Applications are open for the Leahy Institute of Rural Partnerships Seed Grant program. 

What we fund

The Leahy Institute for Rural Partnerships will fund project costs associated with engaged partnerships between organizations and the University of Vermont.

Through this funding initiative, UVM will join as partners with Vermont leaders who are working towards impactful solutions to rural challenges in our priority focus areas:

  • Regenerative Agriculture
  • Community Schools
  • Transit & Housing Solutions
  • Remote & Co-Working Practices
  • Resilient Energy Systems
  • Healthy Ecosystems
  • Access to Health Care in Rural Areas
  • Policy & Governance

Organizations may apply for the following funding tiers to support partnership efforts:

  • Capacity Grants (Up to $10,000) will catalyze partnership and project development This is the entry track for organizations who have a vision for positive rural impact but need support to develop a relationship with University of Vermont partners.
  • Seed Grants (Up to $300,000) will fund research projects, stakeholder engagement initiatives, student internships and service-learning experiences, and business plan development for early-stage start-ups and non-profit businesses working to address rural challenges.

For more information, please review the full Request for Proposal (RFP) below.

Who is eligible?

All organizations that work within the State of Vermont and who are working to positively impact Vermont’s rural communities are eligible to apply. This includes nonprofit and for-profit organizations, and government entities.

We also encourage those affiliated with UVM to apply for funding. (Update 11/16/2023: Partnership not required at the Letter of Intent Phase of our application process.)

How to apply

The University of Vermont uses the InfoReady platform for grant submissions. Applicants will create a user ID and password and will be able to access the Leahy Institute application from the applicant homepage.

Prospective applicants will submit a short Letter of Intent (LOI) in which they will be asked to provide an overview of the project, the goals and outcomes of the endeavor, and the status of a partnership with the University of Vermont.

Apply Now

Leahy Institute Grant Program Documents 

Winter 2024 Funding Cycle
RFP PostedNovember 10
In-Person Public Information SessionNovember 15 from 12-1 p.m., Waterman 427A
Public Information Session I (Microsoft Teams)November 16 from 11 a.m.-noon
In-Person Public Information Session-RutlandNovember 20 from 4:30-5:30 p.m., The Hub CoWorks
Public Information Session II (Microsoft Teams)December 5 at 11 a.m.
LOI Submission DeadlineDecember 18 by 5 a.m.
Invitations for ProposalsJanuary 11, 2024
Proposal DeadlineFebruary 15, 2024, by 5 p.m.
Award NotificationFebruary 29, 2024
Period of PerformanceMarch 1, 2024, through
February 28, 2025


Summer 2024 Funding Cycle dates will be released in March 2024. Please sign up for the Office of Engagement’s newsletter to keep in touch with future funding cycle announcements.


1. Who is eligible to apply for a grant?
The Leahy Institute for Rural Partnerships grant is open to all organizations that work within the State of Vermont, and particularly those whose work positively impacts Vermont’s rural communities. We will accept applications from nonprofit organizations, for-profit enterprises, start-ups, local governments, and internal UVM applicants. (Update 11/16/2023: Partnership not required at the Letter of Intent Phase of our application process.)

2. How do I know how much funding to request for the project?
The best practice for requesting funding is to request the amount that will promote the greatest impact while also considering the organization’s current capacity. Project sustainability past the Seed Grant lifespan is a major component of proposal evaluation, so it is important to consider what the immediate needs are but not promise too much that the project’s sustainability would come into question.

3. What project costs are eligible, and which are ineligible?
All costs directly associated with the project are eligible. This includes personnel time, including graduate student and postdoctoral research support, devoted to the funded project. Indirect costs of up to 1% are allowed on modified total direct costs.

4. What are the reporting requirements for this grant program?
Funding recipients will be asked to complete two reports over the yearlong period of performance: a 6-month report in September 2024, and a final closeout report in March 2025. It is the Leahy Institute’s intent to keep reporting streamlined and we will attempt to reduce burden on the awardee wherever we are able.

5. If I am denied funding for this cycle, what are my next steps?
If your partnership does not receive funding in this first cycle, there will be more opportunities to request support. The Institute for Rural Partnerships will host subsequent cycles over the coming years with different areas of focus. We will be publicizing future funding cycles in our Office of Engagement newsletter. Please sign up here to receive updates from the Leahy Institute for Rural Partnerships directly to your email inbox.