The Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) provides small grants to teams of past and current participants of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs to carry out public service projects using the skills and knowledge they gained during their exchange experiences.

Since it began in 2011, AEIF has supported more than 360 alumni-led initiatives around the world and reached millions of people both directly and indirectly through trainings, awareness campaigns, and leadership and empowerment programs. In 2017, the State Department awarded 68 grants of up $25,000 to alumni teams worldwide to support their public service projects. From mentoring youth in social entrepreneurship to creating clubs that promote religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence, alumni around the world are leading their communities with innovative solutions to global challenges.

AEIF Competition Basics

  • Alumni must be verified members of the International Exchange Alumni (IEA) global online community and form teams of at least three (3) IEA community members (this number includes the team leader).
  • Alumni who are U.S. citizens may not submit proposals but U.S. alumni may participate as team members in a project.
  • All project activities and initiatives must take place outside of the United States.
  • Proposed projects must address one of the five AEIF themes below.
  • To participate in AEIF, you must log into the International Exchange Alumni site (IEA), then go to, and click on the “Apply for AEIF” button. This will take you to the AEIF application on FluidReview where you may begin the proposal form. Only by signing into IEA and navigating to the Fluid Review platform will you be able to successfully participate in the AEIF competition and submit your proposal and budget. Need an account or don’t remember your password? Get help with your account here.
  • In order to successfully submit your proposal, you must fill out the entire online form and attach the budget form. You may save your edits and complete your proposal in more than one sitting, but once you submit your proposal, you may no longer make changes.
  • Proposals and budgets sent via email will not be accepted.

Not sure where to start? Check out the AEIF Help Desk, where you can view commonly asked questions, theme definitions, sample proposals, sample budgets, and guides to help build your project.

Need some inspiration for your project? Check out the 2017 winners.

2018 AEIF Timeline

  • Thursday, March 1: The AEIF competition begins at 14:00 ET (U.S. Eastern Time, i.e. New York)! Alumni may start submitting proposals and budgets.
  • Thursday, March 29: The deadline for AEIF proposals and budget forms is 14:00 pm ET (U.S. Eastern Time, i.e. New York). This is the final and only deadline. Late submissions will not be accepted.
  • April & May: Eligible proposals will be reviewed and evaluated.
  • June: AEIF 2018 finalist* projects will be announced.
  • August: 2018 AEIF winners* will be announced!

What is new with AEIF in 2018?

Budget justification.This year, teams must submit a justification explaining all proposed budget expenditures. The budget justification will help you think through your project and budget more carefully by providing greater detail and explanation of budget items.

  • A budget justification helps the reviewers better understand the costs of your project.
  • Not sure what a budget justification is? Check out the AEIF Help Desk for examples.

With this change, a complete application package consists of: a proposal, alumni team information, and a budget with a budget justification.

AEIF themes for 2018 are:

  • Fostering Economic Prosperity
  • Building Civic Participation, Good Governance and Resilient Communities
  • Advancing Science, Technology, Health and Innovation
  • Promoting Inclusion and Educational Opportunity
  • Empowering Women and Girls

*Finalist projects are those that have been recommended for funding by the selection panel and are in the process of finalizing project and budget details. Please note that final approval of finalist projects is contingent upon receipt of an official notice of award from the Department of State. Once we receive confirmation that all AEIF finalist project teams have finalized their grant documentation with their local U.S. Embassy, we will announce AEIF 2018 winners.


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