Frequently Asked Questions

To ensure that all ideas have the backing of department and school in which they live, we suggest you first speak with your department chair, your area development officer,  and your associate dean for research.  In addition to providing an endorsement of your idea, your unit-level research administrators can advise you of the potential fit of your idea within their priorities for local support (i.e. family foundations), can let you know of other faculty within the unit or across campus you should connect with, and can assess the idea for potential unit-level funding (Seed Grant Program). The next step is to reach out to any member of the CFR team to set up a meeting or phone call to discuss next steps.

  • Advising strategic approaches to potential funders
  • Arranging visits with foundation and corporate partners
  • Researching potential funders to determine areas of interest
  • Reviewing and editing draft proposals and progress reports
  • Helping to translate ideas into fundable projects
  • Provide information on the U’s history with a particular corporation or foundation
  • Management of limited submission process for identified funders
  • Lead point-of-contact for centrally managed corporations and foundations

Corporations and foundations have broad flexibility in the nature of the financial vehicles they employ to award funds to the U.  In some cases, a single organization may provide both gifts and grants to the U to support their areas of interest.  The U CFR team works closely with the Office of Sponsored Programs and the Research Development Office and is the best authority to answer the gift v. grant question. Please reach out to the CFR team as early in the proposal process as possible to ascertain the appropriate way to bring funds into the U.

Unlike federal and state agencies, each corporation and foundation tends to have a particular policy with respect to the assignment of university indirect costs to awards.  The U does not have a blanket policy with respect to private support of indirect costs and handles each case individually. Please reach out to any member of the CFR team early in your proposal planning so that we can help you determine appropriate indirect cost budgeting.

Many funders accept multiple submissions from the same institution. However, to be strategic and effective with our approach, the U sometimes needs to prioritize outbound proposals. This prioritization is important to ensure the U submissions best align with the funder’s interest and that each submission is unique, concise, and reflects the U’s priorities with respect to that potential funder.

In some cases, corporations and foundations limit the number of submissions from the U for a specific opportunity, or have requested that we prioritize all submissions according to the priorities of the U.  Our office works closely with OSP and the appropriate Vice Presidents and/or Deans to manage all limited submissions.

Yes, the CFR team must be notified about any and all corporate and foundation proposals prior to their submission, including for OSP-managed grant submissions. In addition to serving as the official U point-of-contact for many corporate and foundation partners, the CFR team is home to the institutional knowledge of many funders and we can provide extensive assistance with proposal review, providing proposal materials (board list, IRS exemption letter, financial reports, administrative letters), and developing a long-term and strategic relationship with the sponsor.

Our corporate and foundation partners are looking to support projects and programs at the U that are unique, exciting, and stand out from the crowd.  Private sponsors receive far more requests for funding than they can support and often employ a two-step process to screen ideas: an initial letter of inquiry followed by a full proposal. Most letters of inquiry are limited to 1-2 pages and include a project description, project timeline, general budget, and summary of project deliverables and/or outcomes.   LOI review can range from 1-6 months and, generally, only a fraction of LOI are invited to the full proposal stage.

Full proposal requirements vary between sponsors and we suggest you consult with the CFR team prior to planning out your proposal process.  Generally speaking, a full proposal will consist of 5-15 pages of descriptive text and figures and include a variety of support documents (detailed budget, university financial reports, trustee list, IRS forms). Full proposal review can take as long as six months.

From start to finish, most successful approaches to a corporate or foundation sponsor take 6-18 months to yield funds. Of course, there are cases that occur quicker and some that take longer.  The CFR team can help you assess the appropriate planning timeline for any potential sponsor.

The CFR team is best suited to review drafts of your proposal, suggest edits and revisions, generate institutionally-related supporting material, and ensure your submission is crafted in a way that ensures the most favorable review possible.  The faculty or staff expert who will lead the execution of the funded project should lead the development of the proposal. This ensures the nuance of the particular project is appropriately captured in the proposal and that all deliverables have been generated and endorsed by the project lead.