Skip to main content
Community-campus partners gather at tables during UNC Rural's Annual Retreat

Get Involved

Join UNC Rural’s growing network of community-campus partners who serve North Carolina’s rural communities. Together, we have engaged 400+ community-campus partners, developed 27 partnerships serving 1,780+ rural NC residents, and partnered in $650K+ rural grant funding.

Programs and Funding Opportunities

Rural Community Conversations

UNC Rural is traveling across North Carolina to meet with rural community leaders. Our local partners in dozens of communities across the state are helping us coordinate a variety of meaningful meetings.

  • When & Where: Spring 2024 in dozens of places in each region of the state
  • Why: To build trust and open communication between rural partners and UNC-CH
  • How: Introduce ourselves, listen and be a better resource
UNC Rural map of North Carolina with photo collage of community-campus partnerships serving rural communities

Tar Heel Bus Tour Grants

Each year UNC Rural funds community-campus teams to expand ideas and collaborations sparked by UNC faculty participation in the Tar Heel Bus Tour (THBT). Each team receives between $5,000-$10,000 for an issue or community explored during the THBT or any engaged scholarship with practical implications for North Carolina, including:

  • Developing community dissemination for existing research.
  • Developing or enhancing a community component for ongoing work.
  • Implementing a pilot project with potential for larger funding from other sources.
  • Establishing a community partnership to explore local issues for future scholarship.

Applications must be submitted by March 28, 2024 in the Carolina Center for Public Service Application and Nomination Portal.

Tar Heel Bus Tour NC icon with the UNC-CH Old Well icon and outline of the state of North Carolina

Carolina Engagement Week: Feb. 26-March 1, 2024

Carolina Engagement Week is led by The Carolina Center for Public Service to celebrate collaborations across North Carolina through events and workshops. Each year UNC Rural co-sponsors Engagement Week with a goal of increasing participation by rural partners.

UNC Engaged Scholarship Series

The UNC Engaged Scholarship Series (ESS) aims to bring together community and campus partners to share experiences and strengthen relationships. ESS is open to all community members and campus members who already are or would like to be involved in community-engaged work.

Don Cavellini of Project GRACE speaking to UNC faculty at Rocky Mount Mills in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. (Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Whole Community Connection

UNC Rural partners with the Office of Interprofessional Education and Practice to support Whole Community Connection, a leadership and grant funding program for community-campus partnerships in Edgecombe or Robeson County. Each team receives $45,000 for one year to implement their projects while growing as leaders through networking, coaching, and more. The 2023 awarded teams include:

  • Tarboro Community Garden
  • Robeson Parent 2 Parent
  • HOPE Alternative Learning Program
  • Whole Together Robeson
Whole Community Connection community-campus partners gather in Pembroke, North Carolina.

Rural Research, Engagement and Advancement Fund

The Rural Research, Engagement and Advancement Fund (RREAF) addresses a critical need for rural research partnership support for community-engaged faculty and staff through one-year awards up to $15,000.

2024 recipients will be notified in March. The next cycle of applications will be due January 31, 2025.

Example of community-academic partnership for Rural Research Engagement and Advancement Fund. In this photo, Gina Hofert, SUN Project manager, demonstrates complications traditionally found with patient intake processes.

UNC-Chapel Hill Community Engagement Mapping

UNC Rural is part of a design thinking team led by Innovate Carolina that is exploring ways to better map and coordinate UNC community-campus partnerships. A key aspect of this process is further defining “what is rural engagement?” and how that is measured.

Leave a Reply