Community Engagement Projects: Seed Grant Support Award Guidelines

The CMS Fund invites applications for Seed Grant Support for music projects that bring together participants in higher education and members of the local community. The purpose of the seed grants is to provide support for community engagement projects that have potential for sustainability over time in local communities.

Seed Grant Support awards provide a $300-$500 stipend. Grants may be used at the successful applicant's discretion to cover such expenses as travel and printing, operational costs, or, in the case of collaborative projects, small honoraria.



For any application, at least one project member must be a member of The College Music Society. To join CMS, please click here. If you are unsure of your membership status, inquiries may be addressed to [email protected].



Applications for all types of projects are welcome. Proposals are welcome from

  • individuals,
  • departments within larger music faculties, and
  • entire conservatories, departments, or schools of music.

Venues for community engagement might include community music programs such as

  • bands and choirs,
  • senior citizen centers,
  • public and private school settings,
  • community organizations and centers,
  • health institutions,
  • museums, and
  • faith communities.  

Priority will be given to engagement projects rather than outreach initiatives. The focus of these projects should therefore be to establish partnerships between members of higher education and local entities. 

Priority will also be given to creative projects of a collaborative nature that cross disciplines and inspire ongoing music-centered interactions with local participants. Faculty projects involving student participation are welcome.


Project Narrative

Because the selection of proposals is based upon materials submitted, it is important to write a project narrative that can be understood and evaluated fairly. The purpose of the narrative is to convey to the review committee what type of interaction will occur in the community setting.

The narrative—no more than three pages, single spaced, in at least an 11-point font, and with 1" margins—should address the following:

(1) Program Goals and Objectives - Describe the program for which you are applying. Outline the goals and objectives and how they will be accomplished. When was the plan for the program developed, and has it yet been implemented in any form? What makes this program outstanding?

(2) Community Need and Benefit - Describe the target population and how the proposed program will engage this community. Describe the need for the project and the project's benefit to the community. How will the community be made aware of the project? Include, if available, any data that identifies and supports the need for the project.

(3) Future Funding to Sustain Program/Matches - Outline how you plan to sustain this program beyond the first year of grant funding. What is the total annual program budget? List any dollar or in-kind match that will be made to the project.

(4) Applicant's Background/History - Describe your past experience, if any, with engagement or outreach projects. Have you (or your co-applicants, if any) administered or participated in similar projects?

(5) Evaluation Method - Describe how you will measure the success of the program, its quality, and general impact on the community.

(6) Project Timeline Identifying Key Activities - Outline the time frame in which the project will be performed. List chronologically the major activities necessary to complete the project, as well as their key dates.

All applications are due August 1, 2023. The 2023-2024 award will be announced by September 1, 2023.

Complete applications will include:

  • The Project Narrative 
  • A short biography of 250 words or less about each participant.
  • Letters of support from students, parents, teachers, community members, or other stakeholders that would strengthen the application.


Submitting your Application

The College Music Society's submission process is powered by Submittable. To submit an application, please (1) log in to the CMS members-only website using your user name and password and then (2) click the 'Submit' button below. You will be directed to Submittable to complete your proposal. If you don't already have a Submittable account, you will be prompted to establish one. (Click here for help using Submittable and to view a list of Frequently Asked Questions.)


Follow-up to project activities

Prior to June 1 of the calendar year following the disbursement of the award, recipients will submit a brief (2-3 page) report of the project’s activities and outcomes and a high resolution photo taken during the project. These materials will be placed on the CMS and CMS Fund sites to document the work.


You must be a CMS member to submit a proposal.
Please log in and the 'Submit' button will appear in this location. Or, click here to join CMS.