AAUW Campus Action Project Grant Instructions

AAUW Campus Action Project (CAP) grants will provide 10–12 campus teams of students, faculty, and staff with up to $5,000 to promote women’s leadership and gender equity in the spring of 2018. Previous CAP teams have promoted AAUW’s mission through artistic visual campaigns, networking events, mentorship programs, and engaging on-campus speakers. However you decide to take action, AAUW wants to help you close the gender leadership gap on campus and beyond. Applications due October 2, 2017. 

Apply for a 201718 AAUW CAP grant


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What is the gender leadership gap?

In short, women are much less likely than men to hold leadership positions in almost every field, and women of color are even less likely than white women to hold those leadership positions. But sex and race discrimination aren’t the only barriers holding women back: Hostile work environments, negative stereotypes about women in leadership, and unconscious or implicit bias also keep women out of the top spots.

Why should we care?

Having gender equality at the top benefits everyone. It’s good for both men and women to shift stereotypical ideas around gender roles. It’s good for families, whether they rely on women as the sole breadwinners or share a two-earner income. It’s good for businesses to draw on the creativity of a diverse staff and recognize the purchasing power of women. It’s good for the country because the more diverse the pool, the more talented our leaders will be.

What can I do to close the gap?

The leadership gender gap is persistent and pervasive but solvable. We can take many steps as individuals, employers, and policy makers to create significant change. Taking action in your community to encourage and empower women leaders is just one way to change the status quo.

Application Components and Instructions

Please read the following information carefully before filling out the application.

  • The application is an online form. Fill out the application in a Word document beforehand to prevent any changes that may be lost due to poor internet connection. Remember to adhere to the specified word limit for each section.
  • Submit the online CAP application form by 11:59 p.m. PT on Monday, October 2. Applicants will be notified of the grant award decisions by mid-November.

Section 1 — Understand Grant Requirements and Expectations

Grantees must fulfill the following requirements.

  • I understand that AAUW will not make any exceptions to the application deadline for any reason, including problems with technology or time zones.
  • All grant recipients are required to sign a contract and complete additional documentation in order to accept the award.
  • Some colleges and universities require external grant funds to be administered by a central office. Please check with the appropriate office on your campus to learn about your school’s grant fund administration policy and include that information with your application.
  • AAUW will not fund any activity beyond May 31, 2018.
  • CAP teams must participate in three conference calls during the school year with AAUW staff.
  • CAP teams must send AAUW staff updates throughout the CAP grant cycle about the progress of the project, including photos, participation data, press releases, media coverage, and evaluation/feedback.
  • CAP teams receive the first disbursement of funds in December 2017 after AAUW receives the signed contract accepting the award and agreeing to the terms of use for the grant funds.
  • CAP teams must submit a mid-grant report to receive the second disbursement of funds.
  • CAP teams must submit a final project report, final budget, all receipts, and promotional materials to AAUW by Sunday, June 10, 2018, in order to receive the final disbursement of funds. Any unused grant money should be sent to AAUW by June 30, 2018.

Section 2 — Form Your Team

  • Applicants must be affiliated with an accredited, degree-granting college or university. Priority consideration is given to teams from AAUW college/university member institutions or AAUW student organizations.
  • Teams must identify a student or faculty or staff member to serve as the project leader. The project leader will be the contact person for award notification, reporting, publicity, and other grant-related activities.
  • We strongly advise choosing an additional project adviser who can assume leadership of the project should the primary project adviser be unable to continue.
  • If the project is led by a student, the team must identify a faculty member or staff professional to serve as the project adviser. This person will assume fiscal responsibility for the project.
  • Teams can be made up of undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty or campus professionals. AAUW recommends recruiting as many team members as possible to bring in new ideas and share the workload.
  • For additional support, CAP teams may choose to reach out to a local AAUW branch and ask a member to serve as their project’s AAUW liaison. If you’re having trouble connecting, email branchrelations@aauw.org for assistance.

Section 3 — Plan Your Project

Projects should promote women in leadership and empower women and girls. Projects themes may focus on closing the gender leadership gap in a specific profession, such as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) or politics, or on the lack of women leaders across all fields.

You may use the following project suggestions to guide your proposals, but don’t let them limit your creativity. Consider collaborating with relevant student organizations, academic departments, and student engagement offices to maximize your project’s reach.

