Project Inspire

Project Inspire: Mission

The Center for Educational Outreach (CEO), offers the Project Inspire program to support student organizations that seek to provide educational experiences for K-12 youth. To support these efforts we offer: trainings, an outreach toolkit, program consulting, and funding support. 

With an emphasis on building practical skills for developing and implementing outreach programs, Project Inspire trainings will provide engaging scenarios and resourceful information to enhance outreach programs for diverse populations. 


Who We Serve:

U-M Student organizations with an emphasis on K-12 outreach programs that highlight one or more of the following four categories (other areas of work may be considered):

    • Information & Exposure: Programs providing educational information and exposing the K-12 population to the experiences and possibilities provided by higher education.
    • Talent Development: Programs focusing on the development of academic interests and abilities among youth for specific fields or disciplines (i.e. engineering, writing, mathematics, etc.).
    • Educational Enrichment: Programs supporting existing educational pursuits, including tutoring programs, SAT preparation, field experiences, accelerated learning, career exploration, etc.
    • Leadership Development: Programs assisting youth in the development of leadership skills that will help them be successful in post-secondary education.


Why This Work is Important:

There are various disparities in college access and college readiness between groups of students from under-resourced high schools. Project Inspire understands K-12 educational outreach programs can have a significant impact on addressing the various disparities in college access such as; grades, standardized-test scores, course selection, lack of resources, and support in the high school.

For this reason, Project Inspire will collaborate with U-M student organizations focusing on K-12 educational outreach programs through interactive and meaningful training activities. The trainings will center on best practices to ensure student groups have the skills to:

    • Inform through engagement strategies designed to support an equity lens.
    • Engage with diverse K-12 student groups by building positive relationships.
    • Inspire effective and sustainable partnerships with school personnel in underserved communities.


How it Works:

Whether you are just starting out or your organization has been working with underserved communities for years, we provide both training and financial support to enhance your K-12 outreach initiatives.

Training: CEO offers a variety of training sessions by request to any U-M student organization. If you would like more information on any of the training sessions below please complete an online request form and a CEO Staff member will reach out to you.

Funding: CEO encourages Project Inspire grant applications from undergraduate student organizations for outreach projects and activities focused on either information and exposure; talent development; educational enrichment; or leadership development. The grant can provide up to $500 for individual student organizations. Student organizations who successfully complete two of the five training sessions currently offered through CEO can be awarded funding up to $1,200. Upon successful completion of the training series, an organization is considered eligible for the maximum amount within a two-year time frame. The grants are offered on a rolling basis until all funds are awarded for the academic year.


Training Sessions Offered and Learning Outcomes:

Training Session #1 – Tell Your Story: Change A Life

Participants will:

    • Identify, structure and shape their personal/organizational story to positively impact their audience.
    • Reflect on their story to guide the search for the right school/community partner.
    • Understand how their own biases can affect the perceptions of others.

Training Session #2 – Successfully Securing School Buy-in

Participants will:

    • Identify how to approach partnerships with a community service mindset by putting their needs first.
    • Understand how to use clear and concise messaging when communicating program ideas/resources to the school/community partner.
    • Learn how to identify bi-directional benefits for their organization and their school/community partner.

Training Session #3 – Creating Dynamic Programming for Diverse K-12 Youth

Participants will:

    • Connect current practices to create dynamic and engaging outreach programming.
    • Develop skills for adapting and responding during times of program uncertainty.
    • Explore strategies on how to create a respectful and inclusive learning environment.

Training Session #4 – Nuts and Bolts: 5 Leadership Styles for Effective Program Execution

Participants will:

    • Demonstrate understanding the 5 leadership styles and when to utilize each style in a given situation.
    • Recognize when and why one should delegate various roles/responsibilities.
    • Learn key strategies to create effective, realistic and measurable team goals.

Training Session #5 – Developing a Post-program Action Plan

Participants will:

    • Learn various assessment methods on how and whento gather feedback from stakeholders to inform future programming efforts.
    • Design a succession plan for student leadership transitions, with a focus on guiding partner sustainability efforts.


Funding: How to Apply

All applicants will be notified via e-mail of the funding decision within 10 business days of their submission. If awarded funding, applicants must respond and accept funding within 3 business days of the award. Upon receipt of award acceptance, applicants will be provided with the next steps via email.

Terms and Conditions

    • All organizations receiving funding must be recognized as Sponsored Student Organizations (SSO) or Volunteer Student Organizations (VSO).
    • All recipients are required to acknowledge support from the U-M Center for Educational Outreach on all publicity materials.
    • All organizations receiving funding must be in compliance with the University Policy on Minors and be able to provide proof of compliance prior to the event. For more information about the University Policy on Minors, visit Children on Campus.
    • At the time of notification of award, recipients must complete a standard reporting form that includes an itemized budget. All recipients must submit a final post-event form within 10 days after the conclusion of the event or activity, accompanied by receipts or proof of purchase for all budgetary items. The maximum yearly grant award total is $500 per undergraduate student organization, except in specific cases of special need.
    • All recipients will be required to participate in one of the five Project Inspire training sessions available.

Funds will not be provided for:

    • Organizations with a consistent base of substantial funding (e.g. Michigan Student Assembly or Project Serve)
    • Personal requests ( i.e. Alternative Breaks, conference attendance)
    • For-profit events

Priority will be given to:

    • First-time applicants
    • Well-written grant applications
    • Applications of merit that assist in creating a pipeline for K-12 to higher education Innovative programs

For more information about Project Inspire:

Laura Saavedra 
Program Manager