New grant program provides funds to students for community service projects

A Brandeis student tutors a youngster from Waltham at Prospect Hill.
Beginning this fall, the Rich/Collins Community Leadership and Impact Fellowship (CLIF) will provide Brandeis undergraduates with funding to design and implement their own community service projects. Brandeis students with ideas for local service and impact projects are encouraged to apply to receive a grant of up to $5,000 and become part of the inaugural CLIF cohort.

Applicants must submit a proposal that outlines a realistic and sustainable project that meets a significant community need, as well as an evaluation process to measure its impact. The experience of developing and managing their own project is designed to help students not only give back, but become community leaders themselves. The deadline for applications is Nov. 9.

The program, spearheaded by married alumni Mariah Rich Collins ’10 and James Collins ’09, is modeled after one established at Rice University by Mariah’s grandparents, Hilda and Hershel Rich, and funding and support comes from the Rich/Collins family, including Sharon Rich and Nancy Reed, Renie Rich Carniol, and Mariah and James.

“The skill set these students will develop will continue to benefit them long after they graduate from Brandeis,” James Collins explained.

“It’s about empowering students to figure out what problems the community is facing and address them,” Mariah Rich Collins added.

During their time at Brandeis, Mariah and James formed a lasting bond with the local community. In keeping with this spirit, CLIF projects must focus on the Waltham or greater Boston area, enabling students to understand the needs of the local community and see firsthand the impact of their work.

Accepted applicants will form a cohort, a model that will allow students to connect, brainstorm and share ideas throughout the year. Cohorts will also receive ongoing training on a variety of relevant topics, such as grant writing and community asset mapping.

Lucas Malo, Brandeis’ director of community service, said he is “beyond excited” about the CLIF program. “This will allow local organizations to have their needs met by someone receiving resources and guidance, and it’s another way for Brandeis to give back to the local community.”

Applicants will be chosen in November by a selection committee of students, faculty, staff and members of the Waltham community.

Categories: Alumni, Student Life

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