Civic Engagement Fund

The Gephardt Institute’s Civic Engagement Fund cultivates community engagement initiatives that strengthen communities. Through Capacity Building Grants, Small Change Grants, and Need-Based Grants, all members of the WashU community may request funding and support for their proposed initiatives.

Three Grant Categories are Available:

  • Capacity-Building Grants for St. Louis projects, Community-Engaged Teaching courses, and Service Trips ($500-$5000)
  • Small Change Grants for community projects, special events, and educational experiences (under $500)
  • Need-Based Grants for individuals with high financial need (variable amounts based on need and budget)

All funding proposals should align with Institute Goals:

  • Catalyze civic engagement among students, staff, faculty, and alumni
  • Foster student learning, engagement, and leadership in civic life
  • Support faculty excellence and impact through community-engaged teaching and engaged scholarship
  • Serve as the university’s convener for campus and community groups in St. Louis, facilitating partnerships, dialogue, and volunteer assistance

Successful proposals should uphold Gephardt Institute and Washington University values for community engagement:

  • Develop community partnerships that are mutually beneficial and reciprocal
  • Promote civic agency
  • Engage in data-driven decision making
  • Cultivate a sense of community belonging

Application Procedures

  1. All applications are expected to align with the mission, vision, and goals of the Gephardt Institute.
  2. Applications are due at 5:00pm on each deadline date; late and/or incomplete applications will not be considered.
  3. Decisions will be announced within 4 weeks after the deadline.

Ineligible Requests

The following request categories are ineligible, unless the applicant is eligible for Need-Based Grants.

  1. Internships or practica
  2. Retroactive funding
  3. Funds and goods intended for philanthropic donation

  1. Funding is provided to individuals in the form of reimbursement upon submission of itemized receipts and successful progress and/or completion of the proposed initiative.
  2. Funding for departments and registered student groups may be provided through Inter-Department transfers in advance of project completion, pending department approval.
  3. Check (or direct deposit) reimbursements will be available 20 business days after submission of acceptable receipts and documentation.
  4. Receipts must be submitted within 20 business days following project completion, unless written approval of an extension is received from Gephardt Institute staff.
  5. Late receipts will not be approved for payment, and total grant amounts will be reduced accordingly.

  1. Responsible representation of Washington University and adherence to University judicial code, local and national laws, and high ethical standards for the full duration of project planning and implementation.
  2. Written indication of grant support from the Gephardt Institute in project and publicity materials.
  3. Written report within 30 days of project/course completion (maximum 1500 words), reflecting on project outcomes, learning experiences, and how grant recipient(s) will apply the experience to future endeavors.
  4. Contribution of project photos that may be used in Gephardt Institute print and online materials.
  5. Participation in meetings, trainings, and assessments requested by the Gephardt Institute.
  6. For group-based or department-based initiatives, participation in Community Counts Inventory will be required.

If you have any questions, please contact Jocelyn Meraz, the Civic Engagement Fund Coordinator, at