Mini-Grant Opportunities

Use the links below to explore and apply for different types of funding and prizes available to CSU faculty, staff and students in support of Basic Needs and Student Well-Being.

Faculty & Campus Opportunities


Campus Community Gardens
Applications due: 12/21/2018

Small-Scale Faculty Research Funding
Proposals due: 12/20/2018


​​Learn More


Student Opportunities


Student Research Projects
Applications due: 12/21/2018

Cooking Video Contest
Submissions due: 1/25/2019


​​Learn More



Faculty & Campus Opportunities


Campus Community Garden(s)

10 Stipends: $3,000 each
Deadline for submissions: December 21, 2018

The CSU is in the ongoing process of establishing a variety of ways to help food-insecure students get access to a variety of nutritional resources. The Basic Needs Initiative will distribute 10 awards for campus community garden projects at the CSU. Campuses are encouraged to apply for $3,000 stipends to help with the enhancement of a current campus community garden, and/or the development of a campus community garden.

Stipends may be used to provide educational opportunities (curriculum development or implementation) to students on a variety of garden topics, including:

  • how to grow foods
  • exploratory hands-on learning
  • farm-to-table concepts
  • composting
  • food access
  • sustainability

To be considered for funding, campuses must have the space to add-on to an existing garden area or the space to develop a garden from infancy. Gardens can be located on campus grounds (including areas adjacent to the campus (i.e. campus-owed/partnered housing) or university-owned lots. Gardens can be cultivated in raised beds or directly in the ground. 

Garden projects will need to be completed during the 2018-19 academic year and awardees will be required to submit an end-of-project reporting summary. 

Campus departments that receive awards will need to provide both their fiscal agent contact and PeopleSoft Chartfield string [number] so that funds can be distributed directly to that department.

Use this template as a draft, then copy and paste answers into the online submission form.

Complete the online submission form



Small-Scale Faculty Research Funding

10 Awards: $15,000 each
Deadline for submissions: December 20, 2018

The California State University is a national leader in studying and addressing the problem of food and housing insecurity in higher education, and CSU campuses are committed to providing resources for local students experiencing challenges meeting their basic needs. 

The Basic Needs Initiative, established in 2016, was created to give systemwide preeminence to holistic well-being and student success by meeting students ‘where they’re at…’, and to institutionalize a framework of services and partnerships to ensure that all students have support and access to the resources they need to succeed. 

In an effort to assess the impact of basic needs programs and services, the CSU will fund multiple small-scale research projects to evaluate the process and/or implementation of these programs. 

Projects should be CSU faculty-led with support from CSU student researchers. They will focus on campus (and/or off-campus partnerships) that support access to well-being and basic needs resources (e.g., food insecurity, homelessness/housing insecurity, mental health, health equity and health as a social justice issue). Awards are available for 10 projects, up to $15,000 each. 

The evaluation process for all projects should be informed by student input and full participation. 

The principal investigator will be responsible for the successful execution and timely completion of the proposed research. Awardees must submit the following: 

  • A policy brief (four pages or less) accessible to a general public readership for the CSU Basic Needs website, or an academic working white paper, and/or a document ready for journal submission.
  • A final report providing a two-page summary of project results, as well as publications, external funding leveraged or applied for, and presentations based on the research.
  • A presentation of research at a CSU-based meeting and/or conference. 

Key Dates & Deadlines: 

  • Proposals Due: December 20, 2018 
  • Funded Projects Start: February 2019
  • Expenditure of Grant Funds Due: December 31, 2019 
  • Final Report Due: March 1, 2020

Awarded faculty will receive dollars through CPO directly to their campus department. 


Eligible expenditures include:

  • Directly related travel and accommodation.
  • Faculty stipend and/or release time. (Note: Requests for release time during the academic year must be approved by the relevant dean and be justified in terms of the proposed research objective. The request and approval for course release should be part of the application packet.)  Faculty with 12-month appointments may charge their grant-related effort with approval of their chair.
  • Salary support for student research assistants and other student wages.
  • Research incentive for participants.
  • Ethnographic (qualitative) and survey research (including software, data sets, etc.).
  • Materials and supplies. 

