Engaging Communities: Call for Applications

With trust in the media weakening on both sides of the Atlantic, journalism is under pressure to reinvent itself in order to fulfill its vital role in safeguarding democracy. News media organizations are recognizing the importance of engaging the public through storytelling, transparent newsrooms, and community outreach projects.

Are you interested in expanding an existing engagement project? With funding from Robert Bosch Stiftung and News Integrity Initiative, the University of Oregon’s Agora Journalism Center is offering eight mini-grants across Europe and North America to fund community engagement activities.

The project, “Engaging Communities: Reflecting on the Work of Engaged Journalism,” aims to achieve cross-border collaboration with engagement practitioners in the media by supporting existing projects focused on building connections and trust with their communities.  We aim to convene projects that will benefit from reflecting on how to assess, demonstrate and articulate the value and impact of their relational engagement work.

Selected applicants will receive up to € 10,120 in support and mobility grant funding to expand on their engagement project as well as attend two facilitated sessions with the grantee cohort to share best practices and recognize opportunities for collaboration. Each project leader/project representative will also visit a fellow participant’s project in order to gain a deeper understanding of the day-to-day operations of their engagement work.

How to Apply

  • Prepare an application in English using the following Google Form. All applications are due by Friday, April 19 before 5 pm PT / 17:00 (GMT-8).
  • Designate a project leader who will communicate with Agora Journalism Center staff and oversee the completion of the proposed project.
  • Save the date for the initial Engaging Communities workshop in Portland, OR, June 13-14, 2019.
  • We encourage applications from projects that are embedded within news media organizations.


Selected project recipients will receive up to €10,120. This award includes the expected expenses for traveling to two cohort gatherings, one in the U.S. and one in Europe, as well as the cross-border visit to another project. Additionally, selected projects will receive mentorship and guidance from leading practitioners.


  • Participating projects must be based in North America or Europe (as defined by the Council of Europe). Prior to applying, project leaders must already have some relational engagement project in the works with their community either digitally or in-real-life. We encourage applications from projects that are embedded within a news media organization.
  • In terms of time commitment, all project leaders must:
    • Be available for the Engaging Communities workshop in Portland, OR, on June 13-14, 2019.
    • Be available to visit another project site during the summer/fall of 2019 and welcome a fellow Engaging Communities participant at his or her host site.
    • Be available to participate in a follow-up Engaging Communities convening in Europe in November, 2019 (dates and location TBD).
    • Participate in monthly video conference calls with the cohort as well as their project mentors.
    • Share best practices at the Engaging Communities workshops and gatherings as well as in a brief project report.
  • Participating projects are expected to utilize the Engaged Journalism Reflective Practice Guide (RPG), which will be introduced at the first convening, to assess their engagement project.  Grantees must commit to implementing the Engaged Journalism Reflective Practice Guide according to guidelines that will be provided.


  • April 19: Deadline to submit completed applications.
  • April 30: Awardees will be informed
  • May 15: Public announcement of the awarded projects
  • June 13-14: Attend the gathering in Portland to participate in a peer-learning workshop.
  • July-October: Carry out cross-border visits.  At least one project representative per team is expected to visit one other project for mutual learning and exchange.
  • November: Attend a second gathering with the cohort in Europe. Details to come.


Please direct any additional questions not answered in our FAQ  below to Engaging Communities’ project director, Andrew DeVigal, at adevigal@uoregon.edu.


How will the project leader receive the grant funds?

The grant can only be paid to the project leader and not to an organization. For administrative reasons, there can only be one grant recipient per project. The funds will be distributed in U.S. dollars via check or wire transfer (for individuals outside the United States).

After the selection process, awardees will be notified immediately. Project leaders will be asked to sign a contract (Memorandum of Understanding) with the University of Oregon that will include:

  • Duration of the project;
  • Intended purpose of the project and terms of use;
  • Confirmed participation in the launch/closing workshops and cross-border visits;
  • End-of-project review: brief report on the project implemented, including lessons learned from the workshops and cross-border visit.

How can the grant money be used?

The grant money can be used in any way to support your relational engagement project. However, a portion of the funds must be used to travel from your home to the following gatherings:

  • Portland, OR, June 13-14, to attend a kick-off workshop with the rest of the cohort.
  • The cross-border visit to another Engaging Communities project for mutual learning and exchange. These visits must happen between July and October 2019.
  • Europe in November to attend another two-day closing workshop. Details to follow.

Project leaders will be responsible for making their own travel and hotel arrangements with the grant money. We can provide a list of recommended local hotels. Meals will be provided during the workshops in Portland and Europe.

Due to administrative reasons, the funds will likely be distributed after the June gathering. Once the sub-awardee has signed the contract with the University of Oregon, funds will be distributed in a lump sum. UO Contracting takes 6-8 weeks to process, so we encourage sub-awardees to submit required paperwork and signatures in a timely manner to expedite the contract. Sub-awardees are still required to attend the June gathering in Portland even if the contract has not been fully executed.

Which taxes have to be paid?

The grant is subject to the taxation laws of your country, which might deviate significantly from the U.S. Please get professional advice on this in your home country. We cannot assist with the taxes you might have to pay.

What kinds of community engagement projects should apply?

We seek applications of engagement projects that strengthen the relationship between a local news organization and communities they serve. Project activities may include, for example, building community networks, making opportunities for dialogue between diverse community members, or equipping the public in aspects of the journalistic process. Examples of engaged journalism projects can be found on Gather’s list of case studies and featured projects.

We encourage applications from projects that are embedded within a media organization that is dedicated to building and preserving trusting relationships between journalists and the public.

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