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Special Events Grant Program

The annual Special Events grant program seeks to support new and ongoing activities at the University of Minnesota that promote profound understanding of the human condition, excellence, innovation, collaboration, interdisciplinary dialogue, and greater public engagement with the University. A maximum of $100,000 will be awarded to deserving proposals.

Awards rarely will be granted for traditional academic symposia or conferences—these types of events must be innovative and include a significant public outreach or engagement component. It is recommended, but not required, that applicants coordinate their proposal with their department chairs.

The awards are very competitive and applicants are encouraged to carefully follow the guidelines and requirements below.

Eligibility for Special Events grants

Applicants for Imagine Fund Special Events grants must be tenured or tenure-track faculty in the University of Minnesota (system-wide). Applications also will be accepted from arts, humanities, and design faculty holding full-time (100%) salaried continuous fixed-term appointments who are annually evaluated like tenured and tenure-track faculty (with substantially similar expectations for research accomplishments, independence, and ability to secure external funding).

Note that eligibility does not include: visiting faculty, students pursuing a Ph.D., non-salaried faculty appointment type W or employees with T appointments or A appointments.

Attention will be paid to ensure a representative proportion of non-tenured/tenure-track faculty applicants receive these awards. Only one application per faculty member is permitted.

Application Period and Deadlines


As a general rule, proposals must be for events occurring at least six months from the application deadline, except for proposals that represent exceptional opportunities with committed funds and detailed planning already in place.


Detailed and clearly articulated plans will receive preferential treatment. It is understood that some proposals for events in the early stages of development may lack confirmed participants and funding, but these plans should contain a timeline and articulate a clear plan for executing the event. If a proposal seeks funding for recurring funds to support events in multiple years, this proposal must contain a detailed plan to assess and report on the success of the first year’s event(s). The Imagine Fund Advisory Committee will review these reports before recurring funds will be released for subsequent years.


All proposals must contain an effective and significant community engagement strategy designed to attract the larger public’s attention and participation.


A detailed budget plan must be submitted with a proposal. Additional funding sources are encouraged but not necessary for a successful proposal. Administrative costs should not exceed more than 25 percent of any proposed budget. This endowment’s purpose is to support the substance of proposed events. As a result, entertainment and hospitality costs should be kept to a minimum in any proposal and are generally considered the responsibility of the department(s) in which the organizers are housed. The budget should be limited in length to 300 words.

Grant Size

Generally, grants range between $5,000-$10,000, but proposals beyond that range which represent exceptional opportunities--in terms of ideas, innovation, collaboration, interdisciplinary exchange, public engagement, and conscientious planning--will be considered by the committee. The award may be extended (upon reapplication and reconsideration by the committee) for up to two years after the first year of new proposed event, and for up to two years for already existing events.

Proposal Requirements

In addition to some basic contact information and an accurate budget as discussed above, the following is required on the application form:

  • Additional funding sources, if any (including a description of such funds, limited to 150 words)
  • Event abstract (limited to 300 words)
  • Event description (limited to 300 words)
  • Organization mission and history (limited to 150 words)
  • Impact statement (limited to 300 words)

Proposals for recurring funds should contain:

  • in the case of new events, a detailed plan for how to assess and report on the success and impact of the first year’s event(s). Reports will not be required after the second year in these cases.
  • in the case of already existing events, a clear and detailed report on the success and impact of the events that have already occurred.
  • Your assessment or reporting plan should be limited in length to 300 words.

For more information, please contact Erin Slattengren.

Key Dates

Special Events: Round 1

Applications open: Mon, 10/05/2020
Applications close: Mon, 11/30/2020

Annual Faculty Award

Applications open: Mon, 10/05/2020
Applications close: Mon, 01/18/2021

ADH Chair Position

Applications open: Mon, 10/05/2020
Applications close: Fri, 01/22/2021