CLS Program News

Department of State AEIF 2.0 Initiative

ECA’s Alumni Affairs Division has a new initiative called “AEIF 2.0.” As some of you may be aware, the Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) was created in 2011 to support alumni initiatives that promote shared values and innovative solutions to global challenges. The competition provides small grants to teams of past and current participants of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs to carry out public service projects that utilize skills and knowledge they have gained through their exchange experiences.

AIEF 2.0 will allow past AEIF winners and for the first time, exceptional U.S. alumni to take their initiatives to the next level and accelerate their impact. Through ECA’s partnership with the crowdfunding platform RocketHub, AEIF 2.0 will give participating alumni the opportunity to raise additional funding and share their story with a global audience. Our goal is to provide visibility that can support sustainability of the efforts of exceptional alumni who have demonstrated proof of concept by successfully implementing past AEIF projects.

We are seeking American alumni of ECA programs who have launched a notable project as a direct result of their exchange experience. If you believe you have a qualifying project, please send a brief description of the project along with your name and contact information to WoodsAN@state.gov. Descriptions are due by Friday, March 28th.

Please note that Alumni Affairs will ultimately only accept a very small handful of U.S. projects overall, and that a project’s nomination does not necessarily equate with selection. We will review all potential projects and be in touch with any questions or once finalists have been chosen.

We are very excited to offer this opportunity and look forward to receiving your input and feedback. Please let us know if you have any questions about the AEIF 2.0 competition or the eligibility requirements for participating alumni. Learn more.

ECA is partnering with RocketHub, a global crowdfunding platform, to unlock the power of crowdfunding and help alumni maximize their project’s potential, build the capacity of their organizations, engage local communities and develop sustainable solutions by raising funds through the Rockethub platform. Through AEIF 2.0, vetted teams of alumni who chose to participate in AEIF 2.0 will be invited to feature their AEIF initiative on an exclusive channel on RocketHub’s website. The partnership with RocketHub will be unveiled on Global Crowdfunding Day in April and we intend to formally launch AEIF 2.0 to alumni in July, following the conclusion of the annual AEIF competition. We will offer participating alumni training on crowdfunding and a chance to raise funds and promote their projects through RocketHub during the AEIF 2.0 competition. We will award limited supplemental funding and offer other opportunities (tbd) to the best projects.

Looking beyond AEIF 2.0, we are also considering “AEIF 3.0” opportunities to connect a few of the best impact-investment-ready projects with the private sector to scale up alumni initiatives that best align with Department priorities and have greatest potential for social impact.