Apply for a LEAP Grant!

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LEAP Grants

We have a new application system! If you are just starting your application, click the "Access Application Site" link below. You will be taken to an external application website to submit your materials. The guidelines have not changed, so you can use the text below to prepare.

If you have already written your application following the old instructions below, don't panic. For the September round, you can still email a document and complete the online cover page as before.

Access Application Site

Application Checklist

We need a complete application packet to consider you for a LEAP Grant:

  1. Online cover page
  2. Email attachment of your project proposal (as a Word or PDF document) sent to
  3. For out of state travel only (other than conferences, workshops, and trainings), a letter of commitment from your community partner

Save your proposal using the naming formula "First name" plus "Last name" plus "Grant". For instance, John Doe Grant.docx

Proposal Guidelines

Your proposal should specify the following:

Demographic information:

  • Applicant name
  • MIT ID number
  • If you are applying as part of a group, list the other MIT students

Funding total and categories
Indicate what you are requesting funding for (you may select more than one):

  • Materials
  • Conference, workshop, or training
  • Event
  • Travel
  • How much are you requesting in total

Service Dates
When will the proposed service, learning, or travel start? How long will it last?
You may submit a single application for recurring service activities during a single semester or break, but be clear about how many times the activity will take place.

Abstract (1 paragraph)
Summarize your application in one paragraph.

Project Description (1-2 pages)
Describe the community you are serving, the needs you are addressing, and how you will do this.

  • Give us the details, emphasizing what service you plan to provide, to whom, and how.  Be specific: we’re looking for a thoughtful, realistic plan and timeline.
  • Tell us what preparation you’ve done or are planning to do.  What connections do you have in the community? How can you function effectively there?  What will you do ahead of time to make the work a success?
  • Explain what you bring in terms of knowledge, skills, experience, ingenuity, etc.
  • What’s your motivation? Why this project? What do you hope to learn?
  • Describe the intended outcomes of the project for the community and for the MIT students involved. How will you know if you’ve achieved your goals?

For conference, workshop, or training expenses only:

  • Explain what you plan to learn, whom you hope to meet, and how this will enhance your future service work.
  • If you are attending as a representative of a student service group, explain how you will share what you learn with the group.
  • Preference will be given to applications that make a clear link between the learning opportunities and a planned or on-going service activity.

Safety and cultural impact statement
Outline your safety considerations for the project. If you are planning a project in a relatively high-risk location, you will need a particularly strong safety plan and work plan.

  • What are the main safety issues in the location where you will be working?
  • What steps will you take to prioritize your safety there and what resources have you identified to help you stay safe?
  • Does the project work itself pose any hazard to you? (For instance, using power tools or hazardous substances).
  • What steps will you take to mitigate these hazards?
  • Does your project have any safety implications for the community you are serving and how will you address these?

Help us to understand how the cultural and social context will affect your project and how you can prepare for this. If you are working in your hometown or here in Cambridge, you may still be dealing with communities that are unfamiliar to you. And, grappling with social justice issues in a familiar community can be uncomfortable.

  • What cultural or social issues do you anticipate affecting this project?
  • How might you prepare yourself for working in this particular context?

Be clear about your project costs and what you want the LEAP Grant to fund.

  • Create a chart that tells us your anticipated expenses and how you calculated them (e.g. item expense times number of items)
  • Indicate which items you hope to fund with the LEAP Grant. Remember, these Grants may only be used for the following expense types:
    • Materials
    • Conferences, workshops, and trainings
    • Events
    • Travel
  • Include shipping costs and applicable taxes (MIT is tax exempt in many circumstances
  • List anticipated and secured funding sources
  • If you are requesting funds for an established group, you should also include general financial information for your group: your overall budget including expenses, sources, and unspent funds
  • If you are requesting funds for a philanthropy event, include a realistic estimate of how much the event will raise. Top tip: the grant you are requesting should be for significantly LESS than the amount you intend to raise through the event.

If your costs are modest, you may receive full funding from a LEAP Grant. However, in many cases a LEAP Grant only provides partial or seed funding. For larger requests, preference will be given to applicants who are pursuing multiple funding sources. There are many other funding sources on campus, and many of them are listed here:

If you receive funding from other sources after applying to the LEAP Grants program, we require that you notify us of this and we may make appropriate modifications in consultation with you.

For out-of-state travel only: letter of commitment from community partner

If you are requesting funds to travel out of state for your service work (other than a conference, workshop, or training), we need someone in the community or organization you will be working with to send an email or letter confirming that your proposed project is a good match for local community needs and that they will support your work and personal wellbeing. This community partner could be a staff member at a formal organization you will be working with, an individual who is working at a more grassroots level to address community challenges, or a family member or personal contact in the community who understands local needs and will help you to explore them.

Please send your community partner the guidelines below and ask them to submit their letter by email to Alison Hynd at by the monthly deadline of the first Wednesday of the month at noon.

Guidelines for community partners: Thank you for writing a letter of support for a LEAP Grant proposal. LEAP Grants are awarded to MIT students to help them carry out a service project or philanthropy event. Please discuss the project with the student who is applying for this grant before committing to supporting their work. Your letter should include the following basic information:

  1. Student’s name
  2. Name of the organization or community you represent
  3. Your position in the organization or community
  4. Your phone number and email address

Please describe:

  1. The student’s proposed project and its usefulness to your organization or community.
  2. Ways that you can help the student(s) learn about your organization or community and the issues they are hoping to explore.
  3. Your commitment to supporting the student with project advice and useful local knowledge where appropriate.


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