Santander Urban Impact Microgrant Program

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The Santander Urban Impact Microgrant Program has concluded with the 2017-18 cohort. Please stay tuned to the Community Service Center via our newsletter and website for future microgrant opportunities, and read more about our two grantee cohorts.

The Santander Urban Impact Microgrant Program was developed to spark creativity, foster innovation, and provide Boston University students with seed funding to support their good ideas. The program will provide micro-grants of up to $3,000 to BU students to launch projects in the City of Boston that touch on the following areas:

  • Engaging Children, Youth, and Teens

  • Urbanization (Addressing challenges in population growth, transportation, and cost of living)

  • Race, Diversity, and Pluralism

  • Smart City (Using technology to improve delivery of resources and services to citizens)

  • Urban Public Health

Partnership with the City of Boston and commitment to its citizens and diverse neighborhoods has long been woven into the fabric of BU. Our students regularly volunteer in the community and many have used the city as a living laboratory to try out their novel ideas, inventions, and even new businesses. We want to push them to work with the community and community partners to develop real applications for academic learning rather than making a living, breathing place with real people and real stakes seem like a sandbox.

Santander shares BU’s commitment to the City of Boston and through this pioneering Urban Impact Microgrant Program, BU students now have financial support to get involved and put their great ideas to work for Boston and its citizens and communities.


Sounds cool, who can participate?

All Boston University students in degree-granting programs and in good academic standing are eligible to apply. Teams of students and teams of students and community partners are welcome, but grand funds must be requested and handled by BU students.


What should my proposal include?

Their project proposals must meet the following criteria to be considered for a grant:

  1. Projects must aim to make a clear impact in one of the focus areas listed above.

  2. Projects must either take place off the BU Campus (i.e. within the City of Boston), invite Boston residents to participate in an activity or event on the BU Campus, or demonstrate specific relevance to the City of Boston – addressing community-identified challenges and opportunities (such as a project involving analysis of data regarding the City of Boston).

  3. Strong grant proposals will have letters of agreement/memos of understanding from community partners or leaders with whom they intend to work.

  4. Projects should be scaled in such a way that an April 2017 completion date is viable. Plans for the program to be sustained beyond the availability of grant monies are encouraged.


What will being a grantee look like?

  1. Grant funds must be used on goods and services that directly support the project. Approvable expenses include: presenters and performers for events; space, food/drink, and technology for events; marketing materials, including websites, photography, and videography; workshop or program supplies; gift cards for research participants; and other approvable goods and services. 

  2. Grant funds may not be used as payment for Boston University students or staff, including grantees.

  3. We are not able to front funds for grant projects. We are able to reimburse grantees for expenditures, make supply purchases, pay invoices to vendors, pay speakers and presenters directly, and reserve space and catering on campus. 

  4. Grantees must attend two celebratory grantee events: a welcome program in December, and a end-of-year event in April.

  5. Grantees must submit two blog posts for the Community Service Center and Dean of Students: an introductory post outlining who is involved in the project and why the project matters due in December, and a “midterm” post discussing progress, victories, and setbacks due in early March.

  6. Grantees must submit a summary of results after completion of the project. This summary will be shared both with the BU Dean of Students Office and Santander. Summaries will include a brief written report (no longer than one page) and a multi-media presentation, which may include but not is limited to: video, Power Point, photography, a poster presentation, public presentation, documentary, website, or blog.

  7. Grantees will be encouraged to stay in touch with the program, attending future events and supporting future grantees.


I have questions…

You can send an email to Zach Hobbs, Director of the Community Service Center at


Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 4.37.03 PMThe Santander Urban Impact Microgrant Program is made possible by the generous support of Santander Bank, in collaboration with the Boston University Dean of Students and Community Service Center.