UC Bicentennial Community Engagement Grants

UC Bicentennial

Request for Proposals

UC Bicentennial Community Engagement Grants 


In honor of its bicentennial celebration in 2019, the University of Cincinnati will invest up to $100,000 into projects through Bicentennial Community Engagement Grants that celebrate and extend UC’s commitment to urban impact in the Cincinnati metropolitan area. UC invites area nonprofit organizations to participate. This opportunity will engage nearly 1,000 first-year undergraduate students in a philanthropy-based service-learning experience to foster shared understanding of local issues and support a vibrant, healthy, and sustainable community. 


More information on UC’s service-learning model is available at: http://www.uc.edu/careereducation/experience-based-learning/service-learning.html.

Eligibility & Selection Criteria

Non-profit (501c3 or tax exempt government agency) organizations serving the city of Cincinnati are eligible to apply. Organizations may submit a maximum of two proposals per organizational unit, program, or facility. If chosen, the organization will be asked to execute a grant agreement, and will submit a copy of the organization’s IRS determination letter, verifying proof as a qualified tax-exempt entity. 

Projects must:

  • Engage UC students as volunteers
  • Demonstrate capacity to sustain a collaboration with UC for a 3-year period
  • Align with one of the following signature engagement areas:
  1. Student achievement and service to local schools
  2. Housing and housing access
  3. Environmental quality
  4. Public health
  5. Community futures (i.e. a project that helps to enrich or sustain existing urban Cincinnati communities)

In addition, reviewers will consider:

  • Potential impact of the project (e.g. number of community members affected, physical community changes, etc.)
  • Provisions for adequate support, risk management, and oversight

Funding Range

Organizations may apply for amounts ranging from $1,000 up to $10,000. Funding requests may include operating and capital costs related to the project. The funded amount is not required to last all 3 years, but the funded initiative must support a 3-year long collaboration with UC. This three-year period begins once the money is distributed to organization in early 2019. Thus, the three-year period will run January/February 2019-January/February 2022.

Review Process

Proposal reviewers are first-year undergraduate students majoring in programs housed within the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Allied Health, and Medicine. Proposals that are succinct and engaging will stand out to student reviewers. Finalists will present their project to a student audience, with opportunities for questions. Awards will be announced in January, 2019. Project implementation will begin early in 2019.

Dates and Deadlines

  • August 1st, 2018: Submission Deadline
  • September-October, 2018: Finalists Identified
  • October-November, 2018: Finalist Presentations
  • January, 2019: Recipients Announced
  • February, 2019: Project Implementation Begins
  • February-April, 2019: First-Year Students Volunteer
  • May, 2019-February, 2022: Ongoing UC student involvement

Format and Contents

Submit your proposal electronically. Click here https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/55GZWP5 or paste address into your browser to access the required form. The proposal form includes:

  • Organization information
  • Project summary
  • Which signature engagement area does your project fall under
  • Need statement
  • Goals and objectives
  • Project description
  • Support for the project
  • UC student involvement plan
  • Evaluation and results dissemination plan
  • Key personnel in charge of program
  • Sustainability plan and/or capacity developed in the community
  • Budget and budget justification
  • Will your organization being contributing any other funds to this project
  • Application amount applying for

About the UC Bicentennial

The University of Cincinnati is the eighteenth oldest public institution in the United States and traces its origins to the founding of the Medical College of Ohio and Cincinnati College in 1819. Reaching this historic milestone puts UC in prestigious company of other pioneering and enduring institutions. Home of the first cooperative education program, the nation’s first teaching hospital, the oral polio vaccine, and the first antihistamine, the university is rooted in innovation, grit, and the tenacity to learn more, to be more, and to do more. Join UC as we mark this historic milestone of our first 200 years that have paved the way for our future, as we show the world that UC will lead urban public universities into a new era of innovation and impact. Visit 200.uc.edu for more information. 

Please email Alex Smith (smith8ab@ucmail.uc.edu) with any questions about the Community Grants, proposal, or potential projects.


Community Grant FAQ Sheet

The Request for Proposals says students will select which organizations receive grants. How, more specifically, does the selection process work?

Our students are involved in a zero-credit course called a Learning Community. This is a group of students in the same major who take a number of classes together. These are the students who will be involved in selecting which organization receive grants. Students in their Learning Communities will be given the Project Description, Student Involvement Plan, and Budget Justification from the proposals. Based on this information, students will select organizations that they believe will make the most impact. A committee of professional staff members and faculty will also review all applications and oversee the process.

Is there a minimum number of students that must be involved in my proposed project?

There is no set minimum for the number of students your project should involve, but projects that can accommodate larger groups will be more appealing to students. Our Learning Community students are required to complete a service project during the spring semester, and we like the students to take part in project as a group (this means 20-23 students).

Is there a minimum number of hours that projects need to engage students?

There is no set number of hours this project should engage students, but proposed projects need to be sustainable over a three-year period. Projects that provide the opportunity for students (or multiple groups of students) to engage with the organization for more than a few hours will be more appealing to the students selecting which organization will receive Community Grants.

What types of projects are appropriate for this grant proposal?

The project requirements are rather broad. This was designed to encourage organizations to think broadly about ways in which they might impact the Cincinnati community. The most engaging projects will be ones that have the potential to engage UC students as volunteers. The RFP states that proposed projects should sustain a partnership with UC students for three years. The money does not need to last for the whole time, but the money should establish a semi-long term project or program.

How will students get to the project location?

Students are expected to find their own transportation to complete service projects. This means that it is important that the location is easily accessible by car or public transportation.

What is the general timeline for the Community Grant?

The RFP gives specific dates for the selection process and when projects should begin. Once organization receive grant money, they are expected to have the project up and running in time for UC students to complete service projects in March and April. Over the summer, students will not be on campus—though local students will be encourage to continue working with organization. This means that projects that involve students in the fall and especially the spring will be more relevant to students selecting which organizations receive grants.