Advancing Community- Engaged (ACE) Student Scholars Grants

If you plan to apply for an ACE Grant, please review the Request for Proposals (RFP) to help you prepare your application.

Read RFP

All students are invited to submit proposals for community-engaged research or creative work that is designed to:

  • Improve daily living
  • Create economic opportunities in our local and/or global communities
  • Facilitate deliberation and action for the public good

ACE Grant awardees are CCESL Student Scholars and will be assigned a mentor from CCESL’s Community-Engaged Fellows program. Awardees also receive technical training assistance from the DU Grand Challenges Graduate Lead and will be required to submit an ePortfolio at the end that documents their learning and project outcomes.

Community-engaged research and creative work projects are co-developed with community partners. Collaboration between students and partners should be mutually beneficial and reciprocal. For example, a project might answer a research question that is important to the student researcher while also meeting a need that is important to the community. Potential partners include nonprofits, grassroots organizations, government agencies or entrepreneurs and businesses.


Important Dates

ACE Grant proposals are accepted on a rolling basis and funding decisions are usually made within two weeks of receiving the application with all required supplemental materials. For AY 2022-2023 projects, the RFP will close once all funds have been awarded or by April 24, 2023, whichever comes first. For summer projects the RFP will close by August 1, 2023.


Project Timelines

Successful applicants have up until June 1, 2023 (for AY projects) or August 15, 2023 (for Summer Projects) to complete their project and submit their final ePortfolio. Students may determine their own timeline for their project within this timeframe.



If you have questions regarding project ideas, faculty mentorship, or requirements email us at


Need a Project Idea?

Look through the Scholar Shop Community Partner database below to see an array of projects our community partners are seeking to collaborate on. To learn more about what Scholar Shop is, visit the Scholar Shop info page. If you’ve found an organization/project you’d like to collaborate with or you just want to learn more, send an email to the Scholar Shop Coordinator, at and we'll be happy to get you connected.




2021-2022 Funded Projects

  • Amplifying Youth Through Art

    Through this project, Amplifying Youth Through Art (AYTA), this student encouraged youth at Aurora Public Schools (APS) and Denver Public Schools (DPS) to talk about issues affecting them using artistic outlets such as photovoice and theatrical performance. AYTA uses art activism to embolden youth to realize their voice matters in social movements and their communities while also cultivating a space based on trust and respect. At the end of the academic year, students shared their photovoice images and performance with community members. 

  • Valverde Movement Project

    As a part of the larger ongoing Valverde Movement Project, this student collaborated with the Valverde community members to gather stories, oral histories, and archival documents to highlight their individual stories which has been key to combating the false narratives that often result from suppressing marginalized communities such as Valverde. This collection was presented to the community in June and sent to media outlets to uplift the history and voices of Valverde. 

  • Earth Day of DUing Video & Reflection

    Earth Day of DUing is an event organized by the University of Denver and the Center for Sustainability that brings volunteers together to work on sustainability projects on campus and throughout the greater Denver metropolitan area. To inform people of the impacts that small scale actions can have and inspire others to take similar action outside of Earth Day, two students went from site to site documenting these projects and interviewing volunteers which then appeared as a short film. 

  • Addressing Admissions Inequality in the University of Colorado System for Low-Income Students

    This project addressed inequitable admissions processes in the University of Colorado (CU) system. It focused on the low enrollment rates of low-income students in the system. Compared to public universities in other states, the CU system enrolls far fewer low-income students on average, which contributes to stagnation and generational poverty by severely limiting the educational and economic opportunities of Colorodans in impoverished communities. The students examined data from the Colorado Department of Higher Education, such as percentages of enrolled students who are Pell Grant recipients and/or come from families with combined incomes below the poverty line, to determine the extent of this disparity. Via interviews with staff and students at CU - Boulder, the system’s flagship institution, they identified the enrollment barriers low-income students face and the types of support or interventions that make college more accessible. Through this data, they evaluated the effects of low enrollment rates on the educational and economic outcomes of low-income students, which in turn, will help understand how these issues should be approached through policy solutions. 

  • Food Bank Partnership

    Students partnered with Hunger Free Colorado, We Don't Waste and The DU Food Pantry to build connection and strength between these three organizations. The goal was to reduce the stigma around food assistance and encourage increased use of resources like SNAPP and the DU campus food bank. They accomplished these goals by organizing two on-campus events with these community partners. They then shared this project's outcomes and final report with their community partners by inviting them to a final presentation. The report contains analytical data and statistics such as the total number of applicants from the SNAPP awareness and application event and the percentage increase of DU's food pantry uses. 

  • StrivePrep Sustainability Education

    CCESL Scholar Students created and delivered culturally responsive sustainability curriculum to middle school students at STRIVE Prep Rise, a charter school within DPS with a diverse student body. Normally, sustainability education isn't prioritized, but through this project they were able to teach students about food deserts and other environmental issues who otherwise wouldn't have access to this education.  



Highlighted Projects

two students with a camera

Educational Videos to Support Independence

A group of students used an ACE grant to collaborate with International Rescue Committee in Denver and DU Media to create a set of educational videos that would guide refugees through system processes in Denver.

Read More
Stack of rocks

Biology of Healthy Aging: Mindfulness and Meditation

Using community engagement, meditation, and mindfulness to improve the well-being of students.

Read More
person in a costume in a glass box


An interdisciplinary performance and community engagement initiative that explores the frictions of LGBTQ+ experiences and religion in America.

Read More