The Office for Outreach and Engagement Community Impact Grants support projects that connect with external constituents and align with our office's focus areas: engaged arts and humanities, community development and design, and environmental sciences and sustainability.  

Started in 2017, these grants can be used as seed funding to establish a project prior to applying for a CU Boulder Outreach Award or other external funding. For event or lecture funding, review our office's Micro Grants program.

While proposals on any topic will be given full consideration, for academic year 2020–21 we will prioritize proposals that address:

  • the COVID-19 pandemic
  • racial justice and persistent racial inequities

Frequently Asked Questions about Office Grants

There are two grant cycles:


  • For activities during the fall and spring terms
  • Proposal deadline: Friday Aug. 14, 2020


  • For activities during the spring, summer and fall terms
  • Proposal deadline: Friday Feb. 12, 2021

Decisions on funding will typically be announced within 30 days of the submission deadline. The awards selection process is competitive. Awards funding is subject to availability and partial funding may be awarded.

Applicants must complete the online proposal form. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered. Applicants and projects may be awarded up to one grant per academic year.

Community-engaged scholarship and outreach programs that are the most competitive meet the following criteria:

Please be aware that multiple proposals from a single unit within a given cycle may not be awarded, because our office has made it a priority to support activities from units across campus.

Applicant must be a CU Boulder faculty member, staff member or currently enrolled graduate student (with faculty sponsor).

Allowable Expenses

Program materials, supplies (including food) and equipment necessary to the project, including:

  • Creation of and dissemination of PR/media materials integral to the project plan

  • Stipends or hourly pay for currently enrolled CU Boulder undergraduate or graduate student

  • Supplemental staff pay, participant honorariums/scholarships

  • Travel expenses for community-engaged research, teaching or creative work and outreach events or activities. (Please note: Travel funding is subject to university restrictions. You will be asked to provide details about how you will modify your plans if travel is not allowed due to COVID-19 restrictions in your application.)

Non-allowable expenses

  • Pay or travel for professional consultants or outside speakers

  • Faculty pay, honoraria or release time

Below are the sections in the Community Impact online application.
Applicants will need to provide contact information for a departmental accounting person

General Information

  • Applicant Contact Information
  • Contact information for a departmental accounting person
  • Indicate if prior awardee (Office for Outreach and Engagement Micro or Community Impact grant, CU Boulder Outreach Award) and
  • If you are a prior Micro or Community Impact grant awardee, indicate if you have submitted a final status report.

Project Summary (350 words maximum)

  • Provide a brief description of the work to be completed, and indicate if this is a seed or pilot project or an expansion of an existing program.
  • If applicable, explain how your project addresses the COVID-19 pandemic and/or racial justice and persistent racial inequities.
  • Provide evidence of need by describing:
    • perspectives expressed by key stakeholders or groups
    • relevant scholarship
  • Briefly state the goals and objectives of the CU Boulder campus participants and the community partners.
  • State where the project will take place (provide specific names of cities or towns, institutions and/or venues).

Rationale For Request (250 words maximum)

  • Explain why a Community Impact Grant is the appropriate fit rather than an Outreach Award. Community Impact Grants are intended to seed or extend projects that are smaller in scope.
  • Explain your plans for securing future funding if this is a pilot for a larger project.
  • If you have received funding for this project from our office in the past, explain how your current proposal extends its reach or scope.

Participant Details Section

All projects must engage external community partners and participants.

External Community Partners and/or Participants  (max 250 words)

List external partners and describe how they are involved in the planning process, project activities and goal setting

  • Community partners. These might be schools, libraries, nonprofits, and other institutions etc.)
  • Community participants. These might be attendees, audience members, community members who your partners serve (e.g. students in a K-12 classroom, citizen scientists) 

Campus Partners and/or Participants (max 250 words)

List campus partners and describe how they are involved in the planning process, project activity and goal setting

  • Campus partners. These might be faculty members, staff, centers, research teams or other entities on campus. 
  • Campus participants. These might be faculty, staff or students who are audience members or affiliated with partners in some way. 

Partner Benefits (max 250 words)
Project activity should be mutually beneficial for external community and campus partners. In advance of applying, please reach out and ask the partner(s) specifically how they see the project benefiting them and/or the audiences or participants they serve. Your proposal will be less competitive without this crucial information.

  • Explain external partner and/or participant benefits
    • How does the project benefit your partners and/or participants?
    • Provide evidence that shows you communicated with the community partners and/or participants about how they view the project’s benefit   (e.g. detailed communications, a report, a direct request from the community, etc.) 
  • Explain campus partner and/or participant benefits
    • How does the project benefit the campus partners and/or participants? (e.g. faculty, staff, students, campus groups.)

Project plans and timeline

  • Describe the process for how you plan to achieve your goals and objectives, including a detailed timeline. (250 words maximum)
  • Describe scenarios for how you will modify your plans to address COVID-19 restrictions as needed. (250 words maximum)
  • Input approximate start and end dates for your Community Impact Grant-affiliated activities

Assessment plans (250 words maximum)

Describe your project assessment plans including how you will monitor the quality of your outreach work, assess whether your work reached stated project objectives and how you will gather relevant feedback from project participants.

