Engagement Initiatives recognizes community engagement benefits from many forms and sources of expertise. Faculty and/or staff are eligible to apply. We invite proposals from any academic or non-academic unit of Cornell.


Opportunity Grants have a term of one year and are not renewable.

Funding for grants will not exceed $5,000. All budget lines must be justified. Applicants should make their case for the use of funds most appropriate to their need.


In order to provide rapid responses to innovative ideas, there will be three deadlines per year. Prospective applicants are encouraged to consult the Office of Engagement Initiatives at any time during the application process, outlined below. Learn more about Engaged Opportunity Grants at information sessions.


Community-engaged learning and research is a strategic priority of the university, founded on collaborative and reciprocally beneficial relationships with partners/communities (see Definitions). Through a concerted set of activities, Cornell continues its 150-year history of creating knowledge with a public purpose and renews its focus on preparing students to become citizens who enrich communities throughout the world.

This RFP aims to create a broad opportunity for faculty and staff to begin, continue, or sustain a range of leadership and community engagement initiatives that support the public engagement mission of Cornell.

Proposals should describe the overarching goals of the community-engaged activity, the specific aims of the project, and the relevance of the aims to disciplinary knowledge, higher education and/or the field of community engagement. Submissions should be explicit about how the funding will support and enhance community-engaged learning, student learning and leadership, reciprocal relationships, and sharing knowledge publicly.


Successful applicants will be required to submit a brief end-of-project report using a template that will be provided upon receipt of the grant.

Additional follow-up may be requested depending on the nature of the funding request.


Allowable expenses

  • Faculty and/or Staff Support: Travel, meals, and lodging associated with conference presentation or service conducted off campus; project planning, development, assessment, and dissemination; reservation of space; honoraria for outside speakers and/or consultants to complement project planning and student learning; materials that support the community-engaged learning project.
  • Student support: Travel, meals, and lodging associated with service conducted off campus; direct costs incurred by students involved in the community-engaged project; costs of publication; systems that support the student community-engaged project work experience (graphics, software, enrollment in online training, etc.); wages for students (work/study, other).
  • Partner support: Funds that support the participation of the community in the community-engaged experience and/or documentation.

Information about Cornell student employment is available online at:

Unallowable expenses

  • Excluded costs include overhead; tuition; capital projects; equipment.

No-cost Extensions

No-cost extensions are not allowed. Funds that are not used within one year will be returned to the Office of Engagement Initiatives.


Members of the Office of Engagement Initiatives will review proposals, applying the following criteria, as appropriate, to the request:

  1. Evidence of community-identified or community-engaged project need
  2. Quality and feasibility of addressing community-identified need
  3. Benefit to curriculum, pedagogy, or student learning and leadership
  4. Prospect for sustaining the project partnership
  5. Tangible product (either public or scholarly)
  6. Innovation, creativity, novelty


Proposals must be submitted using online forms provided, and include the following information, within the space limits described on the form. Forms will differ slightly from the text below, depending on the nature of the funding request:

  1. Application Title
  2. Names of team members and their unit(s)
  3. Signature endorsements from chair or supervisor
  4. If appropriate, supply identity of the community partner(s)
  5. Short narrative that describes what you plan to do, how you will do it, and potential next steps and/or outcomes. As is relevant to the request, provide:
  • Description of the activity
  • Clearly identified community partner(s) for the proposal and the benefit of the work to the partner(s)
  • Role of the students and anticipated student learning outcomes
  • Assessment plan
  • Opportunities to sustain beyond the grant period
  1. Budget and budget justification aligned directly with the budget categories listed in the online forms