Eligibility and Selection


  • Proposals require a partnership from at least two units from Virginia Commonwealth University or Virginia Commonwealth University Health System. “Units” include academic and academic support departments.
  • Only VCU/VCUHS full-time faculty and staff are eligible to serve as Principal Investigator (PI).
  • At least one community organization from the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area. A “community organization” may be a government agency, community or nonprofit organization, school or an affiliate of a local membership organization.

The Council defines “partnership” as sustained collaboration between institutions of higher education and communities for the mutually beneficial exchange, exploration and application of knowledge, information and resources.

Previous Community Engagement grantees may apply for completely new efforts. There will be no renewals of previously funded projects.

Funding Priorities

Activities funded under this award will:

  • Meet the Council’s VCU Community Engagement Terms and Definitions (PDF);
  • Involve a partnership between at least two VCU/VCUHS units and at least one community organization;
  • Be aligned with at least one of the Themes of the VCU Quest for Distinction;
  • Result in measurable outcomes (e.g. product development, increased capacity, strengthened relationships); and
  • Demonstrate the potential to leverage support from extramural funders.

Preference will be given to proposals that:

  • Include partnerships that span both campuses if/when appropriate to address the community-identified need
  • Project has a long-term vision beyond performance period
  • Provide in-kind or in-cash match
  • Request no more than 40 percent of the total budget to offset faculty salaries
  • Involve students
  • Contribute to faculty and students’ research trajectory


There are two stages of review. First, the Grants and Gifts Committee will assess each grant submission by type in the following areas:

Community Engagement Grant:

  • Merit of community-engaged approach: 50 points
    • Evidence of community-identified need
    • Responsiveness to community-identified need
    • Comprehensiveness of activities and implementation plan
    • Strength of new or existing partnerships
    • Measurable outcomes
    • Evaluation plan
  • Potential: 25 points
    • Impact and benefits to VCU and community
    • Sustainability plan
    • Potential for extramural funding leading from the project
  • Alignment with Quest for Distinction: 5 points
  • Budget: 20 points

CEnR Partnership Development Grant:

  • Partnership Potential: 50 points
    • Background of existing or potential relationship
    • Description of shared interests and common goals
    • Plan for relationship-building activities
    • Demonstrated understanding of three final deliverables
    • Describes how research interests will address a community-identified need
    • Impact and benefits to VCU and community
  • Community-Engaged Research Commitment: 15 points
    • Demonstrates commitment and understanding that the purpose of the partnership is to ultimately conduct a rigorous research project
    • Demonstrates clear knowledge of and commitment to principles of CEnR
  • Alignment with Quest for Distinction: 5 points
  • Budget: 20 points

The committee will select the strongest and most compelling proposals as finalists based on the above criteria. Finalists (VCU PIs, Co-PIs and community partners) will be invited for a 15-minute interview of their proposal with the committee, who will then select the awardees.