Community Health Equity Mini-Grants

Community Health Equity Mini-Grants

2023 Application Period Closed


The Office of Health Equity at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) is seeking applications for Community Health Equity Mini-Grants to support innovative community health equity projects in Bedford, Coffee, Davidson, Rutherford, Williamson, and Wilson Counties. These projects will address at least one of the needs prioritized by the community in VUMC's Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and Implementation Strategy (IS). Please visit the OHE website for more information on past mini-grant recipients

Application Criteria

The CHNA seeks to better understand the community concerns related to health and healthcare, the social, environmental, and behavioral factors that impact health, the greatest needs and assets in communities, and strategies for improving community health and wellbeing. In the most recent CHNA process in Bedford, Coffee, Davidson, Rutherford, Williamson, and Wilson Counties, the community prioritized the following community health needs:


To advance community health equity related to these needs, this call for applications solicits projects that focus on historically marginalized or minoritized populations in Bedford, Coffee, Davidson, Rutherford, Williamson, or Wilson County. Historically minoritized or marginalized populations may include racial/ethnic minorities, individuals with limited socioeconomic status, sexual and gender minorities, rural residents that have inequitable access to resources, individuals experiencing homelessness, and those with limited access to healthcare and health insurance, among others who experience marginalization or social disadvantage.

All initiatives must address health equity. For more on health equity, please see the Advancing Health Equity Guide: A Guide to Language, Narrative and Concepts developed by the American Medical Association.

Priority will also be given to initiatives that focus on upstream systems change. Such initiatives go beyond one-time programming and individual behavior change and begin to address policy, systems, and environmental change. Please refer to this policy, systems, and environmental change resource for more information.

Interested in Applying?

Please review the application guidelines and submission requirements included in the sections below. All applications should be submitted by October 20, 2023 using this application form. Please reach out to with any questions!

    • Community or faith-based organizations including advocacy groups, coalitions, neighborhood associations, community health centers and service providers in Bedford, Coffee, Davidson, Rutherford, Williamson, or Wilson County with 501(c)(3) non-profit status. Interested public agencies and organizations without 501(c)(3) status are encouraged to apply in partnership with an eligible 501(c)(3) organization that may serve as the fiscal agent. Academic institutions may be collaborators on projects but are not eligible to apply.  
    • Selected organizations must complete a 1-hour training on the foundations of health equity. This training, called Seeds of Equity, provides a deeper understanding of health equity and the historical context of health inequities in Tennessee. 
  • Organizations may apply for up to $10,000. We anticipate one award recipient to be selected for each county. Organizations will only be funded for projects in one county (even if multiple applications are submitted).

  • Provide a description of: (~650 words) 

    a. The proposed project and how the project aligns with one or more of the CHNA needs.

    b. The demographics of the target population, what specific challenges and inequities the target population faces, and how the project will address these inequities.

    c. At least two SMARTIE goals for your project that will be completed during the 1-year grant cycle. A definition and example of SMARTIE can be found below:


    Reflects an important dimension of what your organization seeks to accomplish (programmatic or capacity-building priorities). 


    Includes standards by which reasonable people can agree on whether the goal has been met (by numbers or defined qualities). 


    Challenging enough that achievement would mean significant progress—a “stretch” for the organization. 


    Not so challenging as to indicate lack of thought about resources, capacity, or execution; possible to track and worth the time and energy to do so. 


    Includes a clear deadline. 


    Brings traditionally marginalized people—particularly those most impacted—into processes, activities, and decision/policymaking in a way that shares power. 


    Seeks to address systemic injustice, inequity, or oppression. 



    Build a volunteer team of 100 door-to-door canvassers by May… 

    …with at least 10 people of color recruited as volunteer leaders first, so that they can help shape the way we run the canvasses. 






    Provide a budget:

    The maximum funding level is up to $10,000. Please use the budget template below to give an example of how funds will be used. The budget can be high level and will be refined for awardees asked to submit additional information. Funds may be used to support project activities such as costs related to salaries, hosting meetings and events, design/printing of materials, etc. but may not be used for operational support for existing projects and activities not directly related to the proposed initiative. If the application is for an existing project, please specify which activities the Community Health Equity mini-grant funds will support.  

    Proposed Budget

    Item Description

    Unit Cost

    Ex. Salary












    Total Amount: 


    Application Submission and Formatting:

    All applications must be submitted online via REDCap by October 20, 2023 at 11:59 PM CST. The application submission link can be found here. If you are not able to submit via REDCap, please email Autumn Montgomery at for assistance. 

  • The selection of award recipients will be determined based on the following rubric.

    Phase 2: Organizations that meet the initial application review criteria will be invited to a 45-minute virtual discussion between November 6th-17th on the outlined project to gain a deeper understanding of the project and the discuss the following questions:

    • How the project promotes health equity
    • The lead organization’s capacity to address the outlined goals and experience working with the target population.
    • How the project moves beyond the individual level impact to also address policy or systems change
    • Plans for sustaining the project beyond the funding period.
    • Project budget justification and refinement

    Following award acceptance, grantees may be asked to submit more information including evaluation plans for the project, a revised budget, etc.

  • Grantees will participate in a virtual meeting after the first 6-months to share project progress, accomplishments, and barriers. This meeting serves as the first report. A brief final report will be shared at the end of the 12-month grand period. Grantees are encouraged to include photos, fliers, or other information supporting the project's success in their reports. Grantees may also be asked to share project results in other community forums.

    Information that will be required for reports include, but are not limited to:

    • Progress towards achieving projects goals, outcomes, and activities
    • Update on how the project is advancing health equity
    • Plans for project sustainability 
  • Call for Abstracts Released   

    September 13, 2023 

    Q & A Webinar (recorded) 

    September 28, 2023 

    Abstract Submission Deadline 

    October 20, 2023 

    Project Discussions  

    November 6- November 17, 2023 

    Anticipated Award Announcement  

    December 30, 2023 

    Anticipated Award Start Date   

    June 30, 2024 

  • A Q&A webinar will be held on September 28, 2023 to clarify the application requirements in detail and provide an opportunity to ask questions. For those unable to attend, please reach out to to request a recording of the webinar. The slides from the webinar can be found here.