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Diversity & Inclusion

IDEA Innovation Grants

IDEA Innovation Grants


The Inclusive Excellence Council is pleased to announce the Inclusion, Diversity and Equity in Action (IDEA) Innovation Grant Program, focused on supporting institutional and cultural change and advancing Inclusive Excellence at Bentley University.

The IDEA Innovation Grants aim to achieve the following goals:

  1. To support creative projects that support the development of a diverse and inclusive community
  2. To promote the development of programs and initiatives that enhance learning focused on diversity, equity and inclusion
  3. To provide educational experiences to foster cross-cultural dialogue and facilitate inclusive leadership development

Highest consideration will be given to projects that:

  • Involve and promote collaboration (across units, communities, organizations, and/or by faculty/staff/learner/unit makeup)
  • Have the potential for a significant impact (e.g., sustainable, replicable, and/or far-reaching) with clearly defined and measurable outcomes
  • Align with one or more of the focus areas of the Falcons Forward 2030 strategic plan
Application Review Process

All IDEA grant applications are due no less than 30 days in advance of the start date of the proposed programs, initiatives, or activities. Applications must be submitted through the electronic application form below to be considered. All applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

All proposals will be reviewed by members of the Inclusive Excellence Council every other week, and applicants will be notified by the Council with the status of the proposal (approval or denial), including any potential requests for additional information as needed. All projects that receive grant funding must be completed by the end of the fiscal year (June 30).

Funding Guidelines

All awarded grant proposals may receive up to $2,500 in funding. Any funding requests beyond $2,500 require cost-sharing with another department or office. Funds can be used for one-time initiatives or as seed funding for new initiatives. Examples of such efforts may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Development of a community-wide training series to promote the development of cultural competence
  • Launching a learning community focused on key topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Activities that promote community building and intergroup dialogue and engagement via collaborative approaches with internal and external partners (e.g. book club, speakers, artists, site visits, etc.)

When applying for an IDEA grant, applicants will be asked to outline an itemized budget for how the funds will be used along with any supporting documentation of additional funds from other departments or organizations on campus.

IDEA Grants may be used to fund the following (not an exclusive list):

  • Stipends/honoraria for external speakers, consultants, or facilitators
  • Relevant materials and services
  • Entry fees for external site visits (e.g. museums, theaters, etc.)
  • Food costs (up to 50% of funding may be used for this purpose)

IDEA Grants cannot be used to fund the following:

  • Personnel costs (e.g., salary/hourly pay for current Bentley University employees or student workers)
  • Non-business or non-educational expenses
  • Specific professional development expenses (e.g., travel, meals, lodging, membership fees, publication costs, etc.)
  • Prize giveaways (e.g. T-shirts, raffle items, etc.)
  • Personal hardship
  • Any additional funding above and beyond actual costs of programs or initiatives
Application Instructions

Proposal applications must include the following information to be considered for review. For further consultation or if you have any questions, please contact Patrick Couillard Hale at

Part I: Basic Information

  • Title of Program, Proposal or Initiative
  • Lead Contact Person & Role on Campus
  • Name(s) and Contact(s) of additional project member(s)
  • Proposal Summary (up to 300 words)

Part II: Detailed Proposal

  • What are the anticipated outcomes for the proposed project?
  • What is your detailed timeline for planning, implementation and assessment of this project? Consider detailing the following components:
    • Planning logistics and timeline
    • Marketing, outreach and community buy-in
    • Post-activity evaluation (how will you measure the stated outcomes)
  • What is the dollar amount you are requesting?
  • Please submit a budget that indicates how the requested amount will be allocated and any additional funding sources that have been secured or will be sought after.

Part III: Goals & Criteria

  • Reviewing the goals and criteria outlined, please describe how your proposed project, activity or initiative will meet the stated goals and criteria. Please limit this rationale to one page, single-spaced.

Spring 2023 Application Information

Theme: “Creating Brave Spaces at Bentley University”

For this round of grant funding, we are seeking proposals for IDEA Grants that seek to address the theme of creating brave spaces at Bentley University. Charged by one of the strategic priorities from the Racial Justice Discovery Document, Bentley aspires to create a community where authentic and brave conversations about social justice are the cultural norm and where everyone is expected to engage in experiences to increase their individual and group consciousness on social justice matters, including but not limited to race, gender, sexual orientation, class and ability.

Priority funding will be given to IDEA grant proposals that address outcomes related to creating intentional spaces for brave engagement about race and social justice. Using the Bentley Brave framework as a guide, we encourage proposals for initiatives or programs that adopt the following principles:

  • Fostering Dialogue, Not Debate: To create dialog, we need to actively listen to one another and seek to understand, not just to be understood, by working to make meaning across differences through engaged, respectful exchanges of ideas.
  • Providing Opportunities for Self-Reflection: To truly engage in open, honest, and direct conversation individuals must develop an awareness of their own identity and personal world view.
  • Creating an Environment that Allows for Courageous Engagement: To be brave means to move out of your comfort zone and stretch into experiences that might be uncomfortable. We believe the discomfort should come from ideas not people and encourage experiences that allow individuals to express curiosity without the threat of shame or contempt.
  • Acknowledging and Supporting Diversity of Opinion: To cultivate a climate that affirms the value of our voices, we encourage experiences that explore multiple viewpoints and allow for the expression of opposing ideas and concepts, rather than merely reinforcing accepted beliefs.

How to Apply

Complete the application form using the button below. All Bentley faculty, staff and students are eligible to apply for IDEA Innovation Grant funding. Applications submitted via any other means will not be accepted.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until March 20, 2023 Any proposals submitted after this will not be considered or reviewed until the start of the 2023-2024 academic year.

The Spring 2023 IDEA Innovation Grants application cycle is now closed. We will reopen applications for IDEA Innovation Grants for consideration beginning in July 2023.


If you have any questions about IDEA Innovation Grants and the overall process, please contact Patrick Couillard Hale, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, at