Small Change, Better World is not currently accepting applications, if you have an idea please reach out to


The model—Small Change, Better World—was conceived a decade ago by three humanitarian workers—Michael Beevers, Richard Matthew and Renard Sexton—working in Sierra Leone. After visiting many villages impacted by a decade of civil war, they realized that most existing programming cannot undertake very small projects, even when these are important to the community and require some external support. From replacing lost musical instruments to finding the parts to a piece of heavy equipment donated from abroad, opportunities exist for small changes to create a better world.
Small Change, Better World provides seed grants to Dickinson students to propose projects addressing a one-time, specific, and tangible need in a local, national, or global community. Proposed projects must require less than $1,000 and be achievable within a short period of time, such as a semester or academic year.
Small Change, Better World seed grants give students an opportunity to meet tangible needs in their own communities or in places they have visited and worked in. We hope that the experience gained through these projects will inspire students to continue to take actions to address 21st century challenges in ways that are effective, fair, and appropriate.

At Dickinson

Today, Small Change, Better World has reached various college campuses. After the program was successfully implemented at University of California Irvine, Dickinson’s Environmental Studies Department Chair, Professor Beevers, proposed Small Change, Better World at Dickinson College.
This year, the Center for Civic Learning & Action (CCLA) is piloting Small Change, Better World because we believe Dickinsonians can identify and solve challenges at this scale.


Any Dickinson student, regardless of class year, is eligible to submit an application.
Please keep in mind that Small Change, Better World grants:

  • Address a finite, one-time need
  • Address a gap in support rather than a travel expense or programmatic activity that the partner institution already has the jurisdiction and/or capability to support
  • Have a clear vision for impact and social change in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


Each proposal will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Overall Project (25%): An explanation of the proposed project that creates a thorough vision for implementation and describes how the project is feasible, innovative, and collaborative.
  • Statement of Need (25%): A desription of the community-identified need the proposal is intended to address, and why the student wants to implement this project. Students will also need to include an itemized budget narrative.
  • Project Impact (20%): Articulated outcomes for the project's stakeholders including community members and students as well as provide a project impact statement.
  • Theory of Change (15%): A clear presentation of how the intended action will address the need and lead to the desired change. Students will choose one or more Sustainable Development Goals that their desired project aligns with.
  • Assessment and Dissemination Plan (15%): A well-defined plan for documenting the outputs, outcomes, and impacts of the project. Students must also provide a strategy to identify any challenges that may arise during the implementation of their project.

All eligible proposals will be reviewed by a panel of Dickinson faculty, staff, and students. The Center for Civic Learning & Action will serve as the administrator for awarded funds; Dickinson College financial and procurement policies will apply to all expenditures.