Diversity-focused grant program has new home, additional assistance

Opportunities for a broader campus audience is one intent behind changes to the former Women's and Diversity Grants Program made in the last year. The newly named Inclusion Initiatives Grant Program, which moved from the provost's office to the office of diversity and inclusion last winter, will award up to $5,000 for innovative proposals that promote an inclusive and engaged community and positively impact the university. Proposals also will be reviewed for how well they align with existing principles and guidelines for diversity and inclusion. Total available funding remains at about $50,000, and all faculty and staff are welcome to submit proposals.

"We really want to find projects and ideas that are creative and collaborative but may not have an obvious niche or home at Iowa State," said Nicci Port, project director in LGBTQ+ affairs in the office of diversity and inclusion. "Anyone with a good idea is welcome, even if they need help developing their idea before they apply."

She said a lack of experience with preparing grant proposals shouldn't undermine a great concept.

The application deadline is March 1, 2018, for a project window of Aug. 1-June 1, 2019. Grant recipients will be notified by May 1. In addition to an expanded scope for funded projects, Port said the grants program has been tweaked to remove hurdles and provide more structure and assistance to applicants. Key changes are:

  • Mandatory intent to apply filing, open through Nov. 30. A proposal at this early stage is just 500 characters and the team needn't be complete. The intent is to answer questions before applications are fully developed. Applicants with similar proposals at this stage could be alerted to each other for a possible merger.
  • A 60-minute workshop for would-be applicants to learn more about the program's priorities and how proposals will be evaluated. For example, ongoing initiatives are preferred to one-time events -- though one-time events could be funded. This workshop will be offered several times in January.
  • Coaching/mentoring during the duration of the project window, particularly the first few months. "We'll provide more than an account number and a final report template," Port said. "We'll work with people along the way." An example could be assistance finding an ongoing funding source for the initiative, if that's what the team requests.

Questions about the grant program may be directed to inclusioninitiatives@iastate.edu, or Port, 294-0608.