Detailed Budget Information

  • Funding requested: Total dollar amount of funding requested from the Office for Outreach and Engagement ($5,000 limit, including GAIR, currently 7.85% of your total budget).
  • Budget narrative: Provide an explanation and justification of how funds will be used to support the activities described in the funding request. Specifically explain how your budget will support the activities and people described in your proposal and how the project might change if funding is not awarded. (250 words maximum)
  • Other funding sources: Describe other sources of funding for your project, including any matching funds available from your department/unit. (250 words maximum)
  • Grant budget worksheet: Use the budget worksheet template, then upload the completed budget template with your online submission. The budget should include:
    • Itemized expenses you are requesting from OOE for your project including a breakdown of the dollar amount and a brief description of the projected expenses (e.g. hourly rate for student pay and number of hours to be worked, cost of individual hotel rooms, per diem per person, etc.). 
    • Cost of GAIR (General Administrative and Infrastructure Recharge), currently assessed at 7.85% of your total budget.  All outreach accounts, which are Fund 29 accounts, are subject to GAIR fees from the university.

An academic unit or department must sponsor and maintain fiscal oversight of the project.

Funding requirements

Communications requirements

  • If you want any kind of publicity related to your project, please review background information about outreach communications.

  • Inform your department communicator and Sue Postema Scheeres, OOE's assistant director of communications, about any events or story ideas related to your project. Sue can help you determine who to contact and connect you with Strategic Relations resources, and suggest ways to advertise the event. Please include our office's logo, which we can provide, on any posters and ads.

  • Acknowledge that the project received Office for Outreach and Engagement grant funding on a webpage about your project, a story or a press release, using the following language: "This project was funded through a grant from the Office for Outreach and Engagement." Note that the link is to the Community Impact Grants page.

  • Make sure to select “Outreach and Engagement” under the interest category section on the CU Events Calendar to have your event promoted on the campus Public Outreach and Community Engagement website.

  • Tag @CUOutreach on any social media posts related to your project.

  • Respond in a timely manner to office staff about project deadlines or publicity related to the project, which may be featured on the Public Outreach and Community Engagement website.

Final Report Requirements

  • Complete a brief final report by the date specified in the funding agreement. We will provide the final report form for awardees to use. You will be asked to provide information on partnership development, key impacts of activities with partners (faculty, staff, students, community members) and participants (e.g. audiences/communities served), reflection on process and future plans, and use of funds. Note that the final report must be completed prior to submitting additional funding requests to the office.

2017–18 Awardees

  • A Just Energy and Climate Transition for Boulder
    Assistant Professor David Ciplet
    Environmental Studies
  • Analysis of Mentorship Plus Role Modeling Outreach Models
    Graduate Part-time Instructor/Research Assistant Leighanna Hinojosa
    School of Education
  • Creating a Cooperative Stewardship Zone in Boulder Canyon
    Faculty Instructor Stacey Schulte
    Program in Environmental Design
  • Conversations About Growing Up With Two Languages
    Associate Professor Eliana Colunga
    Psychology & Neuroscience
  • Harnessing Outreach Potential to Establish Long-term Citizen Science
    Graduate Student Ashley Lorainne Whipple, Research Associate Chris Ray
    Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • High School Energy Education Partnership
    Doctoral Candidate Kate Henson
    School of Education
  • Latin Summer Enrichment Program 2018
    Associate Professor Jacqueline Elliot
  • Lecture Series on the Nobel Prize in Literature
    Professor of Russian Studies Mark Leiderman
    Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures
  • Native American Mural Project
    Assistant Director Hector Ramirez
    ODECE, CU Boulder Upward Bound
  • STEM Summer Camp for Middle and High Schoolers
    Assistant Professor Stephen Becker
    Applied Mathematics 
  • Wildfire Social Science Connection
    Research Faculty Hannah Brenkert Smith
    Institute of Behavioral Sciences (IBS)

2018–19 Awardees

2019–20 Awardees

  • Colorado Lullaby Project: Nurturing Social Connection Through Song
    Community Engagement and Social Innovation Coordinator Katie Skayhan and Associate Professor Jeff Nytch
    College of Music
  • Comics Writing and Workshops with White Earth Nation
    Associate Professor Jennifer Shannon
    Cultural Anthropology
  • Indigenous Peoples’ Human Rights: Education and Outreach Campaign
    Fellow Danielle Lazore-Thompson and Professor Kristen Carpenter
    Colorado Law

2020–21 Awardees

  • Building Trust: Parent Engagement in Montbello
    Graduate Student Ana Contreras
    School of Education
  • Connecting Ancestral and Modern Pojoaque Communities
    Graduate Student Zachary Cooper
  • Improving No Cost Grocery Programs Through Dialogue
    Instructor Heide Bruckner
  • Participatory Media Needs Assessment of Boulder County Youth
    Graduate Student Luz Ruiz
    Media Studies
  • Translating Alaska WASH Research for Community Action
    Graduate Student Kaitlin Mattos
    Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering


Contact Lisa H. Schwartz, community outreach program manager.