Tackling Grand Challenges: The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations Invest in DU Grand Challenges

DU Grand Challenges (DUGC) was born of a belief that transformative learning and discovery occurs when students, faculty, and communities collaborate to tackle the world’s most urgent problems. A new $300,000 grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations (AVDF) will move DU closer to realizing that belief.

An initial Planning Grant from AVDF allowed DUGC to pilot a suite of curricular, scholarly, creative, and co-curricular activities that deepen undergraduate community-engaged public good work around three issues: improving daily living, increasing economic opportunity, and advancing deliberation and action for the public good. For example, through the DUGC Champions program (now DUGC Student Scholars), students:

  • Carried out faculty-mentored scholarship with diverse organizations, ranging from the Denver Rescue Mission and West Highlands Neighborhood Association to Denver K-12 schools
  • Developed leadership and communication skills through DUGC workshops and events, and presented their scholarly work alongside faculty and community partners at DUGC Forums; and
  • Integrated their learning through reflective ePortfolios with mentoring from faculty and staff.

AVDF funding will allow DUGC to both deepen and scaffold its program suite, integrating high impact practices to enrich students’ academic learning and public identity development while building a culture of interdisciplinary, community-engaged collaboration across the DU campus. Over the next two academic years, DUGC will engage at least 750 undergraduate students – a 500% increase from the Planning Grant, in robust opportunities to drive collaborative, multidisciplinary public problem-solving.

Thanks to AVDF’s generous investment in DUGC, DU and communities will continue to aspire, act, and achieve to improve daily living, increase economic opportunity, and advance deliberation and action for the public good.


To learn more about DUGC, visit here, and consider hosting A Community Table conversation this quarter!

To learn more about Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, visit their website.

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