Millennials and post-millennials want to be involved in service and philanthropy, but there aren’t many mechanisms designed to support young people—even though they have an abundance of skills, energy and passion.
For example, students who have completed our online course on Global Poverty and Inequality, an immersive field study experience, or our Global Scholars Program are often inspired and enthusiastic about taking further action, but lack the capital to tackle concrete, outcome-focused projects. So the Blum Center has decided to introduce a new model for harnessing student passion and capacity to achieving measurable gains along clear trajectories.
The model—Small Change, Better World—was conceived a decade ago by three humanitarian workers—Michael Beevers, Richard Matthew and Renard Sexton—working in Sierra Leone. After visiting many villages impacted by a decade of civil war, they realized that most existing programming cannot undertake very small projects, even when these are important to the community and require some external support. From replacing lost musical instruments to finding the parts to a piece of heavy equipment donated from abroad, opportunities exist for small changes to create a better world.
We believe our students can identify and solve challenges at this scale.
Small Change, Better World provides seed grants for one-time, limited scope projects that address a specific need. Funded projects must require less than $3,000 and be achievable within a short period of time, such as a quarter or semester.
Small Change, Better World seed grants give students an opportunity to meet tangible needs in their own communities or in places they have visited and worked in. We hope that the experience gained through these projects will inspire students to continue to take actions to address 21st century challenges in ways that are effective, fair, and appropriate.
Open to undergraduate and graduate students at UC Irvine and UC Merced. Applicants who receive funding must be in good academic standing. Students who will graduate within a quarter of submitting their proposal are not eligible to apply.
Specifically, Small Change, Better World grants:
- Address a finite, one-time need
- Address a gap in support rather than a programmatic activity or one that the partner institution already has the jurisdiction and/or capability to support
- Have a clear vision for impact and social change in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
HOW TO APPLY
Download a sample proposal here. Components of the proposal include:
- Project rationale and implementation plan (1 page)
- Describe your proposed project. Include a discussion of why you want to do this project and what problem this project addresses.
- Budget narrative (1 page)
- Additional questions
- Who do you plan to work with (e.g. organization or community leader name) to implement this project? Provide their contact information.
- What category does this project fall under (e.g. Education, Food Systems, Health)?
- Do you have any other funding sources for this project (e.g. GoFundMe)? If so, list them here.
- Will the proposed project be completed within 10-15 weeks of receiving the award?
- Student Bio (name, GPA, major, campus) with photo
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Funds can be used to support such expenditures as the purchase of materials and supplies, project-related travel, and the costs incurred in the implementation of project activities. These funds cannot support major hardware purchases, salaries or stipends, or travel expenditures only.
Currently, applications are open to students at UC Irvine and UC Merced. We anticipate expanding to additional other UC campuses soon. Check back in the coming weeks for an updated list of participating campuses.
We’re looking to fund projects that cost under $3,000. You will need to provide an itemized cost estimate to justify the total amount requested.
Your itemized budget will be unique to the goals of your project. Budget should include reasonable estimated costs for any necessary materials, supplies, equipment, taxes, transportation, shipping, delivery, etc.
UC Irvine and UC Merced students can apply now! Current proposal round runs March 1-25, 2018. Funded projects are expected to be implemented in Spring 2018.
Other Resources for Projects of Broader Scope:
- Event-focused support: Illuminations
- Research-focused support: UROP
- Long-term Social Enterprise support: New Venture Competition
- Startup company or nonprofit support: New Venture Competition – Social Enterprise Track