Innovation Grants

Background Info

Innovation has been a hallmark of Northwestern Michigan College since before we were founded. Community leaders, seeking a new model for higher education, obtained legislation that helped make NMC the first community college in Michigan.

Innovation remains central to how we operate today, and was formally articulated in our Values by the Board of Trustees in 2007: “We will continuously improve the learning experience and its relevance to those we serve through innovation, agility and thoughtful risk-taking.”

To help encourage and support innovation, the NMC Board of Trustees asked the NMC Foundation to establish Innovation Grant Funds for faculty, staff and students.

The innovation grant program was established to fund innovative initiatives — ideas and opportunities that emerge during the year and occur outside of normal NMC budget sources and processes.

What does innovation mean to NMC?

  • (innovate) introduce: bring something new to an environment;
  • (innovative) Characterized by the creation of new ideas or things; Forward looking; ahead of current thinking
  • Innovation is a change in the thought process for doing something, or the useful application of new inventions or discoveries. It may refer to an incremental emergent change in thinking, products, or processes at NMC.

Application Info

The innovation grant fund provides approximately $50,000 per year in available funding. Most successful applications are in the range of $500–$5,000. However, applicants are invited to submit proposals for any amount. The Committee may consider multi-year funding, may fund part of your proposal, or may be able to suggest other sources of funding if needed.

The Committee encourages ideas that are innovative based on location, scale, or incorporation of new ideas. We also encourage projects that involve local businesses, community members, and support the community at large.

Download the application (PDF) »

Download the guidelines (PDF) »

This application can be filled out in your browser or the free Acrobat Reader, saved and emailed to It includes a built-in budget guide that you can use to automatically calculate the cost of your project by entering individual item costs.


Applications are due the area VP by the first of August, December and April.

In addition to application materials, all applicants will be asked to make a five-minute presentation to the committee to explain their proposal and answer questions.

Funded projects

These are some of the Student Innovation Grants that have been awarded:

  • Baja Car
  • Native American Students presentation
  • Submersible Laser Scanner

Faculty & Staff projects that have been funded include:

  • Writing & Reading Center
  • Learning 2.0 Initiative
  • Dennos Artist in Residence
  • Online Lecture Video Capture

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