Who We Are

DU Grand Challenges is a university-wide initiative powered by the Center for Community Engagement to advance Scholarship & Learning (CCESL) that supports community-engaged work that builds toward a vision of a world in which all communities thrive. DU Grand Challenges is a family of programs that bring together university and community change-makers to address the most difficult and far-reaching issues facing our society today.

Our local and global communities face complex, urgent, and persistent challenges. DU Grand Challenges addresses three inter-related issues in our communities: improving daily living, increasing economic opportunity and advancing deliberation and action for the public good.

Issue Areas

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Improve Daily Living

Improving Daily Living aims to identify and address the interconnected challenges that affect daily living in our communities. Through intentional community-university collaboration​, we seek to address the issues that affect people’s basic needs, from violence and just environmental sustainability to health equity and wellness.

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Increase Economic Opportunity

Increasing economic opportunity can include actions that range from expanding education access and improving infrastructure to fulfilling employment rights and decreasing poverty. 

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Advance Deliberation and Action for the Public Good

Advancing deliberation and action for the public good includes means amplifying youth voice and deepening civic engagement, as well as preparing new leaders and strengthening our connections to each other. 

Opportunities to Affect Change

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    A Community Table

    A Community Table is an online platform through which you can engage in structured, meaningful, solution-oriented conversations about the issues that matter most to you and your community. DU Grand Challenges provides the tools (sample invitations, conversation guides, facilitation training webinars, and more) that you need to host a  conversation. You choose when, on what platform, and with whom to have that conversation. It's that simple. 

    Prior to COVID, A Community Table was an annual event that fostered public dialogues by encouraging groups of 8-12 to collaborate in their favorite community locations. It was designed to uncover our most pressing challenges and generate action items for Grand Challenges to take on.

    A Community Table

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    Campus and community experts share bold and provocative ideas that spark discussion among attendees on how the topic impacts our communities, providing fuel and inspiration for bold actions that help our communities thrive.


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    DU Grand Challenges invests in community-engaged research and creative work projects that address our three issue areas: improving daily living, increasing economic opportunity, and advancing deliberation and action for the public good. Grants are available to both students and faculty.


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    Collective Impact Cohorts

    Collective Impact Cohorts bring together community and university voices to develop and implement collaborative work to create measurable change to improve daily living.

    Collective Impact Cohorts


Support for DU Grand Challenges

The DU Grand Challenges initiative has been supported by two grants from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations


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