Gephardt News Student News

Revamped Fund Helps Build Strong Communities

The WashU campus is teeming with students, faculty, and staff who have the ideas, knowledge, and drive to make an impact in the community. The Civic Engagement Fund, now reinvigorated with additional funding and new categories, is the institute’s vehicle to help catalyze these efforts to strengthen communities in St. Louis and beyond.


Now in its seventh year, the Civic Engagement Fund has increased its funding levels in response to demands by Students in Solidarity. Following the death of Michael Brown, the group advocated for greater support for initiatives in St. Louis and for faculty to have the resources to further engage community-based teaching and learning. The Fund now offers larger grants and more substantial staff support to its grantees.

“There are often hard costs to engaging in the community,” notes Executive Director Amanda Moore McBride. “The Civic Engagement Fund exists to remove those opportunity and transaction costs, while offering counsel and technical support from our staff on the implementation of projects.”

Many campus student groups got an initial boost with Civic Engagement Fund seed funding, including Studio TESLA, ORGANize, and Harvest Health. While the fund will still offer support for similar initiatives, new financial supports from the Office of the Provost will enable larger grants that support faculty interested in community-engaged research or teaching. The fund has also carved out specific funding for capacity-building that strengthens the St. Louis region, a critical goal of the Gephardt Institute. Groups and individuals will be encouraged to work with partners in the St. Louis region to help address its many entrenched social, economic, political, and cultural issues.

There are three grant categories available:

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

The first grant cycle deadline is November 13. There are two additional cycles in the 2015-16 school year. For more information, visit the Civic Engagement Fund page or contact Bianca Kaushal, student coordinator of the Civic Engagement Fund at