Dream Maker Grants

You are a student and dream of doing something but you need funding to get started. We are here to help! The Office of Community Engagement announces the first round of dream-maker grants for students aiming to be involved in a community-focused project, including research, new program development or existing program expansion. Grant amounts range from $2000-$4000 given once with the potential for re-application the following year. These grants are meant to serve as seed funding for relatively “smaller” initiatives that can grow in scope/size and possibly apply for larger funding through other agencies in future or serve as the foundation for programs that will continue beyond the funded year(s). Applicants are encouraged to think more “long term” and less short-term “one-off” projects that tend to have less potential for nurturing relationships with communities. Regardless of your proposal, we want to see a high potential for strengthening bi-directional communication and for growth over time. Your community of focus is your partner in this, not simply a recipient. Proposals should highlight the bi-directional working relationships with communities and include a plan for sustainability beyond the duration of the funding provided by these grants.

The “micro-loan” format of this grant reinforces our dedication to investing in your ideas and encouraging forward-thinking longitudinal programs. Students are required to “pay back” the grant with production of outcomes. Examples of ways to “pay back” the micro loan include establishing a firm foundation/well established program integrated into an agency or school’s usual offerings, toolkits that allow wider shared how-to for others, and media contributions to the resource library housed on the COM Office of Community Engagement website. Students will be required to have two mentors including one based in or having a strong connection to the community of interest. Successful applicants will be required to submit a report outlining their use of the funding, outcomes and how they have “paid back” the grant at the end of 12 months from the award date.

Learn about our most recent awardees.


Students in the COM in good academic and professional standing.

While students of all years can apply, the required final report must be submitted by 12 months from start of the grant and prior to graduation if an M4 is the main student recipient of the grant.

Requirements of the application:

  • Written proposal submitted via a link that will be provided on our webpage and updated RFA when the application period is open.

  • Have 2 identified mentors, including one based in or strongly connected to the community of interest. This community-based mentor may serve as primarily an advisor to the student and not be working directly on the project.
  • Within the proposal the student must identify a defined community. This may be local, regional, international, virtual or in person, and defined in various ways. A community is defined by characteristics that identify its members and can be many descriptors (e.g school grade, age range, gender identity etc), not only geographical.
  • One letter of support. This can be from the student’s community-based mentor.
  • Two listed references.

Application evaluation:

All applications from eligible students will receive fair consideration by the CE Advisory Board.  Proposals will be assessed based on several factors including strength of partnership with community and community mentor, innovation, potential of impact (short and long term) on both the community as well as student/applicant.


Grant Timeline
Application opens Application closes Decision announced Funding start(approximate) Final report due
January 1 February 28 March 15 April 15 April 15 +1 year
April 1 May 30 June 15 July 15 July 15 + 1 year
July 1 August 30 September 15 October 15 Oct 15 + 1 year
October 1 November 30 December 15 January 15 Jan 15 + 1 year

Please note: There will not be an open cycle for Dream Maker Grants July 1 to August 30, 2023. Stay tuned for the next open cycle scheduled for October 1, 2023.

Full RFA (PDF) 

Dream Maker Grant FAQS & Tips


Please check out our Dream Maker FAQs and Tips or direct questions regarding this opportunity to Anita Ramsetty, M.D., CCMS.