Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to submit a proposal?
Any undergraduate or graduate student enrolled at the University of Florida. The project team must comprise registered UF students, but the project can involve outside people, organizations, UF or other faculty or staff.

Are student groups eligible?
Yes! If an existing student organization or a group of students from an existing organization would like to submit a proposal, they may do so.

Are UF Online students eligible?
No. UF Online students do not pay student fees for on-campus activities, services and programming, and are therefore not eligible for this program.

When will we find out if our proposal was accepted?
Once the application deadline closes, the committee will meet to review all application packages. Several groups will be invited to give presentations. Decisions will be made following the presentations. Notifications will go out prior to the end of the spring semester. 

What do you mean when you say the proposal must be “collaborative, groundbreaking, and promote achievable objectives”?
Now that’s a great question! By “collaborative” we mean that no one student can go it alone. We are looking for groups of at least 3-5 students and we will be most impressed by groups reflecting gender, racial, and academic diversity.

By “groundbreaking” we mean a fantastic idea that we never considered. In fact, your goal should be to elicit the following response from the committee: “That is an amazing idea!”

By “promote achievable objectives” we mean that the proposal includes specific, measurable, realistic, and timely objectives. You should be able to identify an important issue in a local community (like UF, Gainesville, Florida or some combination) and utilize your social entrepreneurial talents to formulate a realistic and achievable project to address that issue. Ask yourself this -  How will your project make a difference for a group of people/your local community? Can you show "outside-the-box" thinking to make a viable difference in the lives of those in your community?

In the application proposal packet, what needs to be included in the two-page narrative?
The two-page narrative is the overview and justification of your project. This is the most important piece of the application. The narrative needs to clearly identify the problem to be addressed, the solution to address it and in what specific community your group will be working. It must then demonstrate a thorough and achievable strategy to implement your plan. You must clearly identify your goals and articulate how these goals are both attainable and impactful on the community you intend to serve.

In the application proposal packet, what needs to be included in the one-page collaborative approach document?
This portion of the packet offers a concise description of each member of the team and how each person will contribute to the project.  You will also need to include any outside members - individuals, groups, organizations, government entities, or anyone else you will be working with and why. This portion will show that the team was created for purposeful action, drawing on expertise from each member/partner to achieve the goals as detailed in the narrative.

How specific must the budget be? Is it flexible?
The more specific the better. Try to be as precise and comprehensive at the beginning as you can. The decision committee will ask you about your budget, and often make changes and recommendations to your budget proposal, based on your presentation and questions answered. The Bob Graham Center and the decision committee have the ability to propose an alternative budget at the outset. This decision would be made in conjunction with the team to ensure that everyone is in agreement. Grants of up to $5000 can be awarded, but groups can be awarded less if the committee determines the project will not need the full amount. Think through your expenses and be realistic when proposing what the group will need.  And yes, we fully expect that the budget will change as the group progresses through the project.

Are there any limitations on exclusions related to how the money is spent?
All expenses must be reviewed and approved by the Bob Graham Center. As long as they directly support the project itself, they are likely to be approved.

Must proposals include a faculty mentor or advisor?
Yes! In the end, we fully expect the selected project to be envisioned, planned and implemented by students. However, experience has shown that the watchful eye and thoughtful advice of a trusted faculty member or advisor can positively impact the project and team members.

Must proposals include letter of support from campus and/or community groups?
These letters are only required if the proposal includes specific collaboration with another group. For example, if your proposal includes partnering with the Bread of the Mighty Food Bank, we would expect to see a letter of support from that organization. Otherwise, such a letter is not required. That said, we anticipate that the most promising proposals will include such letters.

Must all portions of the proposal package be submitted together or can portions be sent separately?
Yes, all portions of the proposal should be submitted as a unified and cohesive package. 

Still have questions?
Questions about the Civic Innovators program may be directed to Matt Jacobs, Director, Bob Graham Center for Public Service,