Civic Engagement and Service Awards, Grants, and Fellowships

This page provides information on civic engagement and community service-related awards, grants, and fellowships available to college students.  Click below for information on:


Caring Institute—Caring Awards

Every year, the Caring Institute pays tribute to the most caring adults and young adults in the world.  Nominations are taken year round, and anyone can visit the Caring Institute’s website to nominate a candidate (  The nominees are submitted for a yearly vote to the Caring Institute’s Board of Trustees, representing leaders in a wide range of fields.  The winners are equally diverse, and this becomes clear when their stories appear in the award-winning magazine CARING.  They are also honored at a series of events in Washington, DC, and inducted into the Caring Hall of Fame.

Congressional Award

The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ award for young Americans.  It is non-partisan, voluntary, and non-competitive.  The program is open to all 14- to 23-year-olds.  Participants earn Bronze, Silver and Gold Congressional Award Certificates and Bronze, Silver and Gold Congressional Award Medals.  Each level involves setting goals in four program areas: Volunteer Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration.

Do Something Awards

Since 1996, has honored the nation’s best young world-changers, 25 and under.  Do Something Award nominees and winners represent the pivotal “do-ers” in their field, cause, or issue.  In 2012 (up to) five finalists will appear on the Do Something Awards on Vh1 and be rewarded with a community grant of $10,000, media coverage and continued support from  The grand prize winner will receive $100,000 during the broadcast.

Dollars for Scholars Community Volunteer Service Award (CVSA)

Scholarship America Dollars for Scholars’ Community Volunteer Service Award (CVSA) encourages and rewards community service while applauding and supporting academic excellence.  Applicants must be enrolled or planning to enroll in an accredited institution for the first time, and must demonstrate both community service and academic achievement.  Winners will receive a $500 scholarship; the top ten applicants will automatically be entered in Scholarship America’s Student Volunteer of the Year competition for an even larger award.

To apply, students will need to fill out a profile on the Scholarship America Student Center; in addition to the CVSA, this profile will also match you to other local and national scholarships.

Students applying for this award need to receive a recommendation from their local Dollars for Scholars chapter.

Earth Island Institute—Brower Youth Awards

Earth Island Institute established the Brower Youth Awards to honor founder and legendary activist David R. Brower.  The Brower Youth Awards recognizes six young people in North America annually for their outstanding activism and achievements in the fields of environmental and environmental justice advocacy.  The winners of the award receive a $3,000 cash prize, a trip to California for the award ceremony and wilderness camping trip, and ongoing access to resources and opportunities to further their work at Earth Island Institute.  Young activist leaders ages 13-22 living in North America are eligible to apply.

Jefferson Awards For Public Service

The Jefferson Awards are a prestigious national recognition system honoring community and public service in America.  The Jefferson Awards are presented on two levels: national and local.  They began in 1972 to create a Nobel Prize for public service.  Today, their primary purpose is to serve as a “Call to Action for Volunteers” in local communities.

Nominations are accepted here:

Nestlé Very Best In Youth Program

Nestlé has been a proud sponsor of the biennial Nestlé Very Best In Youth program for more than 15 years.  Created to spotlight the best in youth leadership, the program identifies teens whose efforts are making a profound difference in the lives of others.  Nestlé helps young people, who want to make a difference, realize their dreams by donating $1,000 in the name of each winner to the charity of his/her choice.  Nestlé also awards the winner a trip for them and a parent or guardian to Los Angeles, California for the Nestlé Very Best In Youth awards ceremony.  The trip includes round trip coach air travel, hotel accommodations for three nights, and spending money.  Each contestant will receive a certificate of achievement from Nestlé.

Contestants must be between 14 and 18 years of age and have parental or legal guardian permission to submit the entry form. Contestants must also demonstrate good citizenship, a strong academic record, and show how they have made a special contribution to their school, church or community.

President's Volunteer Service Award

Barnard College is now a certifying organization for the President's Volunteer Service Award.  Please click here for more information on this award program.

Students in Service Awards

Washington Campus Compact and Inspireum created the Students in Service Awards program to search the nation for outstanding college students who deserve recognition and reward for their inspirational efforts to address social and environmental challenges facing our communities.  In sharing their outstanding service stories, the organizers also hope to engage the broader public in supporting students, higher education, and nonprofit organizations as they work together to improve education and address community challenges. 

Youth Service America—Everyday Young Hero

Youth Service America (YSA) improves communities by increasing the number and the diversity of young people, ages 5-25, serving in substantive roles.  Founded in 1986, YSA supports a global culture of engaged youth committed to a lifetime of service, learning, leadership, and achievement.

The Everyday Young Hero program highlights one outstanding youth a week that are making extraordinary contributions and commitments to service.  Nominations must come from a parent, teacher, or other adult mentor; supporting material is recommended.  The Everyday Young Hero award is open to those between the ages of 5-25. 

