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How can I apply for a CSF grant?


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Please note that the Board meeting schedule is subject to change.  You are welcome to check with csf-staff@mit.edu if you have questions or concerns.

You may want to consider applying in an earlier cycle than required so you will know in advance whether you have secured funds for your public service initiative or project.

Eligibility and Focus

MIT staff, graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, and retirees are eligible to apply for CSF grants to support their personal public service initiatives, which include programs that they run or would like to start, or projects that they want to work on that enhance the public service work of an existing organization or school.

CSF funding is seed funding or project funding: it provides only short-term support. It can help you fill a short-term need, build an enhancement that is self-sustaining, or launch a new organization that will be supported by other sources in the long term. It is possible to reapply for additional CSF funding several times if funds are needed, but the Board will not consider applications for funding beyond a three-year period, and they will typically only supply partial funding within that period for ongoing work.

MIT individuals and student groups are eligible for CSF support, but MIT departments, labs, centers, and offices should seek funding from other sources. Likewise, established student groups will only be eligible for support for their group’s established community service endeavors for a three-year period.  The Community Service Fund Board of Trustees wants to see public service initiatives become independently sustainable. If a student or student group starts a new public service initiative, that new initiative can be considered within a new funding timeline.

The CSF Board emphasizes service to local communities surrounding the Institute. It may also support partial funding for effectively designed public service initiatives to more distant communities.

Have questions? Need help formulating a plan? Contact csf-staff@mit.edu for answers, advice, and consultation.

Local organizations seeking funding support may contact the MIT Office of Government and Community Relations.

Application Instructions

Cover Page

  • Name of applicant
  • Affiliation
    • Staff and faculty should include their title and department affiliation
    • Students should include class year (e.g. 2013 or Masters 2013) and major
    • Applicants for group grants should include the group’s name and their role in the group, along with a brief description of the group: purpose, website (optional), number of members total, number of members involved in the initiative or project
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Address
  • Total amount requested
  • One-paragraph abstract


  • Who will be served? Describe the needs of the specific community or group or sector that you will address with your proposed service.
  • Describe the service you will provide. Give us as detailed a plan as you can, and feel free to tell us where you need help in figuring things out. Include information about who, what, where, when, and how. Talk about outcomes and results.
  • Tell us about any preparation you’ve already done or will do, and any follow-up plans that you may have.
  • Explain any precautions or safety measures you think are necessary, for you or the people you want to serve.
  • Talk about how the service might contribute to your personal goals.  Why do you want to do this?  What makes it meaningful to you?
  • Estimate the term of this work.  Are you aiming to provide a one-time service or an on-going one?  If the latter, talk about the timeline and plans for sustainability.


  • We’re interested in the whole budget, not just our proposed part. Create a chart that tells us your anticipated expenses, how you calculated them (e.g. item expense times number of items), and anticipated or actual sources. 
  • If you are requesting a grant for an established group, you should also include general financial information for your group: your overall budget including expenses, sources, and unspent funds.

Submission Instructions

Email your application as a .pdf file to csf-proposal@mit.edu  with "CSF Grant Application" in the subject line. If you do not receive a response within a week, please contact csf-staff@mit.edu to inquire whether your proposal was received.

NOTE: CSF Grants come with some responsibilities, which we’ll explain if you are offered funding. If you’re curious now, just ask.