BreakingGround Community Program Grants Available

Sara Leidner is coordinator for student organizations and involvement in UMBC’s Office of Student Life.

Sara Leidner 2I have been a member of the BreakingGround Community Program Committee (formerly known as “UMBCServes”) for almost 5 years, working with creative change agents from the Shriver Center, Residential Life, Student Life, GSA and SGA. From a committee that formed to coordinate UMBC departments’ community service programs, we have evolved into a connection point and advisory group for student organizations and departments hoping to make creative, meaningful contributions to positive social change.

Thanks to Provost Philip Rous, we also can provide financial support to innovative projects (a total of $5,000 for 2013-2014). Provost Rous created the BreakingGround Community Programs fund to support UMBC departments’ and student organizations’ innovations in service, community partnerships and social problem-solving. We are looking for programs that position the participants to learn about issues, build connections, apply their creativity and deepen their community engagement.

Last year, the BreakingGround Community Program Committee awarded 6 grants to groups of UMBC undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff members who developed amazing projects. We look forward to supporting additional innovations this year, and would love to talk with members of the UMBC community about your ideas. Take a look at the BreakingGround Community Program application, and consider attending one of our brainstorming workshops for prospective applicants (the first is Wednesday, October 2nd from 10 – 11 a.m. in Commons 327; others are listed in the application). We encourage students, faculty and staff to apply, and are happy to answer questions and work with you even if you cannot attend a workshop, and even if you are not requesting funds.

UMBC sophomore Katie Cano worked with the Shriver Center to develop a project that received a BreakingGround Community Program Grant in 2012-2013. Here she shares some of what she learned from the process:

Contact the author, Sara Leidner, at

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