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2016 Call for Research Proposals
The Coffelt Public Service Award funds research-based community service projects intended to help both UVA students and youth in the community find meaning by engaging in a mutually beneficial collaboration. Proposed projects should help Charlottesville youth to gain autonomy and discover purpose in their lives. The Coffelt Public Service Award emphasizes both public service and research such that UVA students and non-profit partners learn


from each other as they plan and execute annual projects to benefit children in any of the following categories: at-risk or ill children, children who do not have the benefit of stable households, or children whose families live in depressed socioeconomic circumstances in the Charlottesville-area community.

While there is no specific age restriction on the children served, proposed projects should focus on younger children in the Charlottesville community. Projects may also involve youth who are not at-risk or otherwise disadvantaged. An example may be involving a teenager in mentoring an at-risk elementary school student.

Award recipients should identify a faculty research mentor and an organizational partner (UVA or community-based).


The award will offer support for up to one year, and can be split between direct stipend and expendable funds for the project. For example, if the available award is $2,000, then $300 could be distributed as a stipend and $1,700 be set aside for expendable costs. The number of awards given and the exact amount disbursed will depend upon the number and quality of applications and the budgets of the proposed projects.

Submission Requirements
Submissions are due by Tuesday, March 15, 2016 by 11:59 pm

Download the RFP as a PDF >

2015 - 2016 Projects

"This is what democracy looks like: Creating a curriculum that empowers students as citizens"

Over the past two years, a class called "Becoming a Global Citizen" has been taught at Charlottesville High School with collaboration from the University of Virginia. Students of our classes have been empowered to create change, both at the individual level and the structural level, as they have applied their understanding of global issues within their local contexts. This project will consolidate the curricula from the previous two years into a cohesive



curriculum guide that is accessible both in print and digitally, developing the website associated with the course into an online curricular resource enabling other classrooms to experience the success of our work.

Accessible Theater Project

The Accessible Theatre Project will work with student-run theatre groups at UVa to create sensory-friendly adaptations of their productions for children with autism and other sensory-related disorders and their families. The project will determine best practices for creating sensory-friendly theatre and measure the impact the performance has on the audience and the students.

About the Award
This award was established by UVa College alumnus Robert M. Coffelt, Jr. in honor of his mother, Annetta J. Coffelt and his father, Robert M. Coffelt.  Having grown personally as a member of the Alpha Phi Omega (A.P.O.) community service fraternity and the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society, and through his previous work on a U.Va. psychiatric ward, Mr. Coffelt desires to instill in current students the importance of giving of themselves to the community in which they live. In December of 2014, Mr. Coffelt formally asked that OpenGrounds hold an annual competition for the Service Award. Through conversations with Founding Director Bill Sherman, Mr. Coffelt recognizes that OpenGrounds offers the ideal network and structure to use the award in a way that will generate significant impact for university students and the communities they serve.

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