CSF Application Guidelines

Members of the CSF Board of Trustees aim to promote the mission of the Fund:

MIT's Community Service Fund provides financial assistance to support MIT student, faculty, and staff volunteers in community service projects and encourages activities that will strengthen mutual understanding and cooperation between the Institute and the community.

The CSF Board accepts applications for funding and makes three types of allocations:

  • Grants to MIT students, faculty, staff, and retirees for their community service initiatives.
  • Support for the work of local community organizations through an allocation overseen by the MIT Office of Government and Community Relations.
  • Support for community service events and programs that promote MIT volunteerism through an allocation to the MIT Public Service Center.

Grants to MIT students, faculty, staff, and retirees for their community service initiatives:

MIT staff, graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, and retirees are eligible to apply for CSF grants to support their personal public service initiatives, which include programs that they run or would like to start, or projects that they want to work on that enhance the public service work of an existing organization or school.

CSF funding is seed funding or project funding: it provides only short-term support. It can help you fill a short-term need, build an enhancement that is self-sustaining, or launch a new organization that will be supported by other sources in the long term. It is possible to reapply for additional CSF funding several times if funds are needed, but the Board will not consider applications for funding beyond a three-year period, and they will typically only supply partial funding within that period for ongoing work.

MIT individuals and student groups are eligible for CSF support, but MIT departments, labs, centers, and offices should seek funding from other sources. Likewise, established student groups will only be eligible for support for their group’s established community service endeavors for a three-year period.  The Community Service Fund Board of Trustees wants to see public service initiatives become independently sustainable. If a student or student group starts a new public service initiative, that new initiative can be considered within a new funding timeline.

The CSF grants funds projects or programs that:

  • Are initiated by MIT students, faculty, staff or retirees;
  • Serve local communities
  • Do not use CSF funds for goods for volunteers (e.g. t-shirts);
  • Do not use CSF funds for stipends for staff;
  • Serve underserved individuals or populations; or
  • Improve the quality of life for people in need.

You can find examples of actual organizations that have recently received CSF grants on our Recent Grant Recipients page.

Proposals do not need to be consistent with each of these guidelines in order to receive funding. The board has previously funded projects or organizations that do not match all the above criteria, and may continue to do so. However, the closer your proposal is to the mission of the Fund, the more likely it is to receive funding.

Have questions? Need help formulating a plan? Contact csf-staff at mit.edu for answers, advice, and consultation.

International Travel (Updated 9/1/14)

The CSF no longer provides grants for international travel expenses.

Grants to local nonprofit organizations

Local nonprofit organizations are welcome to apply for funds to support initiatives that involve MIT volunteers. It is strongly recommended that you meet with the the MIT Office of Government and Community Relations to discuss your organization and the MIT volunteers you work with. Funding decisions for nonprofit organizations are made once a year during the March funding cycle. Representatives seeking funds for their organization should submit an application by March 31 to be considered.


**Last updated Fall 2019

Submit by end of

For CSF Board meeting in

For allocation in

October November November/December




Please note that the Board meeting schedule is subject to change.  You are welcome to check with csf-staff at mit.edu if you have questions or concerns.

You may want to consider applying in an earlier cycle than required so you will know in advance whether you have secured funds for your public service initiative or project.

Application Instructions

Applications typically open on the first day of the month that the applications are due (i.e. March 1 and September 1). To begin your application, register an account. You will be provided a link to begin your application when you log on for the first time.