National Contribution Project

Pursue what matters most to you.

Cohort 1: Spring 2024
Cohort 2: Fall 2024 (information coming soon!)

Spring 2024 applications are now closed.


Sign Up To Stay In The Loop!
colorful illustration of three diverse people holding an oversized lightbulb, using an oversized watering can, and harvesting gold coins from the ground

Receive $400 to make a contribution.

The National Contribution Project accepts applications from young people ages 15-25 who are affiliated with our partner organizations and are seeking to make an impact through contribution.

How would you like to contribute to your family, school, neighborhood, and community? We want to hear from you.

We offer $400 to accepted applicants to help you pursue your ideas over the course of seven weeks.

This project is driven by a belief in the power of contribution — for you and those who benefit from your efforts.

The Contribution Project began at Cornell University in 2019. Some examples of past projects include:

  • Podcast

    Create a podcast that covers emerging issues that are important to your community.

  • Business

    Start an online hair care retailer, marketplace and research center dedicated to people with textured hair.

  • Nature

    Create and install birdhouses for native birds in your area.

  • Food

    Create a program to reduce food waste and food insecurity on your school campus.

  • Art

    Buy art supplies to create art that gets donated to local hospitals.

  • Access

    Expand access across your school campus through increased braille signage.

  • Technology

    Create a data-tracking tool for agriculture to digitize and revolutionize record keeping for farmers.

  • Celebration

    Host an event to celebrate first-generation students on your campus.

How it works

Stay in the Loop!


Share your idea for a contribution in a simple application — just three questions!

Receive your award

You will receive $400 directly to spend on your contribution project throughout the seven week project term.

Pursue your contribution

You are in complete control, independently planning and acting on your project throughout the seven-week project term.

Survey & learnings

When you’ve completed your contribution project, complete a survey to let us know how your project went, and anything else you want to share.

Only three questions to apply!

You can submit your application in ANY format — you decide! Videos, audio, essays, presentations, etc. Choose the format where you are most comfortable and confident!

  • What contribution would you like to make?
  • Why does this contribution matter to you?
  • You have seven weeks for your Contribution Project. In detail, tell us what you plan to do during that time. (Consider sharing your thoughts about timeline, budget, and general goals.)

What can I choose to pursue for my Contribution Project?

Your Contribution Project must meet the following criteria:

  • It should be feasible so that you can reasonably take action in the next seven weeks.
  • It cannot:
    • be reasonably imagined to cause harm to yourself or other people.
    • be used to purchase weapons or to engage in, support, or promote violence of any kind.
    • be used to engage in political activities or voter registration drives.
    • be spent outside the United States.

If you have questions, contact us at

So, what’s the catch? Headline – there isn’t one!

Contributions drive progress. We believe that your contribution projects will become catalysts for impactful innovation and positive change. Projects like yours create ripples that extend beyond the present moment and immediate surroundings.

And, science backs it! Research suggests that engaging in acts of service, innovation, and community-building doesn’t just benefit others; it fuels personal growth, well-being, and purpose.

We support your contribution projects in hopes of creating a brighter, more innovative future for everyone. We believe the world will thrive on your energy and groundbreaking ideas. We can’t wait to see what you do!


  • Who is eligible to apply?

    Any young person ages 15-25 who is involved with one of our partner organizations

  • How are contributions selected?

  • Can I apply more than once?

  • Can I apply as part of a group?

  • Can I request a different amount of funding?

  • When is the application deadline?

  • What is expected of me if I receive a contribution award?

We are excited to bring together a diverse group of partners who are supporting the National Contribution Project, including the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, the Bezos Family Foundation, the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research at Cornell University, GripTape, and Hopelab.