Student Funding

Serve in Place Fund

Support communities during the COVID-19 pandemic


During the continuing global pandemic, we’re compelled to support our neighbors, community partners and fellow humans — in our home communities and around the world — even if we can’t do so face to face. We are compelled to Serve in Place.

This fund supports students who are participating in any type of community-based research activities or community-engaged learning projects that:

  1. Address a specific interest, problem or public concern;
  2. Include working with and learning from a community partner;
  3. Connect and integrate community-engaged experiences with educational content; and
  4. Include structured, documented critical reflection.

These grants are intended to support students participating in any of the following:

Course-based engagement activities

Team-based learning and research projects

Individual community-engaged projects (including programs, internships or research)

Mentored internships

Team-based consulting projects


Special consideration will be given to projects that directly benefit predominantly Black, Indigenous and/or other marginalized groups.


$1,000 maximum

The deadline for summer funding is Monday, March 21, 2022. Grants can’t be renewed.

Funds can’t be used toward travel (domestic or international), tuition or nonrefundable program fees. However, funds can be applied toward the community project, a personal stipend or other necessary costs to ensure the project’s success.

Funds will be distributed as a credit to students’ bursar accounts.


The summer Serve in Place Fund is open to Cornell undergraduate, graduate and professional students who:

plan to be enrolled for the fall 2022 semester (students graduating in spring 2022 cannot apply);

have not previously received a Serve in Place Fund grant;* and

are NOT enrolled in the College of Human Ecology (CHE); College of Architecture, Art and Planning; or the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business.**

*We invite previous grantees to get involved in Einhorn Center programs and apply for our other awards and funding. See the full list on our website and subscribe to our Student Update email for more info.

**CHE, AAP and the SC Johnson College have launched Engaged College Initiatives in partnership with the Einhorn Center, and students from those colleges should contact their college representative to learn more. The CHE representative is Kristen Elmore; Candace Maxian is the contact for SC Johnson College students and Victoria Beard is the AAP representative.

Expectations and Deliverables

Throughout the planning and implementation of the project, students must adhere to county, statewide, national and international public health guidelines, as well as university policies.

Successful applicants will be required to complete a pre-engagement module, mid-project reflection and end-of-project reflection and a post-engagement module. Applicants may publicly share their work via The Ripple Effect blog.



The application for summer funding will be open February 10 through March 21.

Applicants will be notified of their funding decision by mid-April.


To be considered, proposals must be completed in full and submitted using the online application form. Proposals must include the following information, within the space limits described on the online form.

  • Applicant name, Cornell ID number, NetID and email address
  • Applicant graduation year, college/school, majors(s), minors(s)
  • Statement of financial hardship, if applicable
  • Project title and start/end dates
  • Community partner name, contact person, email, website and location
  • Links to relevant the local (e.g., city, county) public health department for applicant and community partner. These will be different if the student and partner are in different locations.
  • If applicable, a description of how this project is supporting Black, Indigenous and/or marginalized communities. What is the background/context of the public issue the project is addressing in this community?
  • Description of the project and how it meets the community-engaged learning criteria
    • What issue of public concern the project addresses
    • How the applicant found out about the community need
    • How the project advances the applicant’s current personal, academic and career background and goals
  • Explanation of how applicant will evaluate the impact and success of the project (i.e., the achievement of objectives specified with the community partner)
  • If relevant, description of how this project is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and how applicant plans to mitigate disease transmission risk (e.g., maintaining social distancing, working online only).
  • Budget and justification of all expense requests
  • A list of any scholarships, grants or other financial resources the applicant has received or applied for that would supplement the costs of the project
  • Either a (a) Community Benefits Agreement signed by both the applicant and the community partner or (b) one letter of support from the community partner. This is a strict requirement.

Selection Criteria

Engaged Ambassadors and Einhorn Center staff review and evaluate grant applications using the following criteria:

  1. Quality of project, including feasibility, ability of project to meet community-engaged learning criteria, potential for sustainability of the partnership, potential for student learning and potential for positive community impact.
  2. Potential for the applicant to develop in civic engagement, defined as the ability to connect academic study to social responsibility, public purpose, democracy and civic life within diverse communities and cultures
  3. Potential for the applicant to develop in ethical practice, defined as the practice of examining and communicating independently the connection between one’s actions and beliefs and the well-being of communities and society
  4. Potential for the applicant to develop skills in critical reflection, defined as the practice of describing, analyzing, interpreting and articulating your community-engaged learning experience in the context of “serving in place”

Previous Recipients

Questions about your project?