The original members of the UW-Madison Wisconsin Association of Black Men in 2011.

The original members of the Wisconsin Association of Black Men WABM) , founded in 2011

DDEEA Innovation Grants

Innovation Grant Funding System: To Enrich/Boost Institutional Impact on Campus Diversity

What it means to call ourselves a democracy is under special scrutiny. However one defines the term, a true democracy can only flourish by providing a moral compass to protect the common good, the common welfare. That compass must obligate each of us to grapple with the question of what the phrase common welfare means. The ultimate answer cannot be mostly or merely about securing individual rights, but must include how we live together as a diverse society. Diversity is the true test of our moral compass in this democracy: Are opportunities meted out equally — fairly — or are they held for a select few or merely certain segments of our society? There are few places for which this is a more pressing issue than on college campuses.

Within that context, the UW–Madison established a special funding source to enhance and extend the campus’ efforts to deepen its diversity mission.

What is an Innovation Grant?

The Innovation Grant Funding System (IGFS) is a development training and seed fund program founded by the UW-Madison Office of the Chief Diversity Officer and administered through the Division of Diversity, Equity & Achievement to augment the long-term goals of the division by cultivating innovative ideas.  The program provides training in grant development, administration and seed funds to develop promising proposals into innovative and sustainable approaches to furthering the divisions goals of to develop the next generation of leaders, provide thought leadership and foster institutional engagement. 


Innovation Grant commitments support student, faculty and staff partners. Applications will be accepted only from UW-Madison departments, units, and divisions. Registered student organizations will be considered if the organization is represented or sponsored by a university unit/department with a 101 account.

What are we Looking For in Your Application?

Capacity-building platforms should continue to build upon the UW–Madison diversity framework, Forward Together, which seeks to help members of our campus and community be more equitable, inclusive, and diverse, both on and beyond our campus. Such efforts will need to demonstrate sustainability and the ability to build our institutional capacity in support of a diverse, inclusive, and respectful environment for all. Examples of capacity-building activities include the development and dissemination of knowledge on race, ethnicity, culture and indigeneity through research, teaching, performance and hands-on learning.

Funding Amounts

Innovation Grants strategically share resources with project partners in “start up” or one-time funding grants. Award amounts vary according to the merits of the application. The Innovation Grant Application is Now Active

2021 Innovation Application Due Date:

  • March 1, 2021

Apply Now

With the intention to help our institution reach Wisconsin and the World, only applications from UW–Madison departments, units, and divisions will be considered. However, requests from registered student organizations (RSOs) will be considered IF they have administrative support from a campus department or unit serving as the fiscal representative on the RSO’s behalf. We are currently unable to distribute funding directly to RSOs, but will be able to accommodate RSOs working directly with campus units that have 101 and 128 accounts.

Only funding applications submitted through the IGFS portal will be considered.

Applications will be reviewed and selected by an Advisory Committee, headed by Interim Assistant Vice Provost Tracy Williams-Maclin. The IGFS due date below notes the submission deadline.

2021 Innovation Grant Application Due Date: March 1, 2021

*Attend the innovative process/application workshop on February 1, 2021.

For those who are funded, the grantee’s final report should include outcomes from sharing sessions and activities, including venues, number of attendees, any audience feedback and other related information.