Nielson Social Change Innovation Grant

The Nielson Social Change Innovation Grant program is facilitated by the Center for Social Change and Community Involvement. The grant supports Lewis & Clark College undergraduate student-initiated projects and is designed to:

  • Fund effective and transformative social change initiatives; 
  • Encourage innovation and creativity to explore what is possible;
  • Equip communities that our students care about, both locally and globally, with the tools required to positively impact social change;
  • Develop and test ideas, solve problems, and create opportunities.

Made possible through the generosity of Patrick Nielson ’71 and his wife Dorris Nielson, the Nielson Social Change Innovation Grant provides Lewis & Clark College undergraduate students with funds to cover costs such as equipment or technology, educational resources, travel expenses, or other items used to strengthen grassroots efforts for progressive, systemic social change.  This fund prioritizes applications that address community outreach and education, leadership development, root cause and power analysis, and coalition building.  Proposals that directly address racial equity and social justice will be prioritized.

Grant recipients may receive an award between $500-$5,000.  Multiple grants will be given annually to an individual or group (undergraduates only) who submits a winning proposal.

For more information, please see the Information Packet linked below or contact our office at

Information Packet

Grant Proposal Writing Guidelines

2024 Grant Proposals are closed. Applications will open again in the 2024-2025 academic year. Please check back!

Click Here to Apply

Meet the 2023 Nielson Social Change Innovation Grant Recipients 

Student innovators, Amani Rene Pacifique and Mikayel Kamendatyan, were awarded the 2023 Nielson Social Change Innovation Grant to support their projects, the “Future Leader Program - One Help One Direction Ihumure” and “Revive Armenian Youth.” Learn more about this year’s grant recipients and their projects that seek to create positive social change within their communities.

One Help One Direction: Future Leaders Program

Amani Rene Pacifique

Hometown : Rwanda, Eastern-Central Africa

Major: Dallaire Scholar

Description: Amani’s project titled “Future Leader Program” aims to provide young people with a platform for developing their leadership and entrepreneurship skills. The Future Leader Program offers a one-week boot camp to boys and girls between the ages of 17 and 20 who are from traumatic backgrounds. This project was developed under his nonprofit “One Help One Direction Ihumure” organization, which focuses on the generational trauma transmitted and is based in Rwanda/Kigali.

“I firmly believe that investing in youth by teaching them and providing them with resources is the best way to change the world”, he said.

Learn more about Amani’s project…

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Learn more about “One Help One Direction Ihumure”

Revive Armenian Youth

Mikayel Kamendatyan ’24

Hometown: Armenia, South Caucasus

Major: International Affairs and History

Description: Mikayel’s project aims to promote a safe and healthy community in order to prevent youth from low-income districts of the capital city Yerevan from engaging in online gambling, drug abuse, and other destructive activities such as crime, which are currently gaining huge momentum in Yerevan. The project targets youth aged 14-21 and was implemented with the collaboration of “Revive Armenian Youth team”.

“Our ultimate focus is education, as we consider it an asset that can never be stolen or lost”, he said.

Learn more about Mikayel’s project…

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Meet the 2022 Nielson Social Change Innovation Grant Recipients 

Two students, José Maidana and Lati Savadogo, each received $5K for their projects, “Plateâu.Ar” and “SOS Education,” that promote social justice and racial equity as funded by the Nielson Social Change Innovation Grant. Earlier this year, The Center For Social Change and Community Involvement launched the grant program to fund student initiatives in community outreach, leadership development, and education