Mini Grant Applications

In recent years, there has been an increasing awareness of basic needs insecurity among college students, as new data have shown the extent of homelessness and food insecurity in California. A crucial tool in the efforts to address basic needs insecurity among college students is the creation of basic needs centers on college campuses. John Burton Advocates for Youth has received funding from the ECMC Foundation Basic Needs Initiative to issue small grants to five to seven community college campuses in California to create new basic needs centers or expand or scale existing basic needs work. The goal of this investment is not only to enable individual campuses to better serve students, but also to inform efforts related to the effective scaling of this approach, highlight best practices and develop mechanisms for reducing basic needs insecurity systemically, such as by improving access to financial aid.

CLICK HERE to download the application. Applications are due by November 8, 2020.


Please send any questions to [email protected]. All questions received will be posted below. Applicants are encouraged to check this page regularly for updates.

  • Will the $15,000 grant be distributed as a single payment in January 2021?

    Yes, funds will be disbursed in a single payment as soon as the MOU is executed.

  • Are these funds limited to a geographic area?

    There are no geographic limitations, so long as you are operating in California, through your campus.

  • For the question in the application that asks for total enrollment, do you prefer to have the number for full-time equivalency (FTE) or head count?

    Please provide head count.

  • In regards to question #5, “Provide between one to three outcomes you expect to see from the grant,” do you want specific outcomes, such as increase retention by 15% or do you want general outcomes, such as increased retention?

    The outcomes will really depend on where you are with your basic needs work on campus. A program that is just launching will have different goals than a long-established one. Your outcomes should be meaningful, attainable, and reasonable to you, whether they relate to specific numbers or not. If you choose to offer an outcome such as increased retention, it should include a specific quantitative measure, however other measures, such as expanding your menu of services to include a new element, would not require a numerical measure.

  • The grant application asks the following question, “Is your campus financial aid director willing to partner with the basic needs center and the JBAY team to assess opportunities to expand access to financial aid for students?” What exactly does that mean?

    We are interested to know if the financial aid office would be willing to discuss ways in which to maximize financial aid to students, within the rules of financial aid. It’s been our experience that some financial aid offices are more willing than others to think creatively about how to maximize aid to students, as a basic needs strategy. We would like chosen campuses to undergo a review of policies in areas such as homeless determinations for independent status, SAP appeal policies, policies related to COA adjustments, etc. to determine where changes could be made to better accommodate students experiencing homelessness.