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Cultural Engagement Fund

CEF Applications are closed! Check back for Fall 2024.

What is the Cultural Engagement Fund?

The Cultural Engagement Fund (CEF) is a funding source for students groups that meet the following criteria:

  1. Is formally recognized or chartered by Duke University;
  2. Has an assigned fund code or account issued by Student Affairs
  3. Primarily benefits undergraduate students.

Funding will be provided each academic year. Twice a year (once in the Fall and once in the Spring), The Center for Multicultural Affairs will call for funding proposals. Questions? Please email

The Cultural Engagement Fund (CEF), formerly known as the University/Cultural Fund (UCF), provides student organizations with financial support to develop and implement programs, which promote the arts, co-curricular education, health and wellness, multiculturalism and social justice, community service, and/or cross-cultural collaboration.

The Cultural Engagement Fund (CEF) derives its name from the “Cultural Fund” established in 2001 by President Nannerl O. Keohane to support student groups with a rich history of cultural programming on campus. Groups who typically receive funding from this source are those with long-standing signature events that have contributed significantly to the development of a more inclusive campus environment and a deeper understanding of cultural diversity.

With the recognition of cultural diversity and constant student needs in a changing campus climate, it was necessary to incorporate “engagement” in the new name to reflect broader and multifaceted ways students participate in various enriching activities on Duke campus as well as with each other.

The Cultural Engagement Fund provides student organizations with financial resources to develop programs that promote any of the following: arts, co-curricular education, health and wellness, multiculturalism and social justice, community service, and/or cross-cultural collaboration. The mission of the Cultural Engagement Fund is to support student cultural organizations with more consistent funding for long-standing signature programs.

Eligible Student Organizations

Any student organization that meets the following qualifications:

  1. Is formally recognized or chartered by Duke University; 

  2. Has an assigned fund code or account issued by Student Affairs
  3. Primarily benefits undergraduate students. 

Eligible Programs

  1. Arts: programs that promote and/or involve performance, visual, or other artistic forms.
  2. Co-curricular Education: programs which complement the classroom experience and continue to be academically-based such as lectures, symposia, workshops, and seminars. 

  3. Health and Wellness: programs that promote wellness and/or safe behaviors and lifestyles. 

  4. Multiculturalism and Social Justice: programs related to social justice education and cross-cultural engagement via cultural and/or intercultural activities and dialogues. 
  5. University/Community Service: programs that promote civic engagement and/or provide a needed service to the Duke or Durham community. 

  6. Cross-Cultural Collaboration: programs that involve the collaboration of at least two student 
organizations that usually do not work together; to develop, implement, and evaluate such programs, particularly between domestic and international student groups.

For conference funding requests, please email

Application Process

The following provides all the information you need to apply.


  1. The CEF application is now available on your organization's Duke Groups page. 

  2. Click the 'Money' tab from the left navigation menu 

  3. Select Cultural Engagement Fund from the list of available budgets 

  4. Review the info module (linked in the blue box at the top of the page) 

  5. Take (and pass) the CEF quiz (linked in the blue box at the top of the page) 

  6. Return to the budget page and click 'Create Budget Request' 

  7. President, Treasurer, and Advisor approve the submission on Duke Groups from the 'My Workflows' tab on the Duke Groups homepage. 


The application process for the Cultural Engagement Fund (CEF) for Fall 2024 funding is TBA. Please check back early-August for Fall 2024.

In order to apply for funding, student organizations must have a representative complete the CEF online module. Student organizations must complete the module in order to be eligible to apply for funding. Organizations need to complete the module each time they apply.

Need help with your CEF application?


The proposal should contain detailed information regarding the programs for which you are requesting funds. For EACH program for which you are requesting funding, complete the following:

  1. Program Description: Describe all aspects of the program. Is it a new or ongoing program for your organization? If a repeat program, indicate any new features or changes from the previous year 

  2. Target Audience: Who is your intended audience? Approximate attendance? How do you plan to engage the audience? 

  3. Event Goals: What are the specific GOALS of the program? Why is this program important to the Duke community? 

  4. Publicity Plan: How do you plan to advertise/publicize your program? 

  5. Funding: Why should this event be funded? How will the event serve the undergraduate students, Duke and the greater Durham community? 

Using the Budget Form, list a line-item budget of researched expenses. Take the time to obtain quotes for speakers, entertainment, catering, technical fees, airfare, ground transportation to and from campus, hotels, advertising, etc. Avoid inflating your budget. The CEF committee can tell when a budget is intentionally inflated. Please attach budgets and additional sheets, if necessary.

Budget Tips
  1. Provide detailed estimated expenses.
  2. Obtain quotes for speakers, entertainment, catering, audio/video, airfare hotels, etc.
  3. Save on traveling and lodging expenses by searching locally (i.e., Duke and/or Triangle area for speakers, entertainment, etc.)
  4. List technical equipment as well as technical staff hours needed for your program.
Proposal Tips
  1. Indicate if a program involves collaboration with another student organization. Do not list other student organizations without having mutually discussed the collaboration. If agreed upon, obtain a signature from the collaborating student organization.
  2. Describe the frequency of your program (i.e., weekly, monthly, annually, etc).
  3. Share past experiences regarding your program if it is a traditional program (i.e., what worked well, what you would change, etc).
  4. The larger the amount of funds requested, the more detailed information should be made available. For example, please demonstrate how you arrive at food costs - the cost per person for food costs and actual menu items.

Student organization’s advisor, president, and treasurer must review application before submission. To ensure that the aforementioned individuals have reviewed the proposal and budget, the advisor, president, and treasurer must approve the application in DukeGroups. Once an officer from your student organization creates and submits a workflow, it will populate for the required approvers. Questions about the workflow function in Duke Groups? Email

The evaluation form allows the CEF staff and committee to continue to meet the needs of student organizations. The evaluation forms should be viewed as an essential part of the application process and may determine if your organization receives funding during the cycle.  

When submitting your funding proposal, remember to:

  1. Be as detailed as possible with all parts of the proposal.
  2. Applications and proposals must be authored and submitted by Duke University students only.
  3. Please contact your advisor as soon as possible before to the application deadline, if not before. Last minute contacts result occasionally a delay because of the advisor’s unavailability, etc.
  4. Inform the Review Committee if you need to postpone or cancel your program. The Review Committee will need to review and approve your request to reallocate awarded funds. 

Review the outline of the application before submitting. Applications where the text is not complete will be marked as Incomplete and will become ineligible for review.

Allocation Limits


  • DJ Max Allocation: $400
  • Photographer/Videographer Max Allocation: $300
  • Miscellaneous Entertainment (Photobooth, Small Town Records, individual performances): $1,000


  • Per Plate Maximum: $15


  • CEF will not fund reservations at the JB Duke or Washington Duke


  • CEF has a $5,000 cap for ball venues


  • $15 per performer


  • $300 limit for t-shirts; must be done by approved trademark/licensing vendor


  • $400 cap for retreat


  • Alcohol or illegal items
  • Apparel, gifts, or giveaways
  • Scholarships, staff/faculty/student salaries
  • Tickets of any kind
  • Items for personal use (games), personal care/health, or SLG/Greek life dues
  • Event payments in advance
  • Events occurring on University Holidays
  • Events occurring before FDOC or after LDOC
  • Academic dept. led events
  • Events charging admission
  • Events supporting political candidates
  • Transfers to campus/academic departments
  • Transfers to other student groups
  • Marketing (online/free options)


If you have any questions, call 919-684-6756 or send an e-mail to Thank you for your interest in the Cultural Engagement Fund.