Community Health Improvement Mini-Grants

Application period currently closed. Check back in the future for the next round!


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 2019 CHNA  completed in Davidson, Rutherford, and Williamson Counties, VUMC adopted four community health needs:

Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Access to Resources and Services*

Basic Needs and Social Determinants**

Prevention and Education

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

*"Basic needs and social determinants” refer to conditions in the environments where individuals live, work, and play that have a major influence on health outcomes, including affordable housing, transportation, healthy food access, education, economic opportunity, and safety.

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.

Proposals must focus on at least one of the four community health needs outlined in the table above. Within one of the four broad health needs, proposals may also address impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and movements for racial justice and racial equity.

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 resource for more information on policy, systems and environmental change.

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) 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 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 $10,000. Up to two award recipients may be selected for each county.

Timeline/Key Information (subject to change)

RFP Released

September 13, 2021

Q & A Webinar

September 29, 2021

Email Optional “Intent to Apply”

October 4, 2021

Proposals Submission Deadline

October 29, 2021

Anticipated Award Announcement

December 17, 2021

Anticipated Award Start Date

June 15, 2022


Click here to view the full RFP for more information on submission requirement, review criteria, reporting requirements and more.

Mini-Grant Info Session

In case you were unable to attend the Q&A info session last month, you can download the slide deck here.


  • You may apply for a maximum of $10,000 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 4 prioritized needs. Within one of the four broad health needs, proposals may also address impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and movements for racial justice and racial equity.
  • Online submission via the REDCap link is strongly encouraged. Email submissions will be accepted as well.
  • Yes, your organization may submit more than one application. However, the maximum award that each organization can receive is $10,000.


  • Yes, all documents included in the proposal must be in one combined document. This includes any supplementary materials.
  • Yes, you may still apply. Additionally, proposals must be submitted by October 29, 2021. Proposals will not be accepted after this time.
  • No.  If your organization is not a 501(c)3 you must apply with a fiscal sponsor that is a 501c3.