Innovation Fund
Community Innovation Fund

Founded and supported by Chancellor Barnhart, the MindHandHeart Community Innovation Fund seeks to leverage the creativity and problem-solving skills of MIT students, staff, and faculty to strengthen the fabric of our community. The Fund supports a wide array of projects that increase awareness about mental health, build communities of support, promote life skills, foster resiliency, and advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and racial justice.  The next application cycle will open in March 2022.  If you have an idea that you would like to discuss before the spring, please contact Maryanne Kirkbride at

The Fund offers grants of up to $10,000 and is organized into two tiers:

  1. Proposals requesting over $2,000 should constitute a substantial one-time investment, system update, or innovative tool. Examples include courses, research studies, apps, innovative event series, classroom interventions, and other large-scale projects.
  2. Proposals requesting $2,000 or less may constitute projects that spark community connections using existing methods to bring people together. In light of Covid-19, this could include virtual coloring sessions, virtual game nights, virtual book clubs, and virtual origami tutorials.

All projects must adhere to physical distancing and sanitary practices that help keep the MIT community safe. For more information, visit MIT Medical's FAQ: Covid-19 page.

Examples of Community Innovation Fund projects include:

  • MIT Connect, a digital platform connecting like-minded members of the MIT community for lunch.
  • FAIL!, an event series aiming to de-stigmatize failure and build resilience.
  • You Belong @ MIT, a Teaching and Learning Lab initiative fostering academic belonging in the classroom and academic departments.
  • Portraits of Resilience, a book capturing the stories of MIT students and faculty who have overcome adversity.
  • Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Week, a week bringing the MIT community together through spontaneous acts of generosity.
  • Puppy Lab, a student-led initiative bringing friendly canine company to campus.
  • OpenMind::OpenArt, an art workshop and gallery drawing attention to mental health and wellness at MIT.
  • Notice and Respond, a training to help faculty, staff, and students recognize and respond to mental health concerns.
  • Motivate and Move, a series of programs to help graduate students develop healthy work and self-care skills in combination with physical exercise.
  • Failures in Graduate School, an event series where faculty share personal stories of overcoming failure.
  • Sunshine Makes Us Happy, colorful Adirondack chairs placed in MIT’s Eastman Court.
  • Indoor Lawn, a surprise indoor lawn that appeared in the Student Center to calm and entertain.