What types of resources are available through University Foundation Relations?
University Foundation Relations provides Stanford faculty and center directors with current information on professional foundations. The office maintains several resources to provide prospect research on foundations to assist in the development of funding strategies and to identify foundation prospects for specific initiatives and projects. University Foundation Relations can often guide you to additional information about a particular foundation beyond that provided on the foundation’s website, which typically outlines general program areas and application guidelines.
How can University Foundation Relations help with the proposal process?
Foundation Relations staff can assist you in various stages of the proposal process. Some of these include:
Review pre-proposal letters of inquiry
Review and provide feedback on proposals and budgets
Supply institutional information materials required by a foundation
Answer questions regarding indirect costs allowed by a particular foundation
What is an RFP?
A Request for Proposals (RFP) is a funder’s written announcement inviting proposals, usually for a specific grant program. As mission-driven entities, foundations increasingly pre-determine the issues they wish to fund. The Office of Foundation Relations serves as a clearinghouse for many RFPs from foundations. Foundation Relations announces upcoming RFPs via email directly to faculty and administrators in relevant schools and centers. If an RFP is a limited funding opportunity, for which a limited number of applicants per institution may apply, it is announced by Foundation Relations or by the Dean of Research Office, and an internal selection committee decides on the final candidate(s).
Should I contact the Office of University Foundation Relations or the Office of Sponsored Projects about my project?
Contact Foundation Relations if you believe there would be interest by private foundations in your project. If you are applying for a federal or state grant, contact the Sponsored Projects Office in Research Administration.
Grant proposals to foundations or to government agencies are typically processed as sponsored research proposals. Sponsored research proposals, both to foundations and to government agencies, require a Proposal Development & Routing Form (PDRF), which your department administrator may be able to help with. All sponsored research proposals must ultimately be processed through the Office of Sponsored Projects before being submitted to the funder.
There is a difference between a “grant” for specified work and a “gift.” For information on what qualifies as a grant, see the Research Policy Handbook: http://www.stanford.edu/dept/DoR/rph/3-2A.html
See also How to Apply..
How do I contact the Office of Sponsored Projects?
When it is near time to submit your proposal, you’ll need to process it through the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSR) before you submit it to the foundation. OSR requires five days to review your proposal, so be sure not to wait until the funder deadline. Click here to find your department’s OSR contact person.
Am I required to contact Foundation Relations before applying for a grant to a foundation?
Application to some foundations requires clearance through the Office of Foundation Relations (see below). For foundations that are not on the restricted list, you are not required to contact Foundation Relations. Foundation Relations would nonetheless welcome hearing from you about proposals you will be submitting to private foundations, regardless of restricted status.
What is the clearance process?
Because some foundations limit the number of proposals from an institution or have other stipulations, clearance is required before you approach these foundations. In other cases, the university may have a larger conversation with a foundation in play, and we want to consider other requests to the foundation in light of that bigger picture.
The list of foundations that require clearance prior to a submission of a letter of inquiry or a proposal can be found at: www.stanford.edu/dept/foundationrelations/coordination. The clearance process can also help faculty avoid possible missteps with a foundation that limits submissions, or where other Stanford interactions may be in process.
Who is eligible to submit grant proposals to foundations?
Proposals submitted for any Stanford project must be led and submitted by those with Principal Investigator (PI) status, which is limited to Academic Council members and Medical Center Line faculty. In some instances, a waiver may be requested and an exception may be granted. For more information, see PI eligibility.
Can student organizations fundraise from foundations?
Student fundraising from external entities, including foundations, requires prior approval from the Office of Development. Refer to the student activity policies, particularly for off-campus fundraising.
How can I determine if a Stanford affiliate or faculty member is associated with a particular foundation board?
The Office of University Foundation Relations can assist in researching any affiliations at a particular foundation. Contact Kathy Veit at (650) 725-7844.
How long do foundations take to make funding decisions?
The length of time from the submission of a full proposal to award varies by foundation. Most foundation decisions are made by a board which meets periodically; board meeting schedules vary considerably: bimonthly, quarterly, semiannually, annually. Prior to foundation board meetings, proposals are reviewed by program officers and/or outside review committees, who then recommend selected projects to the board. This requires preparation time. Foundations therefore often need to receive materials well in advance of a board meeting, sometimes several months prior.
What should I do if the foundation I am applying to requires a letter from the president or provost to accompany the proposal?
