What does a good grant look like? (video answer)
Will you give some tips for creating a budget? (video answer)
The principal investigator (PI) is defined as the full-time faculty or staff member from VCU or VCUHS who:
- takes final responsibility for the conduct of community-engaged research or other activity described in the proposal and
- holds fiduciary responsibility for the award management.
Only the PI serves as the main contact for all correspondence with the Division for Community Engagement regarding grant management and is identified as the PI in the human or animal subjects protocol. Other VCU members of the team can be considered co-principal investigators, collaborators, partners, etc.
A VCU or VCUHS “unit” is an academic or academic support unit. An academic unit includes centers and institutes, academic and research programs, departments and schools. Examples of academic support units are VCU Athletics, Libraries and Facilities Management.
Student groups (e.g. organizations, clubs) may participate in these activities, however students may not serve as principal investigators. Student groups must therefore be sponsored by a VCU faculty or staff member and his/her unit.
Any number of organizations or public entities that serve Greater Richmond meet this definition. For example, community partners may be a government agency, community or nonprofit organization, school or an affiliate of a local membership organization. The Greater Richmond Area is defined as the independent cities, counties, unincorporated towns and unincorporated communities included in the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).
Preference is given to partnerships within the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). If the community partner is located outside of the MSA, provide a description on how the proposed project will be maintained after the funding period.
One goal of the Community Engagement Grants is to support new initiatives. If your partners are the same but you are proposing a new idea and project, you may apply for another Community Engagement Grant. Your proposal should demonstrate that this current initiative is not an expansion of the old project but rather a new enterprise that can strengthen disciplinary opportunities.
The funding period will begin July 1, 2016 until June 30, 2017. All activities must be completed within 12 months of the receipt of funding.
This is allowable. However, the most competitive projects will effectively maximize VCU collaborations in partnership with community organizations to address community-identified needs. When appropriate to address the need, these VCU collaborations should be interdisciplinary and cross-campus.
The community-engaged scholarship (CES) plan describes the timeline and specific activities to develop CES. VCU defines CES as the creation and dissemination of knowledge and creative expression in furtherance of the mission and goals of the university and in collaboration with the community. CES addresses community needs through research, teaching and service in a mutually beneficial partnership. The quality and impact of CES are determined by academic peers and community partners. Some examples include a co-authored article, an art installation, a conference presentation or a video.
A letter of commitment shows that the community organization believes a project is needed and worthwhile and that the partner is willing to be actively involved in its implementation. Therefore, the letter should verify the community-identified need, verify that there will be a mutually-beneficial exchange with VCU, define the partner’s role(s) in the project and explain the expected benefit to the organization’s stakeholders. A letter of commitment should address specific types of commitment such as expert staff, space, equipment, food, or access to a population. It should also be on letterhead, signed, and dated.
Indirect costs are not allowed. All funds must meet E&G state fund policy requirements.
Yes, funds may be used to support salary, but limited to 40% of the overall approved budget.
No. Funds may be used towards conference registration though.
Matching funds come from revenue sources other than other than an individual’s own private monies. In-kind matches are contributions or assistance in a form other than money, such as equipment, materials or services of recognized value.
Yes, but you must be very clear in the budget justification about the source and proper allocation of the match. Consult your fiscal administrator.
All funds are transferred directly to the PI’s academic unit.
Budget modifications are allowed when the change supports the project goal. All modifications over $500 require approval. To submit for approval, e-mail Audrey Trussell at firstname.lastname@example.org with your budget modification and justification describing how it relates to your project goal. All budget modifications must be documented in the final expenditure report.
These grants are intended to be one-time expenditures necessary for the project to be sustained, such as funds for professional development or to purchase medical kits that will be the property of the community organization. Consult your fiscal administrator for the specific mechanism(s) that will best suit your needs.
There will only be one transfer of funds. The Division of Community Engagement assumes that the principal investigator’s unit will serve as the department administrating the funds unless otherwise indicated on the application. Make this decision before submitting the proposal.
Please see the RFP guidance documents for each grant here.
Application packages are to be submitted via email in February of each year.
Incomplete applications or those submitted after the deadline will not be reviewed. Please carefully review the checklist of the guidance to plan for a timely and complete submission.
Yes, but keep in mind that you will be responsible for full implementation of your proposal; therefore, multiple submissions may be ambitious.
Yes. The principal investigator’s dean/director/division head must sign the cover sheet.
Applications are considered incomplete if they do not include all necessary components, including signed letters of commitment and signed coversheets. Incomplete applications or those submitted after the deadline will not be reviewed.
The Grants and Gifts Committee typically reviews 20 to 25 proposals each grant cycle.
The Grants and Gifts Committee, composed of representatives from across VCU, will review and score all submissions and make funding recommendations to the vice provost for the Division of Community Engagement.
The first round of decision letters will be sent via email to the PI in late March 2016. Applicants will be notified via e-mail if their proposal was selected as a finalist, and instructions for finalists’ interviews will be included. Finalist interviews will be held in April 2016. Follow the timeline.
The finalist notification letter will include both general and specific questions about your project that you should address. It will be sent at least one week before the scheduled interview. VCU and community partners are expected to attend the interview, which will last about 20 minutes. Decisions about which projects will ultimately receive the Community Engagement Grants will be made approximately one week after the interviews. PIs in the finalist group will receive a decision letter by e-mail.
Comments regarding your proposal will be sent soon after the review period ends.
Previously six to eight Community Engagement Grants have been awarded each year. See Previously Funded Projects for more information.
Because this is intended to be seed money to implement the best community engagement projects, proposals may request up to $20,000 for the Community Engagement Grants and $10,000 for the CEnR Partnership Development grants. Proposals should request only the amount of funds they actually require to be implemented. If a proposal is funded, it may be for more or less than the amount requested at the discretion of the review committee and the availability of funds.
- Alert the fiscal administrator of the home department that the project will be awarded. Funding will be transferred to the home department responsible for fund disbursement and reporting activities.
- Upon receiving notice of the award, it is critical that you start the process to secure IRB or IACUC approval if needed. Also, the review committee may recommend that members of the funded team participate in additional training, such as an evaluation workshop, during the award period.
Minor adjustments to the budget (less than $500) are allowed at your discretion without getting permission from the Division of Community Engagement. It is important that all funds contribute to the project and, when there have been changes, you will be expected to note that in your final expenditure report. See the Budget section above for more information.
No cost extensions are considered on a case-by-case basis.
The final report is online and will be made available to grantees. There is a five-page limit on the narrative section.
Please use one inch margins all around, Times New Roman font, size 12, double spaced.
Yes. Individuals from VCU and the Greater Richmond community who are interested in the Community Engagement Grants are invited to information sessions. Members of the Grants and Gifts Committee will be on hand to discuss the grant and answer questions. These will be posted on the Division of Community Engagement's homepage at community.vcu.edu.
All questions regarding CCE grants should be directed to Tracey Gendron, Grants and Gifts Committee chair, at email@example.com.