We recognize that civic engagement looks a lot different right now than it used to. While we all do our part to respond to the ongoing pandemic, Science Rising is also shifting its efforts to be responsive to what people need to engage their communities now—and what they need to develop the skills to be able to effectively engage in the future.
To help support these efforts, Science Rising has launched the Science Rising Challenge Fund for community advocates and organizations. Any individual or group can apply to the fund for $250, $500, or $1000 of financial support to use for non-partisan online events, activities, tools, or trainings that will increase voter turnout or inspire increased civic engagement. To minimize health risks to our communities and help reduce the spread of coronavirus, Science Rising is actively discouraging in-person events and group gatherings for the foreseeable future.
Science Rising supports STEM students, professionals, and activists as they build the science advocacy movement. As we embrace this new era of physical distancing and online social connection, we are looking to support creative new approaches for reaching people online adn ensuring sure they have the information and resources they need to register, vote, and participate in our democracy. Dream big—what are ways that you can reach your community on social media, on new online platforms, or on their phones?
If you are committed to helping people engage in our democracy, we encourage you to apply. We particularly want to support efforts that will have a long-term impact and continue to help build the science advocacy movement beyond 2020.
Who can apply
Applications are open to any individual or nonpartisan group or organization interested in organizing an online Science Rising activity, event, or project and being part of the Science Rising movement. People who are looking for funding for skills-building or leadership development trainings that will support future civic engagement work are also encouraged to apply.
Individuals or organizations/groups can apply to receive grants of $250, $500, or $1000.
What kind of events and activities are eligible?
All funded projects must be related to Science Rising’s goal to elevate the role of science in the decision-making processes of our democracy, especially at the intersection of science, justice, and equity. Online events and activities should focus on amplifying community voices and efforts in the US and must be open to the public.
The Science Rising Challenge Fund is managed and distributed by the Union of Concerned Scientists, a 501(c)(3) organization. Accordingly, all projects funded in whole or in part by Science Rising must be strictly non-partisan and must not be conducted for the purpose or with the effect of favoring a particular candidate or party over another.
Some examples for how funds can be used include:
- Online tools or audio/visual equipment to support virtual meetings, events, and activities
- Registration fees for trainings that support learning new skills, tactics, or leadership development
- Support for advertising, promotion, or recruitment of online efforts (including digital or print advertising)
- Honoraria for trainers, speakers, or community voices at an online event
- Support for organizing an online town hall, community meeting, or public event where candidates from all parties are invited; whether a part of a local, state, or national race.
- Support for online voter registration activities or mail-in voting activities
Priority will be given to proposals that:
- Are led by STEM undergraduate and graduate students.
- Are focused on civic engagement in our democracy, voting rights, equity and justice, and/or science advocacy.
- Work with impacted communities or justice-based groups.
Review our criteria and the core principles of Science Rising. We may require individuals and organizations/groups to have a fiscal sponsor with a bank account. If you have any questions on fiscal sponsorship, email Raena Garcia at email@example.com.
Commitments of grant recipients
Recipients will be asked to report back on the use of the funds and be willing to discuss their success with the Science Rising team.
All activities should be documented, either through photos, video, social media, or write-up.
Online events and activities should be submitted to the Science Rising events page so that people in your community can join.
How to apply?
The Round 1 deadline is April 30, 2020. We hope to offer multiple rounds of funding in 2020.
Notification of Awards: Recipients will be notified around 2 weeks after the application deadline.