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Announcing the 2019–20 Innovation Challenge

October 23, 2019

​​Dear Students, Staff and Faculty:

I am pleased to announce that, for the fourth year, I will be offering Innovation Challenge Grants for advancing inclusion and equity. This competitive funding opportunity will support innovative projects that strengthen our community.

I invite all current students, staff and faculty—individually or in groups—to propose innovative projects for funding consideration. Last year’s funded projects ranged in scope, including cross-cultural coalition building, global wellness programming and body-positive workshops.

Proposals will be due November 8th, the day after Otelia Cromwell Day. Proposal guidelines and a submission form can be found at In addition, an optional information session will be held on Friday, October 25th, at 12:15 p.m. in the Paradise Room of the Conference Center.

As you develop your proposals, please consider the following:

  • Projects should address one of the thematic areas of need identified by the Inclusion in Action working group: Identity/Representation, Education/Learning, Communication, Engagement, or Justice. Full descriptions can be found here.
  • Projects should demonstrate innovative approaches to teaching, research and activism related to inclusion and anti-racism efforts.
  • Proposals that take a team approach and engage students, staff and faculty in collaborative projects are particularly encouraged. Students should consult with a faculty member or staff member before submitting a proposal; ideally, this person will serve as a partner for the challenge grant.
  • Projects should focus on structural change, and especially on ideas that can be replicated at a larger scale.
  • Projects selected for funding must be completed during the timeframe that the primary applicant is at Smith (e.g., a graduating senior may not undertake a project that extends beyond their graduation). Semester-long or calendar year projects will be prioritized.
  • Projects that are eligible for funding from other college sources will not be considered.
  • Funds may not be used to pay Smith students, staff or faculty.
  • Projects that are currently being funded (e.g., current faculty research, programs receiving student activities funding) will not be considered.
  • Grants may range in size from $1,000 to $10,000.

A grants review committee, which includes students, staff and faculty, will make funding recommendations to me.

I look forward to supporting our community’s best ideas to advance inclusion and equity on our campus and in our community.


Kathleen McCartney