Winners receive an announcement in YSA’s weekly National Serving e-Briefing, a certificate and letter from YSA’s President and CEO, a customized press release, local market media coverage, and publicity on the YSA's website, Twitter and Facebook accounts.

To nominate an Everyday Young Hero, click here:


Grants and Fellowships

Ashoka’s Youth Venture

Youth Venture inspires and invests in teams of young people to design and launch their own lasting social ventures, enabling them to have this transformative experience of leading positive social change.  Venturers start businesses, civil society organizations and informal programs that address all kinds of social issues, including poverty, health, the elderly, the environment, education, diversity issues, and the arts.  Youth Venture helps Venturers through this process of designing and launching their ventures, providing guidance, how-to’s, and a process for designing and pitching a venture idea.

When the Venture team is ready to launch, Youth Venture offers: seed funding of up to $1,000; guidance, tools and support; allies who provide advice, mentoring and expertise; a supportive network of fellow Youth Venturers; and identity as part of movement toward youth-led social change.

Venture’s leadership teams must be aged between 12 to 20 years old. 

Do Something Seed Grants

Do Something awards a $500 Do Something Seed Grant every week to help young people who are working to start a community action project or program and who need money to put their  ideas into action.  These grants can be used towards project ideas and programs that are just getting started, or to jump-start your program and realize ideas for the first time. These grants can also be used towards projects that are already developed and sustainable, towards the next steps of a project and organization to help expand projects and grow impact.

In order to be eligible to apply for a Do Something Grant, applicants must be 25 years old or younger and must be U.S. or Canadian citizens.

Echoing Green Fellowship

The two-year Echoing Green Fellowship program provides start-up capital and technical assistance to help new leaders launch their organizations and build capacity.  The program offers (i) a stipend of $60,000 for individuals ($90,000 for 2-person partnerships) paid in four equal installments over two years; (ii) a health insurance stipend; (iii) a yearly professional development stipend; (iv) conferences led by organizational development experts; (v) access to technical support and pro bono partnerships to help grow the fellow’s organization; (vi) a community of like-minded social entrepreneurs and public service leaders, including the Echoing Green network of nearly 500 alumni working all over the world.

J.W. Saxe Memorial Fund

The J.W. Saxe Memorial Fund awards a $2000 prize to one or more college or university students involved in public service to enable the student to gain practical experience in public service by taking a no-pay or low-pay job or internship during a summer or other term.  Preference will be given applicants who have already found such a position, but who require additional funds.

Applicants must be (i) undergraduate or graduate student in an accredited college or university; (ii) seeking support for an internship in public service, not general support; and (iii) have demonstrated public service activity.  Financial need of the student will be taken into consideration.

State Farm Youth Advisory Board

Thirty students, ages 17-20, from across the United States and Canada comprise the State Farm Youth Advisory Board.  They are charged with helping State Farm design and implement a $5 million-a-year signature service-learning initiative to address issues important to State Farm and communities across the United States and Canada.  Board Members are selected through a competitive application process, and all applications are read and reviewed by at least two members of an internal review team at Corporate.  The online application is available here:

Young People For Fellowship

Young People For (YP4) is a leadership development program focusing on identifying, engaging and empowering young progressive leaders to effect positive change on their campuses and in their communities.  The one-year fellowship equips young people with the skills and resources necessary to create positive progressive change today.

Each year Young People For selects approximately 150 students from across the country to take part in the fellowship program.  Fellows will participate in regional trainings, mentorship, and the National Summit in Washington, DC.  At the regional trainings and the Summit, Fellows will meet other young progressive leaders from all over the country and learn powerful strategies and tactics for creating sustainable social change.

Throughout the fellowship, Fellows will be offered one-on-one coaching, technical support and media assistance while implementing a self-designed Blueprint for Social Justice.  In addition to support for the Blueprint, Fellows will also receive help with internship placements, job opportunities, travel opportunities, and networking opportunities to add to the Fellows’ abilities to make an impact as a young leader.

All undergraduate students at two- and four-year institutions are eligible for this fellowship.


Launched in 2001 by the International Youth Foundation, YouthActionNet strengthens, supports, and celebrates the role of young people in leading positive change in their communities. Each year, 20 exceptional young social entrepreneurs are selected as YouthActionNet Global Fellows following a competitive application process.  Through the year-long program, participants refine their leadership skills, collaborate across national boundaries, and advocate for their causes at the global level.  There is not a monetary award connected with the Fellowship.

Youth Service America Grants

Youth Service America (YSA) improves communities by increasing the number and the diversity of young people, ages 5-25, serving in substantive roles.  Founded in 1986, YSA supports a global culture of engaged youth committed to a lifetime of service, learning, leadership, and achievement. YSA provides funding and recognition through grants and awards geared toward youth, educators, service-learning coordinators, and program partners.  YSA’s open grants can be found here: