Ella T. Grasso Community Service Grant (7/15)

Grasso-Grant_r1In 2011, the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame launched the Ella T. Grasso Leadership in Action Grant Program*, designed to honor the late Governor Ella Tambussi Grasso and her lifetime of public service and civic engagement. Believing that there is no better way to learn leadership skills than by developing and implementing a project plan and also that young people have the potential to find creative new ways to address community issues and problems, we strive to encourage and applaud their ingenuity. Our goal is to provide opportunities for college students to have real-world leadership-in-training experiences that foster real social change. Grant recipients will design and implement a community action project from start to finish. A faculty advisor/sponsor’s involvement is required, but it is the student who will develop the specifics of the project, outline goals and objectives for its outcomes, put together a plan for its implementation, create budgets and timelines, follow through with the project’s implementation, and report on successes, failures, and the true impact of the project on the community.

Grant Details

Grant(s) will be awarded each fall to young women enrolled at Connecticut colleges or universities to fund or partially fund community action or public service projects. The project must be completed within one year following the grant award. Deadline for submission of applications: July 15. Download Application Form (PDF)


Young women entering their junior or senior year at a Connecticut college or university are eligible to apply. Second-year students enrolled at two-year community colleges are also eligible. Students enrolled in a graduate program are also eligible to apply. Applicants intending to carry out a community action project in Connecticut during the grant period are eligible to apply for the grant. Applicants are eligible regardless of their primary area of study.

What kinds of projects are eligible?

Any community action, community service, or community outreach project is eligible for consideration.  Additionally, because of our 2014 theme, Shaping our World: Women in Design & Innovation, eligible projects can address a community problem or issue in an innovative way. Possible examples include educational programs; STEM-focused programs for girls; projects affiliated with a community service/non-profit organization; community service projects that help the homeless, the aging, women in crisis, or other underserved groups; and projects that help preserve the environment, advance technology or scientific study. Preference will be given to projects focusing on serving women or raising awareness of women’s issues and/or projects that pertain to this year’s STEM-related theme.

Interim and Follow-Up Reporting

Each grant recipient will be required to present her project and its final results to a special committee composed of CWHF staff, Board of Trustee members, and/or representatives from CWHF sponsoring organizations. In addition to final reporting, interim progress reports will be required with the schedule for these reports to be determined based on the timeline submitted for the project. Electronic versions of the project and results reports will be archived on the CWHF website to serve as a resource for future students and researchers. The project must be completed and its resultant reports submitted to CWHF no later than one year from the date of the grant award.

At the discretion of the CWHF, its Board, and sponsoring partners, applicants selected for final consideration may be asked for an in-person interview prior to grant awards. Awards will be presented at the CWHF’s Annual Induction Ceremony.  Attendance of grant recipients is expected at the event.


*Amber Smith ’14 won the Ella Grasso Grant in 2013. Read more here.

Jelisa Adair

I am the Civic Engagement Fellow for 2013-2014. While a student at Wesleyan I double majored in Psychology and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and completed a joint thesis during my senior year. I am interested in issues of social justice, mental health, media, and global welfare.