Apply for a Campus Action Project Grant


AAUW Campus Action Project (CAP) grants give students the opportunity to take action in their communities to target the barriers faced by women and girls. Each year the grants take on a theme based on the latest data from AAUW research. CAP grants of up to $5,000 are awarded to 10–12 projects.

The application period for CAP grants is now closed and will open again in August 2016.

About AAUW

In the late 1800s, 17 women college graduates gathered to discuss the lack of opportunities available to them. They decided to join together to help other women attend college and to assist those who had already graduated. Today, our work in education continues, but we also advocate for equality beyond classrooms — in boardrooms and courtrooms, on Capitol Hill, at home, and around the world. When women change, the world changes — economically, educationally, and politically. At AAUW, we see our work as the catalyst for that change.


  • Applicants must be affiliated with accredited, degree-granting, nonprofit institutions in the United States. Priority consideration is given to teams from AAUW college/university partner member institutions. Learn about the benefits of becoming a C/U partner member, including free AAUW e-student affiliate membership for all undergraduate students.
  • The CAP team must be composed of at least two undergraduate students and a campus professional as the project adviser. Additional campus professionals, graduate students, and undergraduate students are encouraged to join the team.
  • The project adviser must be a campus faculty member or staff professional who will assume programmatic and fiscal responsibility for the project.
  • An AAUW state or branch representative must serve as a community liaison to the CAP team. Find and contact a branch near you.
  • The project must be completed by the end of May.
  • Former CAP grantees or applicants may apply.

Application Components and Instructions

Please read the following application guidelines carefully.

  • Adhere to the specified word limit for each section.
  • Submit the online CAP application. All application materials must be received at that time in order to be considered. Applicants will be notified of the grant award decisions by mid-November.


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Section I — Your CAP Team

  • The project student leader will be the primary student contact for your project. Teams must include at least two undergraduate students but can also include additional undergraduate and graduate students. Your project should be student-driven.
  • In addition to the project student leader, the project adviser (faculty or staff at your school) will be the contact person for award notification, reporting, publicity, and other grant-related activities. We strongly advise listing an additional project adviser who can assume leadership of the project should the primary project adviser be unable to continue.
  • Some colleges and universities require external grant funds to be administered by a central office. Please check with the appropriate office on your campus to learn about your school’s policy before submitting this application. If no alternative campus contact is designated on the application, grant funds will be made payable to the campus and disbursed to the primary project adviser.
  • List all student participants and their contact information. Demographic background is optional but preferred.
  • Provide information about your institution. AAUW college/university partner members receive special consideration in the selection process.

Section II — Project Description

All projects should be closely related to the topic of breaking down barriers and addressing stereotypes and biases. Team goals should include raising awareness and taking action on campus. The use of social media and the creation of an online presence or online materials are encouraged whenever possible to help increase the reach of the project.You may use the following project suggestions to guide your proposals. However, teams should propose creative approaches and should not be limited by the ideas listed below. Consider collaborating with groups on campus, including relevant student organizations, academic departments, faculty, and student engagement offices.

  1. Improve the campus climate for women. Partner with departments to evaluate and improve the climate for women on your campus. You can use the implicit bias test or work with a faculty adviser to modify your own. Projects can focus on improving the retention and satisfaction of women.
  2. Organize a speaker series to share different perspectives. Fight the perception that there is only one way by highlighting the many different roles and jobs for women. Bring professionals to campus or local organizations to share what they do and how they got where they are.
  3. Create a visual campaign. Create a video or poster series to highlight how important it is to add women to the conversation. Developing eye-catching visuals is just one way to raise awareness about this existing problem throughout your campus.
  4. Spread the word about the social impact. Many students are searching for professional opportunities that include a chance to make change in their communities. Organize events on campus that highlight the social importance of breaking down barriers for women. Host fairs, websites, displays, or events that illustrate the way women will change and shape our world. Invite the community to submit examples and ideas.
  5. Form discussion groups. Talk about it! What would you say among a group of college students about the lack of women representation in leadership? Can your campus benefit from talking through the issue and crafting next steps for making your school a more supportive space? Develop a project that allows space for discussion and dialogue to start changing your campus climate.
  6. Begin a mentorship program. When young girls are introduced to empowering women, they are able to picture themselves in those roles. Connect girls from the local community to current female woman students at your school, or connect students at your school to women already in the workforce.

If these suggestions do not fit your campus needs, create a project of your own that addresses this year’s topic.

Section III — AAUW Liaison

Your team must identify an AAUW state or branch representative to serve as a community liaison. This person’s involvement could include attending team meetings, reviewing plans or preliminary reports of project activities, providing AAUW materials for distribution at meetings or events, or assisting with the implementation of the project. Find and contact an AAUW branch near you.If you are having trouble identifying a liaison, please let AAUW staff know before submitting your application. Assistance will be available, especially if your team is selected.

Section IV — Budget

Your application must include an itemized budget for the project and a brief budget narrative.Funds are available for, but not limited to, the following project-related expense categories:

  • Postage, shipping, or courier service
  • Photocopying or duplicating
  • Office supplies
  • Audiovisual materials
  • Project-related telephone costs
  • Transportation and professional fees or honoraria for speakers (should be no more than half of grant request)
  • Meals, food, or beverages for project-related activities
  • Advertising, publicity, or graphic design
  • Equipment purchases
  • Temporary, hourly clerical help
  • Field trips or travel for project participants

Funds cannot be used for

  • Salaries or stipends for project directors, students, or other participants
  • Tuition
  • Higher education scholarships for students or participants
  • Building funds, construction, or renovations
  • Travel expenses for activities not within the scope of the project
  • Overhead or general operating expenses for any organization
  • Personal expenses, shelter, life insurance, or medical/health insurance
  • Previous expenditures, deficits, or loans
  • Creating or providing grants to other organizations
  • Copyright or attorney fees
  • Fundraising activities
  • Conference fees or costs
  • Lobbying or partisan activities
  • Religious purposes

Selection Criteria

CAP proposals will be evaluated according to the following seven criteria:

  • Relevance. The project goals are aligned with the topic and recommendations of the call for proposals.
  • Project description. The goals, project activities, and anticipated outcomes of the project are stated clearly. The target audience is identified, and the project provides opportunities for student leadership development.
  • Feasibility. The project time line is realistic, and the team has the capacity to complete the project within the specified time frame. The desired outcomes and goals are reasonable given the scope of the project.
  • Impact. The project has the potential to engage members of the target audiences and the wider community. The proposal includes a plan to measure or record outcomes; specifics regarding impact are desirable.
  • Outreach. The project will be actively promoted on campus and in the local community. The proposal includes a role for the AAUW liaison.
  • Diversity and inclusion. The project includes and will reach a diverse group of students. Be intentional about making this project accessible for all students and community members. AAUW also aims to have geographic diversity and diversity of school type in the selected teams.
  • Budget. The budget request is closely aligned to project activities, and there is a reasonable and logical justification for each item of the budget. Matching funds and in-kind contributions demonstrate project support (though extra funds are not required).

Special consideration will be given to teams from institutions that are AAUW college/university partner members.

Expectations and Procedures

  • In the planning stage , the CAP team creates an action plan and develops a project proposal that includes goals, a time line, tasks, a target audience, and evaluation strategies.
  • In the review stage , the teams check in on the submitted time line with involved stakeholders to ensure that the project is ready to continue once grant notifications are delivered. This helps teams work in a seamless way during the grant cycle.
  • In the implementation stage , the team concentrates on the coordination of project tasks, develops mechanisms to monitor progress, and prepares to make adjustments or seize emerging opportunities as the project unfolds.
  • In the evaluation stage, the team assesses the program’s impact from the team’s perspective, individually and as a group, on those involved in the project — such as co-sponsors or the school — and on participants and beneficiaries.
  • During the evaluation stage, at least one CAP team member will present on all four of these stages at the annual National Conference for College Women Student Leaders in June.

Grant Requirements and Details

In addition to meeting the goals stated in your grant proposal and adhering to the expectations and procedures described above, grantees must fulfill the following requirements:

  • All grant recipients are required to sign a contract and complete additional documentation to accept the award.
  • The project activity must take place between January and May.
  • The primary project student leader and adviser must participate in monthly conference calls with AAUW staff between January and May. Participant schedules are accommodated as much as possible. Project leaders and additional team members must also participate in an initial conference call with AAUW staff in January 2017. CAP teams may schedule additional individual calls with AAUW staff throughout the grant cycle.
  • CAP teams are expected to send AAUW staff updates throughout the CAP grant cycle, including photos, press releases, and media coverage.
  • Teams must submit a preliminary report detailing their progress in March in order to receive their second round of grant funds.
  • At least one representative from each team must attend the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders in the Washington, D.C., area in June to present on the team’s project. AAUW will cover travel and conference costs for one representative. Please choose a student team member as the representative who will attend NCCWSL. Teams work with AAUW staff to coordinate attendance at the conference. Your representative participates in a presentation planning conference call at least one month before the conference.
  • Teams must submit a final report on their Campus Action Project. Additionally, teams must also submit their final budgets, receipts, marketing materials, and any supplemental materials to AAUW staff.

Each CAP team receives a grant of $1,000–5,000.

  • The grant is payable by AAUW to the participating campus and mailed to the project adviser (unless otherwise indicated) in two payments.
    • CAP teams receive the first half of the funds in December 2015, after AAUW receives the signed contract.
    • CAP teams receive the second half of the funds once they submit a preliminary report in March.
  • Receipts and any unspent funds must be returned to AAUW in June.

Thank you for your interest in AAUW’s Campus Leadership Programs. If you have questions about the Campus Action Project grants, contact or 202.785.7737.