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Davenport Institute Grants

Information, Selection Process & Criteria

Who May Apply?

The grant is open to municipalities and civic organizations in the State of California interested in involving the public on an issue of significance to their community or district. Past projects have related to budget, land use and public safety, among others.

Eligible Applicants:

  1. Mayors, City Council, City Managers, Assistant City Managers
  2. County Supervisors/Senior Staff
  3. Special/School District Board Members/ Senior Staff
  4. Executive Directors of regional governance associations (COGs)
  5. Executive Directors of non-profit organizations

What Will the Grant Provide?

Prior to beginning their public engagement campaign, grantees will also receive training and consultation from the Davenport Institute to build understanding and support for the civic engagement effort amongst administrative and elected officials.

The Davenport Institute will fund a professional consultant(s) to work with your municipality/organization on facilitated public forums. Davenport senior staff and consultants will work with grantees to design the sessions and will facilitate deliberations amongst residents, stakeholders and government representatives. Consultants will be chosen through collaboration between the grantee and the Davenport Institute.

Selection Process:

Interested organizations must submit an online application. Applicants will be contacted within two weeks of their submission to confirm receipt. All grant applications are due by Monday, September 14, 2015, and submissions will be reviewed by members of the Davenport Institute Advisory Council.  Top applicants will participate in an interview (by phone or site visit) and final decisions will be announced early-October. After decisions are finalized, the Davenport Institute will schedule a training and consultation with grantees. This will also provide an opportunity for the grantees & Davenport institute to confer in order to identify a consultant to be funded by the grant.

Selection Criteria:

The Davenport Institute understands that governing and civic institutions define "civic engagement" in a myriad of ways – from informing to involving their publics. The following factors will be considered in the awarding of all Citizen Engagement Grants:


  1. While you may be very concerned about the particular issue, can you conduct this process without biasing the outcome?
  2. Along with support and advice from your funded consultant and the Davenport Institute are you also willing to commit staff resources towards the engagement project? How?
  3. While the Davenport Institute is not looking for guarantees that the results of a project will be fully and completely implemented, what is the commitment of key administrators and elected’s to use the work of their citizens in the decision-making process?
  4. The Davenport Institute would expect to receive a brief performance review of the engagement process after its completion summarizing lessons learned and successes.

Readiness (of issue and recipient):

  1. Have you reached a stage in the decision-making process where your organization is ready to begin involving citizens in the next several months?
  2. Briefly describe any civic engagement events (online or in-person) you have previously done.