Dream Maker Grant FAQs and Tips

1. What year COM students are eligible to apply for this grant award?

A student/team from any COM year can apply for this grant award. The only stipulation for graduating seniors applying is that the grant’s final report must be submitted by the time they matriculate from medical school. For this reason, M4s should consider applying for grants only disbursed/starting in the spring of the year prior to graduation unless someone else on the grant team will be submitting the report.

2. Does the letter of support have to come from the community partner?

No, the letter of support does not need to come from your community partner although having one strengthens your application as it would serve as an indicator of a true partnership with engagement from your community agency/representative.

3. Can I apply for funding for equipment?

Yes, you can apply for funding towards the purchase of equipment (including medical equipment as well as supplies) that would enable you to carry out your planned program. However, applications that request what appears to be “stand alone equipment” without the context of input from your community partner is likely to be scored lower than other grants. If the sole reason for your grant application is buying equipment for an already existing program, you may be more successful applying for funding from an alternative source.

4.  What kind of community engagement are you looking for in the applications and programs?

Our Office of Community Engagement is most interested in finding and supporting programs that have been identified and initiated by a community partner (i.e., they CAME TO YOU and said, we think this will be useful/helpful/needed, etc.) as opposed to a student identifying a need in isolation then wanting to fund what they think will remedy the need (e.g., having a health screening in a local neighborhood that has not been asked about this event or given the opportunity for input). We use a rubric for scoring grant applications and those that score highest in this area of the rubric include ones that…

  • are addressing a need identified by the community and not the student initially.
  • have support of persons either living in, engaged with, already serving or in other ways representative of the community involved.
  • have data already supporting the need for a revision/change/update to an existing program AND desire of the community to pursue this.
  • illustrate a strong community partnership in developing and executing the program proposed, rather than the community serving only as a target population or simply a site. Ways to accomplish this include having a representative community partner on your grant team (with them having equal input into the program design, use of the funding and expected outcomes), being a funded member of the program for their role, or being a volunteer with a necessary structured role in the program for its success.

5. When you say “community” who are you referring to?

We view your community as those outside your common circle of interaction and a defined group with whom you are seeking to work together. It may be the community partner (e.g., the YMCA staff) with whom you develop the program. It may be individuals in the area where you plan to build your program (e.g., North Charleston residents). In both instances used as examples, engaging with those communities is beyond choosing them as a site or simply asking permission to run a program you designed. For the YMCA example, engagement with them would include having their representatives on your grant team, full and equal participation in developing your proposal, obtaining a letter of support where they outline their role in and support of your program, etc. For the North Charleston resident example, obtaining input in surveys or similar format from a representative sample of residents in regard to both the need (“What do you think we should address here?”) as well as their recommended plans (“How do you think this can be made better/changed/what would you like to see here instead?”) and offering them the opportunity to be involved in executing the program is how you respectfully and equally engage them as a community.

6. If I apply for a Dream Maker grant and am not successful, am I able to re-apply?

Yes, you are able to reapply. We try to offer formative feedback to those who are not chosen for funding during their initial applications in the hopes that this can assist in strengthening your applications going forward.

7. How much funding is available and given out?

Dream Maker grants are disbursed in amounts of $2000-$4000 one time. Grants are awarded quarterly and funding is expected to be fully used within 1 year from the time of disbursement.  Please note that teams who are successful in their grant applications may not receive the full amount requested, and instead be awarded a portion of requested funding. We make every attempt to award amounts that will still allow for successful execution of planned programs but also encourage students to look for additional sources of funding in the event that their program does indeed require more support than we can fund.