August 7, 2020
Aug 07

Clinton Foundation announces $100,000 of funding for student projects to fight the COVID-19 pandemic

New York, NY
Press Release

For Immediate Release: August 7, 2020
Contact: [email protected]

Clinton Foundation announces $100,000 of funding for student projects to fight the COVID-19 pandemic

The Clinton Global Initiative University Student Action Fund, funded by Kevin Xu and the CGI University Network, is supporting 38 projects, including establishing electronic health record systems in developing nations; providing resources to help children with disabilities in need of medical supplies; promoting inclusion within medical aid by assisting minority communities; and many more

CGI University is also launching COVID-19 Student Crowdfunding Challenge from August 10-28, 2020

New York, NY – Today, the Clinton Foundation announced the recipients of the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) COVID-19 Student Action Fund, providing $100,000 to student projects to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The Student Action Fund is funded by Founding Partner, Kevin Xu, and the colleges and universities that comprise the CGI University Network.

Working within the CGI U Commitment to Action model, this fund is geared towards 38 innovative social impact projects addressing the public health, economic, and societal impacts of the novel coronavirus — with commitments ranging from infectious disease monitoring and response systems; social enterprises; awareness and prevention campaigns; and other emergency response initiatives to provide immediate support for public health practitioners and other essential workers on the frontlines.

The fund provides $100,000 in total to select students at universities around the world, with each grant awarded ranging up to $5,000. The Action Fund was first announced by President Bill Clinton during the 2020 CGI U At Home virtual event, which featured conversations with national and international government and public health leaders. Find out more information about the event, including ways to watch the event in full, here.

A summary of a few of the funded student projects is below. A full list of the Action Fund recipients can be found at

  • A commitment by Jonathan Dhanapala of the University of Waterloo to design an electronic medical record system built to support medical professionals in providing healthcare to displacement and refugee camps in developing nations.
  • A commitment by Melissa Diamond of Tsinghua University to provide caregivers of children with disabilities in refugee and conflict-affected communities with reliable information about medical supplies to support their children's emergency and inclusive education needs.
  • A commitment by Vikrant Garg of the University of Illinois at Chicago to mobilize resources, skills, and time to expand initiatives and implement new projects of the COVID Rapid Response Team Chicago, an organization providing critical life-sustaining services to marginalized communities in Chicago during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • A commitment by Alekhya Majety of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to develop a sterilization product that directs UV-C light onto the interior and exterior of reusable water bottles that effectively neutralize any pathogens or viruses such as COVID-19.
  • A commitment by Bincheng Mao of New York University to promote inclusion in the medical aid sector by assisting minorities with language barriers as they seek medical attention.
  • A commitment by Zonia Moore of the University of Pennsylvania to develop a portable, battery-powered N95 mask sterilizer that gives health care providers the confidence they need in reducing their risk of contracting COVID-19 and is appropriate for use in pop-up healthcare settings.
  • A commitment by Nga Nguyen of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to developing a lip-reading device to improve the quality-of-life of individuals suffering from conditions resulting in the loss of voice.
  • A commitment by Evelyn Wong of Harvard University to curate an online learning platform that pairs underserved K-12 students with undergraduates and postgrads from higher education institutions across the U.S., providing them with one-on-one mentorship, web-based educational resources, and offline content.
  • A commitment by Sukhmeet Sachal of the University of British Columbia to implement public health interventions at Sikh Temples in British Columbia, Canada to protect elderly patrons and the general public.
  • A commitment by Camir Ricketts of Cornell University to help schools in rural Jamaica gain access to internet-enabled devices and sponsored data plans so that students can engage in online courses.

These projects are made through CGI U’s “Commitment to Action” model, pioneered by President Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in 2005. From 2005 through 2016, more than 3,600 commitments were made through CGI which have improved the lives of over 435 million people worldwide.

In partnership with GoFundMe, CGI U is also launching a COVID-19 Student Crowdfunding Challenge as an opportunity to support additional student-led projects that are tackling the novel coronavirus. The Crowdfunding Challenge kicks off on Monday, August 10, 2020, and ends Friday, August 28, 2020. Participating students will set up individual fundraising pages for campaign support and every student team will keep the funds they raise for their projects. All funds go directly to the student or through their self-identified fiscal sponsor and are not donations to CGI U or the Clinton Foundation.

In addition to receiving seed funding from the Action Fund for their commitments, all selected students who are new to the CGI U program will receive invitations to participate in CGI U 2021. With a network of 10,000 alumni from more than 1,100 schools, 160 countries, and all 50 states, CGI U students have made more than 7,000 Commitments to Action, positively impacting their hometowns, their college campuses, and communities around the globe.


About the Clinton Foundation

Building on a lifetime of public service, President Clinton established the Clinton Foundation on the simple belief that everyone deserves a chance to succeed, everyone has a responsibility to act, and we all do better when we work together. For nearly two decades, those values have energized the work of the Foundation in overcoming complex challenges and improving the lives of people across the United States and around the world.

As an operating foundation, we work on issues directly or with strategic partners from the business, government, and nonprofit sectors to create economic opportunity, improve public health, and inspire civic engagement and service. Our programs are designed to make a real difference today while serving as proven models for tomorrow. The goal of every effort is to use available resources to get better results faster – at the lowest possible cost.

We firmly believe that when diverse groups of people bring resources together in the spirit of true cooperation, transformative ideas will emerge to drive life-changing action. Learn more at,on Facebook at, and on Twitter @ClintonFdn.