Ineligible expenses include:

  • Large equipment expenditures (greater than $500). 
  • Expenditures supplementing or offsetting direct or indirect costs of related projects.
  • Indirect costs. 

Note: Conservative and cost-effective budgets are strongly encouraged. Student participant funding must be included in all projects. Additionally, any publication or creative endeavor arising from this work should acknowledge support from the CSU Office of the Chancellor. Please submit copies of publications to the grant contact.

Use this template as a draft, then copy and paste answers into the online submission form.

Complete the online submission form



Student Opportunities



Student Research Projects

Up to four (4) awards are available for up to $2,500 each
Up to ten (10) awards are available for up to $1,000 each
Deadline for submissions: December 21, 2018

Through the Basic Needs Initiative, the Office of the Chancellor is building on the work performed at the campus level to create a systemwide framework of services and partnerships to ensure that all students have access to the resources they need.

CSU students are eligible to receive awards up to $2,500 for each student-led project focused on food and housing insecurity.

The funding will support projects focused on student success and its intersection with students’ well-being. Priority will be given to projects focused on student wellness, including but not limited to:

  • Physical health
  • Mental health
  • Food insecurity
  • Homelessness/housing insecurity
  • Health equity
  • Health as a social justice issue

Students must work with a CSU volunteer faculty sponsor (non-paid) to provide oversight of the project. Projects can include the development of a product, such as the creation of a curriculum or a plan, to address well-being and/or basic needs in non-traditional ways.

Awardees will be asked to report results from their project in both poster and written format (template to be provided). Project results may be posted on the CSU Basic Needs website, and students will present their results (using PowerPoint format) during an upcoming event (e.g., live webinar, conference presentation, Board of Trustees meeting, etc.).


Student eligibility requirements:

  1. Completed grant application (including a letter from faculty sponsor)
  2. Enrolled at a CSU campus at least half-time during spring 2019
  3. Satisfactory academic progress and good standing
Projects (and required reporting) must be completed before December 31, 2019.

Faculty should encourage students who already are doing similar work via on-campus work-study, internships, or as a capstone/thesis project to apply for this funding.


Please read: Federal and state regulations require that we consider all resources when determining eligibility for financial aid. As a result, receipt of scholarship awards may affect eligibility for financial aid.

In most cases, scholarships will fulfill unmet need. In some cases loans, federal work study, or other aid programs will be adjusted to adhere to federal and state awarding requirements. The CSU makes every attempt to preserve need-based grant aid already awarded.

Student awards and payments will be routed through the Office of Financial Aid, and into the student’s account. Student(s) must be a California Resident or eligible AB540.

Use this template as a draft, then copy and paste answers into the online submission form.

Complete the online submission form



Cooking Video Contest

Up to twelve (12) awards: $150 each
Deadline for submissions: January 25, 2019

The California State University is committed to providing innovative student support to improve access to basic needs resources. 

Through the Basic Needs Initiative, students will have a chance to win prize money for the best-produced and most creative 1- to 2-minute “Buzzfeed-style” how-to cooking video that teaches students how to prepare healthy, inexpensive meals using everyday, low-cost or no-cost grocery and pantry items, including food purchased via CalFresh benefits. 

NOTE: By submitting your video, you are granting permission for the CSU to use the content for promotional purposes, including but not limited to use on CSU-owned websites and social media channels. 

The contest is open to students enrolled across the CSU system. Students must be enrolled at least half-time on their respective campus, and be in good academic standing.

For U.S. and resident students, all prizes must be reported by the University to the IRS (Form 1099-MISC) if total prizes to the student in the relevant year are $600 or greater. It is the responsibility of all prize recipients, regardless of the amount of the prize, to report the taxable prize received to the IRS on their personal income tax returns. Students should consult a tax specialist to determine the tax implications specific to their individual situation.

For nonresident (NRA) students, the University is required to withhold 30% tax on the full amount of the prize. The prize amount will be reported to the IRS and to the student on Form 1042-S.

Use this template as a draft, then copy and paste answers into the online submission form.