Community Health Improvement Mini-Grants

2023 Application Period Now Closed


The Office of Health Equity at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) is seeking applications for mini-grants to support innovative community health and 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). For more information on the Office of Health Equity (OHE) and for a look into past mini-grant recipients, please visit the OHE website

Proposal Criteria

The CHNA seeks to better understand community concerns and strengths related to social determinants of health, health, and health care. In the most recent CHNA process in Bedford, Coffee, Davidson, Rutherford, Williamson, and Wilson Counties, the community prioritized the following community health needs:

2023 Mini- Grant Prioritized Needs

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Resources

Access to Healthcare

Housing and Transportation,

Food Insecurity, &

Economic Opportunity

Health Literacy

Infant Mortality

*“Resources” refer to access, availability, awareness, navigation, and coordination of programs, services, facilities, and other resources that support health and well-being.*

To advance community health and health equity related to these needs, this Request for Proposals (RFP) solicits proposals that target marginalized populations in Bedford, Coffee, Davidson, Rutherford, Williamson, or Wilson County. Applicants may only submit proposals for one county of focus. Marginalized populations may include racial/ethnic minorities, individuals with limited socioeconomic status, sexual and gender minorities, underserved rural residents, individuals experiencing homelessness, and uninsured/underinsured individuals, among others who experience marginalization or social disadvantage.

All proposals must describe how the proposed initiative addresses health equity. For more on health equity, please see the Guide for Promoting Health Equity developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Priority will also be given to proposals that focus on broader systems change. Such proposals 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.

Applicant Criteria

  • 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) 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 proposals 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 disparities in Tennessee. 

Grant Award

Organizations may apply for up to $7,500. Up to two award recipients may be selected for each county.

Submission Requirements

Project Narrative

Proposals must include the information outlined below. Proposals that do not include or adequately address all the narrative requirements may not be reviewed. The proposal narrative must not exceed 2,100 words (approx. three pages single-spaced) using the word counts below.

1. Provide a description of: (500 words)

        a. The demographics of the target population, and what specific challenges and inequities the target population faces.

        b. The proposed project, and how the project aligns with one or more of the CHNA need(s).

        c. How the target population is and/or will be involved in executing the proposed project. 

2. Please provide detail about the project's goals, objectives, and activities. Please use the table below as a model for reporting the information. (500 words)

       a. Goal(s) - what is the desired result(s) or aim(s) of your project?

       b. Objective(s) - what steps will be taken to achieve your goal(s).

       c. Action Step(s) - what actions are needed to reach your objective(s)?

       d. Evaluation Plan - describe expected outcomes and metric(s). These can include:

              i. What metrics will be monitored to determine if the project is being implemented as planned (process evaluation).

              ii. Short term outcomes and long-term outcomes of the project and how these will be measured (outcome evaluation). 


3. Describe the lead organization for the project, including its mission, capacity to address the proposal goals and objectives, and experience working with marginalized populations. (400 words)

      a. Please describe the lead organization's statement of inclusiveness and equity. This should be more than just a description of the organization's hiring practices.

      b. Please describe any new or existing collaborators you will work with on this project, and how they will increase your organization's capacity. 

4. Describe how the project promotes health equity. Health equity is defined as everyone having a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. This requires moving obstacles to health such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences. (200 words)

5. Briefly describe how this project is based on or informed by evidence or best practices? Evidence-based refers to the process where decisions are made, and actions or activities are undertaken using the best evidence available. (100 words)

6. Describe how the project moves beyond being an individual project to also address broader policy or systems level change(s). (150 words)

7. Please also address plans for sustaining the project beyond the funding period. (150 words)

8. Provide a general timeline for completion of the project. Please include approximate start and end dates for all project action steps. (100 words)

Budget and Budget Justification

The maximum funding level is up to $7,500 for 12 months. Funds may be used to support project activities such as costs related to salaries, hosting meetings and events, design/printing of materials, etc. However, funds may not be used for operational support for existing projects and activities that are not directly related to the proposed initiative. Please use the budget template below and include a brief budget justification for each line item that explains the rationale for the funds requested in the budget. If the proposal is for an existing project, please specify which activities the CHNA mini-grant funds will support. 


Submission and Formatting

Please submit an intent to apply via REDCap by October 17th at 11:59 pm CST in order for your proposal to be eligible for consideration. The intent to apply submission link can be found HEREThe intent to apply is required, but not binding. If you are not able to submit via REDCap, please email Autumn Montgomery at for assistance. Intent to apply submissions will include: 

  • Organization name
  • Contact name and email
  • County of focus
  • Prioritized community health need(s) the project will address
  • Minority led or minority serving organization
  • Brief description of the proposed project (100 words)

All applications must be submitted online via REDCap. All proposals must be submitted by October 21st at 5:00 pm CST. Once you have submitted the intent to apply, you will be provided the proposal submission link. If you are not able to submit via REDCap, please email Autumn Montgomery at for assistance. Notification of award is anticipated by December 30, 2022. The release of funding will occur following completion of the contracting process, no later than June 30, 2023. 

The grant proposal is limited to 2,100 words (not including the budget and other attachments) and should be written in Ariel 11-point font, single-space with one-inch margins. Please submit proposal documents (narrative, budget, appendices, etc.) in one combined document (Microsoft Word or PDF). All submissions should include the following:

  • Brief description of the project (200 words)
  • Project narrative
  • Budget and budget justification
  • Proof of 501(c)(3) status
  • Form w-9 for your organization
  • Appendices - any additional materials (not included in a word count) that help explain the proposed project (e.g. educational materials, tools/instruments, etc.)

Review Criteria

Selection of award recipients will be determined by a review panel based on the following rubric.

Reporting Requirements

Grantees will participate in an in-person or virtual meeting after the first 6-months to share project progress, accomplishments, and barriers. Similarly, a brief final report will be shared at the end of the 12-month grant period. Grantees are encouraged to include any photos, fliers, or other information that support the success of the project 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 project goals, outcomes, and activities 
  • Update on how the project is advancing health equity
  • Plans for project sustainability

Timeline/Key Information (subject to change) 


 Q&A Webinar

The webinar was held on September 22, 2022 to clarify the application requirements in detail and provide an opportunity to ask questions. For those who were unable to attend, please refer to this recording of the webinar. 

For all related questions, please contact


Frequently Asked Questions:

  • You may apply for a maximum of $7,500 for a 12-month grant period.
  • Applicants may only apply for one county of focus. For example, if your project of focus is located in multiple counties only one county can be supported by this grant during the grant period. This county of focus must be reflected in the grant proposal.
  • Proposals must address inequities within at least one of the listed prioritized needs. 
  • All applications must be submitted online via REDCap. All proposals must be submitted by October 21st at 5:00 pm CST. Once you have submitted the intent to apply, you will be provided the proposal submission link. If you are not able to submit via REDCap, please email Autumn Montgomery at for assistance. 
  • Yes, your organization may submit more than one application. However, the maximum award that each organization can receive is $7,500.


  • Yes, all documents included in the proposal must be in one combined document. This includes any supplementary materials.
  • Please contact Autumn Montgomery at if you miss the “Intent to Apply” deadline and still wish to submit a proposal.
  • No.  If your organization is not a 501(c)(3) you must apply with a fiscal sponsor that is a 501(c)(3).