Clinton Global Initiative

The Clinton Global Initiative was founded in 2005 to bring together global leaders who make commitments to generating innovative solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. To date, these commitments have improved the lives of over 400 million people in more than 180 countries, with a fully-funded value of $73.1 billion.  Every year, since 2007, Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) brings together about 1,200 university students of all levels to discuss and deepen the Commitment to Action they make in the spheres of Education, Environment and Climate Change, Peace and Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation, and Public Health.

GW’s commitment to student social entrepreneurs was accelerated when GW hosted the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative University annual event on its Foggy Bottom campus. More than 1,000 students attended the gathering to share their plans to change the world and to exchange ideas with their peers and leaders like President Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, and Usher. A team of GW students, who now run Pedal Forward, won the CGI U Commitment Maker Challenge and was recognized on stage by President Clinton. The deadline to join CGI U for 2018 will be announced in the upcoming months.

Photo credit: Barbara Kinney / Clinton Global Initiative

Commitment Maker Challenge 

Participate in the Commitment Maker Challenge to receive funding and mentorship for your project, and connect with a thousand student leaders from across the globe at Clinton Global Initiative University this Fall.

The Commitment Maker Challenge allows GW students to compete for funding to support their CGI U Commitments to Action. For those who have been accepted to CGI U, awards are available to supplement travel to the annual Clinton Global Initiative University gathering at Northeastern University on October 13-15, 2017, and also to directly fund their CGI U Commitments to Action, which are new, specific, and measurable social entrepreneurial projects.

What are the steps and benefits of participating in the Challenge?
Funding. The Challenge provides funds to Commitment Makers, in the form of project implementation awards and travel and lodging awards for CGI U. 
The Commitment Maker Challenge encourages more widespread interest and involvement in social entrepreneurship. It enables a growing number of students to be supported in their work to engage in social entrepreneurial projects and begin making a positive impact in the communities they care most about. Most importantly, the Challenge helps turn students’ ideas into action, with training (workshops), mentorship (office hours), funding, and follow-up.
Commitment Maker Meetups: The first session discusses next steps, reporting, and accountability requirements. Project funds are disbursed after this meeting. The second session helps students solidify their summer plans to advance their projects and establishes reporting milestones.


  •     Before you apply, set up a time to receive personalized coaching and feedback from GWupstart.
  •     Read guidance on how to create a Commitment to Action.
  •     Review the checklist on creating a Commitment to Action.
  •     Read up on projects GW commitment makers are already working to make a reality.
  •     Attend a virtual Q&A session.


Email Jonathan Butler ([email protected]).

Ready to apply?

The 2017 deadline has passed and access to the 2018 CGI U application have not been released yet. If accepted, GWupstart will reach out to give details on applying for travel and seed funding through the Honey W. Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service if the Commitment Maker challenge has been submitted.