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Strengthening Communities Grants


Every year, the Strengthening Communities Initiative (SCI) awards Capacity Building and Small Grants to grow and develop community organizations, enhance student skills and knowledge, and further the engaged scholarship goals of the faculty. 

Strengthening Communities is an initiative of the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy and the Institute for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at the University of Memphis, the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, and the United Way of the Mid-South.

Project Topics

SCI provides funding to support the development and implementation of innovative neighborhood-based projects that address the following issues: 

  • Economic Development
  • Education
  • Health
  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Safety

In addition, priority points will be given to the following types of projects:

  • Projects that support the success of every individual from cradle to career, including projects related to Strive, STEM, youth development, and education reform and support
  • Projects that address environmental or sustainability issues, including projects related to food security, water security, and access to green space

Types of Grants

Two types of grants are awarded: Small Grants and Capacity Building Grants.

Small Grants are awarded to nonprofit organizations for a one-time community development project, preferably to support initial work that will lead to a future Capacity Building Grant.

Capacity Building Grants are awarded to teams, each of which consists of a nonprofit community organization and University of Memphis faculty and students, for neighborhood-based projects in order to increase community capacity as part of the University’s Engaged Scholarship agenda. 

Interest Meetings for 2014 SCI Grants

All applicants must attend at least one of the following Interest Meetings. Interest meetings will include an overview of the RFP and will give attendees a chance to ask questions.

  • Thursday, October 17, 2013, from 8:30 - 10:00am, in the University Center, Room 342 (Shelby Room), on the University of Memphis campus
  • Thursday, November 7, 2013, from 5:30 - 7:00pm, at the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, 1900 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee 38104 
  • Thursday, December 5, 2013, from 3:00 - 4:30pm, in the University Center, Room 338 (Iris Room), on the University of Memphis campus

Applicants for the Capacity Building Grant needing a partner (faculty or community organization) should attend either the October or November meeting, both of which will include a matchmaking opportunity at the end. (Small Grant Applicants do not need a partner.)

If you are applying for a Capacity Building Grant and you already have a partner, both partners (the faculty member and a representative from the community organization) must attend at least one meeting, although not necessarily the same meeting.

Parking: You can find the campus map here. Please park in the Zach Curlin Parking Garage (under “p” for Parking Garage). Validated parking vouchers will be available at the meeting. 

Grant Cycle Timeline 

October: RFPs posted on the University of Memphis website

October – December: Interest meetings (typically 3) held for potential applicants

January: Applications due at the end of the month

February and March: Proposals reviewed by University of Memphis students, a group of community and University volunteers, and the Executive Committee 

April: Grant recipients announced by the end of April

August: Funding distributed



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grassroots guide postcard



The Strengthening Communities Initiative is funded by:

   CFGM - for website        Learning by Giving Logo

Please check back in September 2014 for Interest Meeting dates for the next grant cycle.

Please review the 2014 RFP Guidelines:

Small Grant

Capacity Building Grant

For an explanation of the 2014 SCI Grant application process, please view our PowerPoint presentation.

Online Engagement

Institute for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership (IPNL)

Strengthening Communities Initiative

School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy (SUAPP)

Community Foundation of Greater Memphis

United Way of the MidSouth


Strengthening Communities Initiative
121 McCord Hall
University of Memphis
Memphis, TN 38152


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Last Updated: 6/17/14