The Office for Outreach and Engagement community impact grants support projects that connect with external constituents and align with our office's strategic initiatives: 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, lecture or travel funding, review our office's Micro Grants program. 

There are two grant cycles:


  • For activities during the Fall and Spring terms
  • Proposal deadline: Sept. 13, 2019


  • For activities during the Spring, Summer and Fall terms
  • Proposal deadline: Feb. 14, 2020

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 CU Boulder faculty, staff and students and community participants

Non-allowable expenses

  • Pay or travel expenses 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
Project Summary (250 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..
  • 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 how your project fits within the Office for Outreach and Engagement’s strategic initiatives.
  • 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 (250 words maximum)

  • Describe the process for how you plan to achieve your goals and objectives, including a detailed timeline.
  • 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 7.68% 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 7.68% 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

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

Types of Grants

Each of these grant types supports outreach and engagement work. Each has its own selection criteria, application requirements, allowable expenses and application deadlines.

These differences are described in more detail on separate web pages for each grant type, which can be found at the Outreach Funding page.

In general, CU Boulder Outreach Awards fund projects that are larger in scope and have more fully established partnerships. If your project is in an earlier stage or you want to extend your work into new areas, consider applying for our office's grants. These include Community Impact Grants that seed or extend community-engaged work and Micro Grants that support outreach-related travel, events and more.

The Micro and Community Impact grants are reviewed, awarded and administered by a team in our office.

The annual campuswide Outreach Awards are reviewed by the CU Boulder Outreach Committee composed of faculty and staff from multiple academic disciplines and offices across campus. Once awarded, the grants are administered by our office.

Project Timeline

Typically, projects should be completed one year from the date of the award for both Micro and Community Impact grants. The due date for your final report will be included in the award letter. Contact us if you have any questions or concerns about the timing or scope of your work.

You may submit more than one proposal in one academic year; however, each proposal must be for a distinct, substantially different outreach activity or project. Due to the limited amount of funding available, if you have already received funding, subsequent proposals are less likely to be funded during the same academic year.

If you receive funding during one academic year, you may apply in the next academic year for funding that would significantly expand or extend your project. If appropriate, you may also consider applying for a campuswide Outreach Award in a different year following successful project work funded by Micro or Community Impact grants.

Typically, no. We view the Micro and Community Impact grants as “seed funding” that can help develop or extend projects that are at an early or pilot phase of collaboration. If those projects are successful, we encourage people to expand the scope and apply for an Outreach Award in the following year. An Outreach Award application is unlikely to be funded in the same year that a smaller grant was awarded, and vice versa. We recognize there may be exceptions and we are happy to consult with project teams on the most effective sequence or strategy for the different grant types.

No. Project team members may apply for a grant to fund a completely different project, but not to fund additional activities within the same project in the same year.

Perhaps. Our intent in each academic year is to share resources equitably across campus. Due to the limited amount of funding available, multiple applicants from the same department may be less likely to all receive funding during an academic year.

Each deadline is intended to accommodate activities that will be initiated in the following two terms. Out-of-cycle proposals will not be accepted.

The September deadline is intended for project activities in late fall or beyond; the January deadline is intended for project activities in spring, summer, or early fall. April deadlines (Micro Grants only) are intended for project activities in summer or fall.

Contact us to discuss possible known issues with timing of applications.


No. Funds cannot be used to pay or reimburse expenses to outside speakers or experts who are not affiliated with CU Boulder.

No. Funds cannot be used for pay or travel expenses for outside speakers or experts who are not affiliated with CU Boulder. An external expert may be involved in the program but the grant funding needs to be used for other program expenses, as defined in the Funded Expenses sections on the web page for each grant.

Yes. Funding may be used to cover travel expenses, scholarships for workshop attendance, or honorariums for participation by community partners in your project.

You may forfeit your funding. Please check with the administrative staff in your department or unit, before you complete your application, regarding the process and timeline for obtaining SpeedTypes. Please contact us as soon as possible if you anticipate any delays.

Project Work and Partners

We define external constituents and audiences for outreach and engagement work as individuals and groups who are involved in and/or affected by the project, and who are not CU Boulder faculty, staff or students.

The roles of the external constituents/audiences vary among project types; examples include project collaborators, stakeholders, partners, participants and attendees at conferences or events.  

No. We fund projects that extend and promote the mission of your academic unit and/or the university, and foster collaboration with external constituents who have related missions and needs. To be successful, proposals must focus on project activities that are directly connected to the applicants’ research, teaching or creative work.

No. Outreach and engagement funding cannot be used solely or primarily for work with CU Boulder campus constituents.

It depends. Projects are the best fit for these awards if they include meaningful components that go beyond the researcher/research subject partnership. We typically fund engagement that includes co-development of the goals and applications of the work with partners. To be highly competitive, projects will generate outcomes and products that benefit the partners directly and tangibly — instead of (or in addition to) traditional academic products such as data summaries or journal articles.

In some situations, yes. Micro Grant funding may be requested for individuals’ travel expenses to partners’ locations for the purpose of partnership development. However, Community Impact Grants are intended to support projects in which a foundation has already been laid for collaboration or substantive engagement.

In these situations, we advise teams to first apply for Micro Grants if considerable support is needed for planning and partnership development. Community Impact grant applications are more likely to be successful when our review team sees evidence that meaningful two-way partnerships and mutual benefits are already established or in development.


General: Contact either Lisa H. Schwartz or Jenny Briggs, our community outreach program managers. 

Engaged arts and humanities projects or community development projects: contact Lisa H. Schwartz

Environmental sciences and sustainability projects: contact Jenny Briggs