As part of Fresno State’s participation in the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U), each semester the Lyles Center offers mini-grants to Fresno State students interested in solving an issue that affects their campus, their community or their world. The issue can be in any of CGI U’s five focus areas: education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation and public health.

Nancy Mohamed, a senior double majoring in biology and graphic design, was awarded a mini-grant for $1,000 to assist local shelter coordinators in filling the needs of their facility with a crowdfunding consulting service. To test the service, Mohamed will run a month-long crowdfunding campaign and market the campaign utilizing the shelter’s social media platforms and local media outlets. If the crowdfunding wish list concept is successful for local shelters, Mohamed will create a plugin to convert the interface of existing crowdfunding platforms into a wish list layout shelters across the nation can utilize.

“I’ve always been a huge fan of businesses that have a social cause built into their business model, so it was a no-brainer for me to apply for the CGI U mini-grant,” Mohamed said. “I now have the opportunity to explore social entrepreneurship before heading off to the ‘real world.’ I’m incredibly grateful for not only the mini-grant’s monetary value, but also for introducing me to great faculty members on our campus.”

Ben Warmerdam, a freshmen majoring in business administration, was awarded a$1,000 mini-grant for Connecting Generations, an association dedicated to bringing active senior citizen and college student populations together. Senior homes throughout the community can contact the Smittcamp Family Honors College when volunteers are needed for special occasions or events. Warmerdam hopes the friendships made and stories told through Connecting Generations will make it an enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

“I am very thankful for the opportunity given to me by Clinton Global Initiative University and intend on taking complete advantage,” Warmerdam said. “All I want is to have a positive impact on my community, for the smiles created by my efforts are what drive me.”

CGI U is a community of students from colleges around the world that are interested in contributing to a better world. Last year, Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro committed the University’s participation in CGI U. The Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship manages Fresno State’s involvement in the program. CGI U mini-grants are still available for Fresno State students interested in launching or continuing a social entrepreneurship project. For more information, visit For additional information, contact John Mueller at 559.278.3735 or