Causeway Challenge VI: Civic Engagement

The Causeway Challenge is all about empowering individuals to solve problems in their own communities. Since 2014, we have awarded nearly $200,000 to grassroots leaders who have made Chattanooga more connected, pushed us to be a more inclusive city, shown us the power of play, inspired more parents to get involved in their children’s education, and empowered youth to create safer communities

For our sixth Challenge, in partnership with the Mozilla Foundation, we are asking, “How can we use creativity to increase civic engagement in Chattanooga?” Civic engagement is defined as, “promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes.” Using creativity to build solutions does more than just add a little flavor. We know that design, art, and creative thinking can make complex processes more approachable, digestible, and enjoyable, all leading to more lasting change. Apply before July 31st at midnight with your best idea to creatively promote civic engagement! 


How does it work?


Dates to Remember:

June 28
Reclaiming Civic Engagement
Challenge Kickoff Event

5:30 at The Camp House

June 28 - July 31
Applications open at

August 18
Winners announced

September - December
Projects are incubated and implemented



What if I need help with my application?
Office hours will be held every Thursday during the month of July from 12-1pm at Causeway. In addition to the office hours mentioned above, applicants are always welcome to email us with questions at or call us at (423) 521-5554. If you do not have access to the internet, or the online application makes you uncomfortable in any way, please stop by our workspace and we will assist you. Si te gustaría solicitar en español, por favor, envíenos un correo a

Can businesses apply for the Causeway Challenge?
In an effort to build up new community leaders, applications are open to individuals and groups. If the individual project leader(s) happen to own or work for or with an organization or business they would like to get involved, we think that is great, too.

Will Causeway fund an existing program?
The Causeway Challenge is designed to give people in the community with new solutions a chance test and pilot an idea over the course of four months. Causeway is not looking for existing projects that have already launched or are up and running. If you want to talk more about an existing project or program that you need help with, please fill out our welcome form and we’ll set up a time to meet!

If I'm an individual who wins the Causeway Challenge funding, do I have to pay taxes on it?
We cannot give you personal tax advice, so we recommend you consult with your accountant about how this might work with your particular circumstances. If this is a concern for you, we are open to you finding a nonprofit like a neighborhood association or a traditional charity to partner with to manage the funds. We can also help you identify an organization that might be a good fit.

Are there certain things you will and won't fund?
While we hope to leave things broadly open to your imagination, here are some examples that may give you insight into what we're looking for in an application's budget. Eligible expenses might include things like permits, rentals, supplies, some marketing expenses, limited stipend for effort committed to the project, etc. Non-eligible expenses include capital expenditures (like buying yourself a fancy camera), deficits or expenses incurred prior to the project implementation period, projects or events that have already taken place, purchase of awards or cash prizes, projects planned primarily for fundraising purposes, or applications that are simply asking for monetary support of a larger fundraising campaign (i.e. sponsorship requests).

What commitments are required if I win?
All winners are required to go through our CO.STARTERS for Causes 9-week planning course that will be taught here at Causeway on Tuesday nights from 6-9pm. The classes will begin on August 22rd and will run until October 24th. Project leaders will also be asked to administer surveys and collect data on their pilot (don’t worry, you’ll have Causeway’s help with this). Each project will be required to submit a final report by January 15, 2018 outlining the impact their project had, what the money was spent on, and more details about the outcome of your cause. For more details on what is required of Challenge winners, you can contact Causeway at or call 423.521.5554.

What is the time frame that projects will need to be implemented?
Projects can begin implementing their ideas after the third week of incubation (September 6th) and will have until the end of the year to complete their pilot. Causeway will request final project reports to be submitted by January 15, 2018.


Meet our past Challenge Winners