Academic Outreach Endowment Grants support community-connected teaching, learning, and research across all disciplines and are administered by the Center for Community Engagement. 

Examples of these approaches include community-based learning, project-based learning (when there is a direct community connection), public scholarship and community-based research, participatory action research, service-learning, and more. Community Engagement Scholars Donahue and Plaxton-Moore (2018) define community-based learning as a course-based experience that cultivates a student’s academic and civic knowledge and skills, as well as values & commitments, through direct engagement with communities and groups working to address a particular issue (e.g. systemic injustice, climate change, etc.).

Goals of the community collaborations that AOE grants support include 1) developing students’ knowledge, skills, and dispositions for informed engagement in civic life & positive social change and 2) contributing to building the capacity of community members and institutions to achieve a public purpose. 

How It Works

Grants are awarded a maximum of $4,000, and typically range between $1,000-$3,000. Recipients may have the opportunity to give public presentations detailing their projects. Both faculty and students are invited to apply.

The Academic Outreach Endowment (AOE) was made possible by the generosity of a Middlebury alum from the 1970s. This endowment, inspired by the very meaningful experience of the alumna’s thesis project, is used to provide support to students and faculty who wish to pursue community-connected opportunities and integrate real world issues with academic course work.


  • All undergraduate faculty and all returning undergraduate students in good standing are eligible to apply. Applications are encouraged from all disciplines.
  • Applications from both individuals and teams will be considered. Teams may include Middlebury College faculty, staff, and/or student(s), community partner(s), and other participants.
  • The Academic Outreach Endowment does NOT fund projects that are only either community service initiatives or unpaid internships.


Grants are awarded competitively, based upon the following criteria:

  • The project must be academically rigorous.
  • The project must be directly linked to academic course work (it cannot be simply volunteer service or an internship experience). For students this may also include for-credit independent studies or research for senior work.
  • The topic being addressed should be identified with community partner participation and reflect effective reciprocity, accordingly.
  • The structured process of analysis and reflection should be of high quality and built into the project plan.
  • Representation across academic divisions is desired, overall.
  • The Center for Community Engagement encourages applications from faculty and students who are new to this methodology, as well as from those who are more experienced.
  • AOE grants can fund local, national, and international projects. For international travel, see below for details about additional approval steps.
  • Funding does not typically cover equipment that is readily available through Middlebury (e.g., digital cameras).


Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis for funding requests for community-based courses and research projects. It usually takes no shorter than three weeks to move from application to accessing funds, so please plan ahead. Priority is given to earlier applications and may run out. Here are suggested timelines for applications, aligned with the course planning and registration period for any given semester:

  • For fall semester courses / research projects, end April
  • For winter term courses / research projects, mid-October
  • For spring semester courses / research projects, mid-November
  • For summer research projects, mid-April

If your proposal requests funding to span the summer (May- August), let us know so we can plan for how your funds can cross between fiscal years (which begin in July).  If you have special needs or concerns or would like further information, please reach out:

Faculty, please contact Claire Tebbs ( with any questions as you are preparing your application. Students, contact Kailee Brickner-McDonald ( 

Apply here. View a PDF of the full application here.

Grant Application Components

  • Basic project information (GoogleForm questions). Clearly articulate the community-connected need/issue you are addressing and the community partner(s) with whom you will work.
  • Upload a project proposal (750-1000 words) with a budget narrative for the funds requested, ensuring that the funds will be expended within a year of the award.
  • Upload a detailed budget of funds requested.
  • Upload at least one letter of commitment and support from the participating community partner(s).
  • Depending on your proposal, you may need to request IRB approval.

Faculty: Identify the course to which the grant relates, and how project connections will be incorporated within the course. If in support of research, identify the focus of your scholarship.

Students: Upload a letter of commitment and support from your project/course faculty advisor. Identify the course(s) (name and number) with which the proposal is connected.

See examples of past grant recipient projects.

For applications requiring international travel:

All travel must align with current College policies. Please see the travel and transportation page.

  • All students, faculty, and staff traveling beyond the contiguous U.S. must complete the International Travel Registration Form.
  • Check what level of advisory the U.S. State Dept. has assigned the country (countries) to which you intend to travel.
    • If there is a Level 1 advisory or a Level 2 advisory and Middlebury has a presence in that country (e.g., School Abroad), then you do not need to complete additional forms and CCE can make an award.
    • If there is a Level 2 advisory or higher and Middlebury does not have a program in that country, then you will also need to complete the International Activity Approval Form. CCE cannot make awards in this case until Global Operations approves the intended travel.