The Office of University Foundation Relations will assist in preparing a letter to a foundation from the president or provost. In most cases, you should submit a draft of the letter, following the foundation guidelines, to Kathy Veit in University Foundation Relations for review and processing. A two-week lead time is required to review and process a letter from the president or provost.
How do I deal with indirect costs on my proposal budget?
Stanford has a federally-negotiated indirect cost rate of 60% of modified total direct costs. Many foundation grants do not cover indirect costs at all, or cover them at a significantly lower rate than 60%. The university has waivers on file for many foundations so that you can submit your proposal without indirect costs, or with indirect costs at a reduced rate. If a waiver is not on file, you may need to apply for an exception.
If the foundation to which you are applying does not cover any indirect costs, you will need to find internal resources to cover the university’s 8% infrastructure charge.
For more information, see “Budgets” at How to Apply.
If the award letter from a foundation says I need to send in a report, what should I do?
Foundations typically require periodic reports on the supported activity and a final report at the conclusion of the grant. The PI is responsible for submitting all reports. It is imperative that these reports be prepared and sent in to the foundation. If a report is missing, a foundation may withhold subsequent payment on your project or sometimes on another project at the university. The financial portion of your report is generated by the Office of Sponsored Projects.
What should I do if my grant from a foundation is ending but I have funds that I have not used?
Often times funds will remain at the end of a grant period. In this case, a formal request to a foundation is needed for a no-cost extension on the grant to allow time to use the remaining funds. Do not wait to inquire with the foundation about this until the end of the grant term, and do not assume that the foundation will approve your request. Be sure to check in with them well in advance about how to go about this. The same applies to government agencies. If your request is approved, you must notify your sponsored projects officer to update the grant record with a new end-date.
Types of Support
Capital support – Funds provided for endowment, buildings, construction, or equipment.
Challenge grant – A grant that is paid only if the recipient organization raises a specified amount of additional funds from other sources.
Endowment – Funds intended to be invested in perpetuity, with the interest earned providing income for ongoing support of a not-for-profit organization.
General operating support – A grant made to further the general purpose or work of an organization, rather than for a specific purpose or project; also called an unrestricted grant or basic support.
Matching grant – A grant that is given to match funds provided by another donor.
Seed money – Start-up funding used for a new project or organization.
Annual report – A voluntary report issued by a foundation or corporation that provides financial data and descriptions of its grantmaking activities. Annual reports vary in format and often are included on a foundation’s website.
Community foundation – A 501(c)(3) organization that makes grants for charitable purposes in a specific community or region. The funds available to a community foundation are usually derived from many donors and held in an endowment that is independently administered; income earned by the endowment is then used to make grants.
Corporate foundation – A private foundation whose assets are derived primarily from the contributions of a for-profit business.
Family foundation – An independent private foundation whose funds are derived from members of a single family. Family members often serve as officers or board members of family foundations and play a significant role in their grantmaking decisions.
Form 990-PF – The public record information return that all private foundations are required by law to submit annually to the Internal Revenue Service. The 990-PF tax form includes information on funder assets, expenditures, grantmaking, and board members.
General purpose foundation – An independent private foundation that awards grants in many different fields of interest.
Grantee financial report – A report detailing how grant funds were used by a recipient organization.
Guidelines – Procedures set forth by a funder for use by prospective grantees.
Independent foundation – A grantmaking organization usually classified by the IRS as a private foundation.
Letter of inquiry – A brief letter outlining an organization’s activities and its request for funding that is sent to a prospective donor in order to determine whether it would be appropriate to submit a full grant proposal.
Operating foundation – A 501(c)(3) organization classified by the IRS as a private foundation whose primary purpose is to conduct research, social welfare, or other programs determined by its governing body or establishment charter.
Payout requirement – The minimum amount that private foundations are legally required to expend for charitable purposes. In general, a private foundation must meet or exceed an annual payout requirement of five percent of the average market value of its total assets.
Principal Investigator (PI) - Faculty (Academic Council members and Medical Center Line faculty) responsible for a research grant; has overall responsibility for the technical and fiscal management of a sponsored project.
Private foundation – A nongovernmental, nonprofit organization with funds and program managed by its own trustees or directors.
Proposal – A written application for funding, often accompanied by supporting documents, submitted to a foundation or corporate giving program.
Request for Proposal
(RFP) – Utilized by government agencies and
foundations to announce funding opportunities. The RFP contains
project specifications and application procedures and deadlines.