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Development University of Illinois Springfield

Grant Seeking: Frequently Asked Questions

Questions We Hear About Grant Seeking

Q. I have an idea for a project that seems appropriate for private foundation funding. What should I do next when grant seeking?

A. Your first step in grant seeking is to speak with your department chairperson and your advancement office about your ideas, whether they fit with department priorities, and how to carry them forward. You can begin conducting research on your own using campus resources like the list of foundation funders on our website and the Illinois Researcher Information Service (IRIS). This will give you a preliminary idea of which funders might be interested in your proposed project. Once you have reviewed and identified potential foundations for your project, please contact our office, phone, 217-206-6058, or e-mail to set up a face-to-face or telephone meeting to discuss next steps.

Q. When grant seeking, how can I stay informed about Requests for Proposals offered by foundations?

A. A good way to stay informed about RFPs is to subscribe to The Foundation Center’s weekly RFP bulletin. Our office is also monitoring foundations for RFPs on an ongoing basis.

Q. Should I obtain approval from your office before contacting a prospective funder?

A. Yes. Our office will need to be notified about corporate and foundation grant proposals.

Q. I have already written a proposal and I have a contact in a foundation. May I apply on my own or do I still need to get internal approvals from my department head, dean, etc.?

A. You will need to submit your proposal through the UIS Grants and Contracts Office as you would with any other proposal (private or government), and provide the required documentation. As stated above, proposals to private funders also need to be communicated to the UIS Office of Development.

Q. I am partnering with colleagues at another institution. Can your office still help me?

A. We will assist with foundation proposals that will benefit UIS, either as the primary applicant or subawardee.

Q. Do you provide assistance with proposals to government agencies?

A. Our services extend only to those applying to private funders. Assistance with government proposals can be found through the UIS Grants and Contracts Office.

Q. Can I apply to a foundation that another faculty member or unit is applying to? How are multiple submissions handled?

A. Many foundations request only one proposal from an institution per grant cycle.  Some foundations accept multiple submissions from the same institution. However, to be strategic and as effective as possible in our approaches, we sometimes need to prioritize proposal submissions. This one of the reasons it is important to communicate with our office about your proposals to private funders. We will make sure your proposal is submitted at a time when it has the most likelihood for success.

Q. I would like to approach a corporation for funding. Can your office help me with that?

A. Yes. We also make requests to corporations.

Q. Do foundation funders pay Facilities and Administrative costs (overhead) for projects they fund?

A. Many foundations do not support F&A charges or pay a reduced rate. Our office can assist in locating or requesting a statement of the funder’s indirect cost rate policy in order to properly prepare the proposal budget.

Q. What is the Foundation Philanthropy Seminar?

A. The seminar provides an opportunity for our campus community to hear from foundation representatives who can share valuable information about their foundation’s priorities and decision-making processes, as well as overall trends in philanthropy. The seminar is open to all interested faculty, administrators, and advancement officers. Over the past several years we’ve had speakers from the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln, the Joyce Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Contact Sarah at 217-206-6058 for information about our next seminar.

Q. Does your office offer training on working with foundations?

A. We are happy to provide one on one training and information for those who have immediate needs. Our office periodically provides an overview in conjunction with the UIS Office of Grants and Contracts and the Central Illinois Nonprofit Resource Center (CINRC) located in Brookens Library. We are also available for tailored presentations to colleges or departments.

Q. Where are you located?

A. Our office is located on the 5th floor of the UIS Public Affairs Center, PAC 591.

Q. Whom should I contact?

A. Sarah Jennings is the Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations in the Office of Development. She can be reached at 217-206-6058 or jennings.sarah@uis.edu

Marilyn Kok is the Associate Director of Grants and Communications in the Office of Development. She can be reached at 217-206-6058 or kok.marilyn@uis.edu

We are here to help!

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