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Jan and Bud Richter Center

Friends for Civic Engagement

Creating a better community through service.

Each year, approximately 12,000 Fresno State students participate in some form of university recognized community service. Together, these students make our community a better place to live by contributing over 1 million hours of service each year.

Friends for Civic Engagement, a project founded by Rich and Dwayne Berrett and coordinated by the Jan & Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning, believes that every student should learn the value of giving something back to the community. Many classes at Fresno State integrate course content with real world applications in settings that deal with some of the most serious issues confronting our communities today. Other programs involve students in co-curricular service that enriches their personal, professional and academic development, while helping community benefit organizations (nonprofits and service groups) deliver critical resources to those in need.

Friends for Civic Engagement has benefited community partners and groups throughout the region through the funding of civic engagement and service-learning efforts some of which include:

  • Alluvial Community Garden
  • Animal Rescue of Fresno
  • The Bulldog Pantry
  • Catholic Charities
  • Central Valley Book Bank
  • Community Food Bank
  • Every Neighborhood Partnership
  • Fresno State Alternative Spring Break Project
  • Fresno State Hurricane Katrina Relief Project in Mississippi and Louisiana
  • Fresno Street Saints
  • Mediator Mentors
  • Naomi's House
  • River Tree Friends
  • Rotary Playland/Storyland
  • San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust
  • Sierra Foothill Conservancy
  • SMILE Center (Support Makes Involvement in Learning Enjoyable)
  • Tree Fresno
  • Multiple organizations in Central America, Africa, Hong Kong, Fiji, and the Dominican Republic (through international service-learning courses and service abroad experiences)
  • And many, many more . . .

Fresno State faculty, staff and currently enrolled students can apply for funding to support their civic engagement and service-learning efforts.

Applications should be brief (maximum of three pages, 12 point font) and should contain the following:

  1. Name of applicant and all relevant contact information.
  2. Information on the program/project for which you are requesting funding.
  3. Include details regarding:
    • what service the students will perform;
    • the learning outcomes you expect to gain through this experience (please relate anticipated learning outcomes to your major or specific courses you have or will take during college);
    • personal and/or career development outcomes you expect to gain through this experience;
    • how the service will meet community need.
  4. Total amount of funds being requested and how they will be used. (Please note that funding levels typically run between $100 and $2,000. It is extremely rare that an applicant will be awarded more than $2,000.)
  5. Any other information that you believe is relevant to this request.

Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. It is recommended that requests be submitted a minimum of 30 days prior to when the funds are needed. If there are significant reasons why a proposal can not be submitted with a minimum 30 day lead time, please contact Chris Fiorentino to provide information as to why your application for funding should still be considered.

Priority will be given to new projects not previously funded by Friends for Civic Engagement.  Funding amount may be reduced for repeat projects or expenses previously funded by Friends for Civic Engagement.  Use of funds must align with the overall intent of Friends for Civic Engagement; to provide students unique opportunities to serve the community in ways that benefit them academically, personally and professionally, while also helping to meet an important need in the community.

In cases where more than one student is requesting funds for the same project (ie. travel for the same international service trip) a single application should be submitted for the entire group.

Those awarded Friends for Civic Engagement funds are expected to:

  • Acknowledge Friends for Civic Engagement in all press releases, interviews and ancillary materials produced about the funded project;
  • Submit a report at the conclusion of the service experience/event.  The report must include specific academic learning and personal/professional outcomes that resulted from the experience, as well as benefits realized by those served.  Details on report requirements will be communicated upon notification of funding.

Submit applications electronically as a Microsoft Word document or PDF to:

Chris Fiorentino, Director of Jan & Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning at

Please consider joining this effort by making a tax deductible contribution. Your gift will be immediately put to work helping students make a difference in our community. More than 90 percent of all donations made to Friends for Civic Engagement go directly to support our students and nonprofit community partners. This ensures that every donor's contributions will go to where they intend it to go: towards supporting Fresno State students who contribute to our community through service.

You can make your donation by one of two different means.  If you prefer to pay by check, please make your check or money order payable to "CSU-Fresno Foundation/Civic Engagement" and mail it to:

Fresno State Friends for Civic Engagement
c/o Chris Fiorentino
5241 N. Maple Avenue, M/S TA 120
Fresno, CA 93740-8027

If you prefer to donate using your VISA or Master Card, you can donate online. Please be sure to select "Other" under the "Choose school or program you wish to support:" section and type in "Friends for Civic Engagement" in the box.