Faculty & Staff Funding

Engaged Opportunity Grants

Bring a wide range of community-engaged initiatives to life

Cornell faculty and staff are always thinking of ways to create, enhance or participate in community-engaged initiatives, but they might not have the funds to get their ideas off the ground. Engaged Opportunity Grants are designed to help by supporting large and small projects from across the university.

Read about previous grantees to see the range of possibilities.

These grants are intended to support off-campus:

Engaged Leadership student programming

  • projects where Cornell students can participate 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

Conference travel to present engaged scholarship

  • posters, panels or individual presentations of research or other scholarly work that aims to advance understanding of community-engaged research, teaching and partnership

Other opportunities

  • production, sharing and dissemination of community-engaged tools, stories, transmedia or training opportunities
  • focused program evaluation of a community-engagement project
  • co-sponsorship and documentation of community-engaged events
  • informal seminars, networking or collaboration development activities (e.g., thematic luncheon conversations, workshops, pilot collaborations, communications infrastructure) related to community engagement

Do you have an idea not listed here? Contact the Office of Engagement Initiatives (OEI), and we can talk about your specific project.

Engaged Opportunity Grants are not intended for work/projects or programs supported by other funding mechanisms from OEI:

Researching the impact of community-engaged work

If that’s what you’re looking for, see Grants for Faculty Research on Engagement.

Undergraduate research programs

But take a look at the Undergraduate Engaged Research Grants.

Curriculum development

If you’re developing community-engaged learning in a curriculum, see Engaged Curriculum Grants.

Graduate student thesis research

For that, see Engaged Graduate Student Grants.


We invite proposals from any academic or non-academic unit of Cornell. All actively tenured/tenure-track faculty, academic staff, staff, post-docs and medical fellows are eligible to apply.

Temporary staff can be team members but cannot serve as team leads.

Cornell affiliate organizations should consult the Office of Engagement Initiatives to determine eligibility.

Individuals or programs can receive only one Engaged Opportunity Grant per 12-month period.


Opportunity Grants have a one-year term and are not renewable. All remaining funds will be returned to the Office of Engagement Initiatives at the conclusion of the grant period.

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.

Opportunity Grants are not retroactive and can only support programs or travel that takes place after posted notification dates.

Expectations and Deliverables

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 project
    • Funding for staff to assist with program support
  • Student support:
    • Travel, meals and lodging associated with service conducted off campus
    • Direct costs incurred by students involved in the project
    • Costs of publication
    • Systems that support the student work experience (graphics, software, enrollment in online training, etc.)
    • Wages for students (work study, other)
  • Partner support:
    • Funds that support the participation of the off-campus community in the experience and/or documentation

Information about Cornell student employment and federal work-study is available online.

Unallowable Expenses

Excluded costs include overhead, tuition, capital projects and equipment. For Cornell’s definition of equipment, refer to Appendix B in the university’s Capital Assets policy.

Application Submission and Notification

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.

Fall Spring Summer
Applications open
Sept. 25, 2017 Nov. 1, 2017 March 4, 2018
Application deadline Oct. 16, 2017 Feb. 9, 2018 April 9, 2018
Notification of awards Early Nov. 2017 Early March 2018 Late April 2018
Start date Mid-Nov. 2017 Mid-March 2018 Early May 2018

Selection Criteria

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

  1. Evidence of off-campus community need
  2. Quality and feasibility of addressing this need in partnership with the community
  3. Relevance of project aims to disciplinary knowledge, higher education and/or the field of community engagement
  4. Benefit to curriculum, pedagogy or student learning and leadership at Cornell
  5. Prospect for sustaining the project partnership
  6. Tangible product (either public or scholarly)
  7. Innovation, creativity, novelty


Proposals must be submitted using the online application form, 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. Project title
  2. Name(s) of team member(s) and their unit(s)
  3. Signature endorsements from chair or supervisor
  4. Names of community partner(s), if applicable
  5. Short narrative that describes the overarching goals of the community-engaged activity, what you plan to do, how you plan to do it and potential next steps and/or outcomes. As is relevant to the request, include:
    • Description of the project
    • Clearly identified community partner(s) and the benefit of the work to the partner(s)
    • Role of the Cornell student(s) and anticipated student learning outcomes
    • Assessment plan
    • Opportunities to sustain project beyond the grant period
  6. Budget and budget justification aligned directly with the budget categories in the online application form

Previous Recipients

Questions about your project?

Contact the Office of Engagement Initiatives. We’re here to help.

Email: engagedcornell@cornell.edu

Phone: (607) 254-4240