  1. Improve the environment for women in leadership. Partner with your student government or any academic departments in which women are underrepresented to evaluate and improve the environment for women on your campus. For example, projects could focus on improving the retention and satisfaction of women in the department or encouraging first- and second-year students to pursue leadership roles on campus and beyond.
  1. Create a visual campaign. Create a video or poster series to highlight why having gender equality at the top benefits everyone. Develop eye-catching visuals or a social media campaign using a hashtag to raise awareness about this existing problem throughout your The creation of an online presence is encouraged whenever possible to increase the reach of the project.
  1. Educate. Organize events (such as panels or speaker series) on campus that raise awareness about the gender leadership gap.
  1. Form discussion groups. Talk about it! Are all women represented in leadership on your campus? How can your campus better support women leaders? Develop a project that creates a space for dialogue so you can facilitate a meaningful conversation around gender bias.
  1. Begin a mentorship program. When young girls are introduced to empowering women role models they can picture themselves in leadership roles. Introduce girls from your local community to current women leadership on campus or connect students at your school to women already in the workforce.

If these suggestions do not fit your campus’ needs, create an innovative project of your own that addresses the gender leadership gap!

Section 4 — Make Your Budget

Your application must include an itemized budget of up to $5,000 for the project and a brief budget narrative. Funds are available for, but not limited to, the following project-related expense categories:

  • Transportation and professional fees or honoraria for speakers
  • Meals, food, or beverages for project-related activities
  • Advertising, publicity, or graphic design expenses
  • Curriculum development
  • Equipment purchases
  • Temporary hourly clerical help
  • Local field trips or travel necessary to project success
  • Postage, shipping, or courier service
  • Photocopying or duplicating
  • Office supplies
  • Audiovisual materials
  • Project-related telephone costs

Funds cannot be used for

  • AAUW salary negotiation workshops
  • Travel or honoraria for AAUW staff
  • Salaries or stipends for anyone on the Campus Action Project team
  • Tuition
  • Higher education scholarships for students or participants
  • Building funds, construction, or renovations
  • Overhead or general operating expenses for any organization
  • Personal expenses, shelter, life insurance, or medical/health insurance
  • Previous expenditures, deficits, or loans
  • Creating or providing grants to other organizations
  • Copyright or attorney fees
  • Fundraising activities
  • Conference attendance fees or costs
  • Lobbying or partisan activities
  • Religious purposes

Selection Criteria

CAP proposals will be evaluated according to the following six criteria.

  1. Project description. The goals, project activities, and anticipated outcomes of the project are thoughtful and stated clearly. Proposals demonstrate potential for achievement. The target audience is identified and the project provides opportunities for student leadership development.
  2. Relevance. The project theme and goals are aligned with AAUW’s mission, specifically encouraging and empowering women and girls to pursue leadership positions.
  3. Feasibility. The project time line is realistic and the team has the capacity to complete the project within the specified time frame. The desired outcomes and goals are reasonable given the scope of the project and the CAP team is committed to the project.
  4. Outreach and inclusion. The project is intentional about reaching a diverse group of students. The CAP team is intentional about making this project accessible to all students and community members. The project has the potential to engage the target audiences and the wider campus community. The project will be actively promoted and shared.
  5. Evaluation. The proposal includes a plan to measure or record outcomes. (Specifics regarding reach are desirable.)
  6. Budget. The budget request is thorough and closely aligned to project activities. A reasonable and logical justification for each item of the budget is provided. Matching funds and in-kind contributions demonstrate project support (though extra funds are not required).


October 2, 2017
Proposals due by 11:59 p.m. PT.

Mid-November, 2017
Applicants notified of award decisions by email.

December 8, 2017
Signed contracts due to AAUW by fax or email. After receiving the signed contract, AAUW disburses first half of funds.

March 11, 2018
Deadline for CAP teams to submit mid-grant report. After receiving the report, AAUW mails second disbursement of funds.

May 31, 2018
All projects must be completed.

June 11, 2018
CAP teams submit final project evaluations, marketing materials, final budget, and receipts in order to receive last disbursement of funds.

June 30, 2018
Any unspent funds must be returned to AAUW.

Apply for a 201718 AAUW CAP grant

If you have questions about CAP grants, contact leadership@aauw.org or 202.785.7737.