Connect with Communities

Matchmaking circle

Ginsberg Center staff regularly meet with local community partners in the social sector (nonprofits), civic sector (government agencies) and education sector (k-12 schools) partners in Southeast Michigan. We gather and collect their community-defined priorities to share with university partners.

Meet with Ginsberg staff to explore our database of relevant opportunities that align community-defined priorities with your:

  • Teaching: topics, learning objectives, and/or discipline-specific skills
  • Research: current or potential projects for you or your students
  • Service: relevant opportunities to which you can lend your time and expertise
  • Academic Programs: content area or skills
  • Explore multiple examples of ways to connect with community-defined priorities.
  • Complete our Support Request Form to set up a meeting. 

How can I...


  • Use our Connect2Community web portal to explore volunteer opportunities in southeast Michigan. This online portal keeps a real-time list of individual and group opportunities to meet community-identified needs. Connect2Community is managed by the Ginsberg Center in partnership with EMU's VISION Volunteer Center and the United Way of Washtenaw County.
  • We know from past natural disasters and emergencies that initial waves of volunteers often become fatigued, creating the need for replenishment and respite personnel. The Covid-19 pandemic has proven to be no diffferent; so we ask that you please check the portal regularly for new opportunities to contribute to our community as needs arise and shift. 
  • Learn more about how to search by interests and other filters (including remote opportunities) here.
  • We support collaboratives that bring together university and community partners around similar community-identified prioritities that can not only build community capacity in these areas but also give faculty and students the chance to practice skills and meet educational goals.
  • Contact us at [email protected] if you would like to learn more, join one of these collaboratives or explore other potential collaboratives with us.



  • Be mindful that not all organizations’ timelines will match the University’s academic calendar, so reach out early enough to be able to work through scheduling challenges.
  • To find a partner through the Ginsberg Center, we recommend contacting us at least a month in advance. Budgeting extra time to connect with partners has become even more critical as partners continue to adjust to the pandemic.
  • At the first meeting, have an open conversation to discuss and establish mutually agreed upon expectations.
  • We recommend documenting in writing the expectations for a partnership.
  • For support with implementing these recommendations, contact us to set up a consultation.  
  • If students will be working remotely, it is important to discuss what virtual engagement will look like with students and partners ahead of time – expectations, communication plans and relationship building
  • Numerous community partners have shared the challenges of working with students effectively when partners have no prior knowledge about the course or program from which students are engaging.
  • We recommend instructors first contact community partners, prior to having students initiate contact.
    • Reach out to partners prior to the start of the class or program to provide background information including course/program objectives, hours or project. requirements involving the community partner, length of requested involvement, etc.
    • Discuss with the partner how they would like to be involved.
  • If you are considering asking students to find their own opportunities as part of your class and do not plan to contact community partners in advance of students initiating contact.
    • Have students contact partners in the first 2 weeks of the semester, well in advance of when an assignment is due
    • Have students learn more about the organization prior to initiating contact
    • Provide students with a summary of the course context they can share with partners when they initiate contact, including course objectives, hours or project requirements involving the community partner
  • Help prepare students to work effectively with community partners.
    • The Community Engagement MOOC offers online training for ethical engagement.
    • The Ginsberg Center offers additional support to prepare your students:
      • We offer introductory and follow-up workshops to prepare students that can be tailored to your needs.
      • Ginsberg Center staff can also work with you to support your use of the MOOC. Contact us to set up a consultation.



  • In recognition of the significant contributions partners make to student learning, we recommend compensating community partners for their time and effort. 
  • Have an open conversation with partners about how they would like to be compensated, since partners' preferences vary.
  • Some partners prefer to not be compensated directly, but rather to have funds go directly to the organization. Other partners have mentioned preferring in-kind support such as volunteer hours from students or other forms of support.
  • The partner/organization may also need to complete a W-9 vendor form to be listed as a vendor within the UM system. To allow funds to be directed to an organization, partners can submit an invoice detailing the service provided.
  • The Ginsberg Center offers faculty grants for community engaged research and teaching in partnership with several other units on campus. 
  • Additional funding opportunities are also listed on the Engaged Michigan site.
  • Contact us at [email protected]if you have any questions about these funding opportunities.