The Resilient Communities Project (RCP) at the University of Minnesota (U of MN) is now accepting letters of intent from cities and counties that wish to apply to be RCP’s community partner for the 2017–2018 academic year (July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018). The selection process is competitive, and the partner community must support the effort through dedicated staff time and a local financial contribution. Download complete application instructions here.

What Is RCP?

RCP is a year-long partnership between the University of Minnesota and one local community in Minnesota. Through the partnership, students and faculty from across the University collaborate with the partner community to address its self-defined sustainability-related needs through course-based projects. The collaboration results in on-the-ground impact and momentum for a community working toward a more sustainable and livable future.

How Does the Partnership Work?

RCP provides the partner community with efficient access to the broad base of sustainability expertise at the University of Minnesota by matching community-identified projects with graduate and upper-level undergraduate  courses that can address the needs of the community. The partner community supports the effort through dedicated staff time and a local funding contribution.

RCP has the capacity to address 10–30 local projects during the partnership year, matching each project with one or more courses to complete the necessary work. Project work will be completed primarily by graduate students, with direct oversight by faculty members and RCP staff.

Assistance is available related to all aspects of sustainability (e.g., environmental health, economic opportunity, social equity, and community livability) and all stages of sustainability efforts (analysis, planning, design, implementation, and evaluation). Participating students and faculty represent a wide range of disciplines, from architecture, planning, and engineering to business, environmental sciences, and the humanities. Most projects combine multiple disciplines to address problems from diverse perspectives.


Cities, counties, and clusters of communities (for example, along a shared transportation corridor, around a regional center, or within a watershed) are eligible to apply. To minimize travel time and costs, applicant communities should ideally be located within a two-hour drive of Minneapolis. Communities located further away from Minneapolis will be considered if additional funds are contributed for overnight travel costs.

How Does a Community Apply to the Program?

Based on feedback from previous community partners and applicants to the program, this year RCP has instituted a two-phase application process to make the process easier and less time-consuming for applicants:

Phase I: Letter of Intent to Apply. The purpose of the letter of intent (LOI) is to demonstrate your community’s interest in, organizational support for, and financial and staff capacity to support a one-year partnership with RCP. Timeline: Call issued July 18, 2016; LOI due September 15, 2016; notification by September 30, 2016 if invited to submit a formal application.

Phase II: Program Application. Based on the LOI, selected communities will be invited to apply to the RCP program. The purpose of the application is to identify and describe specific projects, staff project leads, and community partners for the one-year partnership with RCP. Timeline: Invitation to submit an application transmitted by September 30, 2016; program application due February 15, 2017; selected community partner announced by March 15, 2017; partnership begins July 1, 2017 and ends June 30, 2018.

Download complete instructions for submitting a Letter of Intent and Program Application. If you have questions about RCP, the letter of intent, or the application process, please contact Mike Greco, RCP Director, or 612-625-7501.