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Community Partnerships: VCU Puts its Money Where its Mouth Is

Note: This article originally appeared in the summer 2017 VCU Alumni magazine. Active, dues-paying members of VCU Alumni receive a subscription to the magazine as a benefit of membership. To read the whole magazine online, join today! For more information, visit

For a university that received $271 million in sponsored research in 2016, a $20,000 grant might not seem like much. But sometimes, as Catherine Howard, Ph.D., vice provost for the Division of Community Engagement at Virginia Commonwealth University, suggests, $20,000 can provide an all-important first step.

And she should know.

Since the community engagement division was founded a decade ago, Howard has had a hand in doling out nearly 70 such grants through the university’s Council for Community Engagement, and each project funded, she says, bears the hallmark of VCU’s approach to working with the community.

“Community engagement is really in our DNA,” she says. VCU’s predecessors, the Medical College of Virginia and Richmond Professional Institute, “were born of the critical issues of the day and were structured to meet them. But they also acknowledged that there’s a tremendous amount of expertise the community possesses that needs to be brought into the discussion around those issues.”

Read the full VCU News article.