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Racial Equity Grant FAQ

Welcome to Northwestern University's Racial Equity FAQ page. Here, we aim to provide clear, comprehensive answers to frequently asked questions regarding our Racial Equity and Community Partnership Grant Program. This page serves as a resource for students, faculty, staff, and the broader community seeking to understand our policies, initiatives, and ongoing efforts to address racial equity and promote diversity through this initiative.

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Why did Northwestern University establish the Racial Equity and Community Partnership Grants program?

In 2020, as Northwestern's home communities of Evanston and Chicago grappled with the challenge of the two pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism, the University made a renewed commitment to advancing racial equity within the institution and in these communities. Northwestern is uniquely positioned to meet those challenges and help our communities recover during this pivotal moment in our history. By intentionally connecting the University's research and intellectual assets with our community's most valuable resources — its people — we seek to foster positive social transformation and move toward a more equitable society.

What is the focus of the Racial Equity and Community Partnership grant?

  • This program is focused on advancing racial equity in Evanston and Chicago through policy and program changes that work to dismantle systemic racism. Grants will be awarded to partnerships between community-based nonprofits or groups in Evanston and Chicago and Northwestern faculty, students, or staff.
  • To advance racial equity, the strategy is building and expanding strategic partnerships that:
    • Build the capacity of local neighborhoods to develop and grow community solutions to structural and systemic problems.
    • Advance the University's academic and research mission while also strengthening local communities.
  • These partnerships should have the potential to advance research-based knowledge and be leveraged for broader impact and additional foundation and government support.

How will these grants be selected?

Grant criteria is detailed on the application page.

What is the timeline for application and selection for 2024-25 grants?

  • The grant guidelines and application will be released on November 25, 2024
  • The LOI must be completed in the online application system by January 24, 2025 at 11:59pm CST. 
  • The committee will review the LOIs and select applications to move to the second stage on February 10, 2025. 
  • Those selected to continue will complete a final, full proposal for grant and submit by March 14, 2025 at 11:59pm CST. 
  • We will announce grantees in May 2025. 
  • Grants will run from July 1, 2025, through June 30, 2026.
  • See the guidelines for more information, LOI questions, and a link to the application portal.

Do these grants replace the Good Neighbor Fund?

No, the $500,000 committed to this grant program is in addition to Northwestern awarding financial support to the City of Evanston.

What was funded in the first three rounds of Racial Equity and Community Partnership Grants?

  • 2021 - 21 projects funded
  • 2022 - 9 projects funded
  • 2023 - 13 projects funded