Frequently Asked Questions

During the Application Process

When should I contact the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations?

  • If you have any questions about finding funding opportunities, the application process, stewardship, and other topics, please contact us.
  • Please review the list of foundations that require clearance before you apply. If you are interested in applying to one of the restricted foundations on this list, please contact our office first. Clearance can be required for a number of reasons: the foundations may limit the number of proposals our institution is allowed to submit or have other stipulations, our institutional or academic leadership may already be in discussions with that funder, and so on.
  • We would, however, welcome hearing from you about any proposal you will be submitting to private foundations and corporations, regardless of restricted status.

Who is eligible to submit grant proposals to foundations?

  • Proposals submitted for any UC Irvine project must be led and submitted by those with Principal Investigator (PI) status, which is limited to Academic Senate members who fall within one of the following titles. (For further information, refer to the Office of Research website.

Can student organizations fundraise from foundations?

  • Students must have a “sponsoring” school/unit approve of and manage their gift funds, and their fundraising activities must be coordinated with the assigned school/unit development officer or representative from University Advancement.

How can I get help in searching for funding opportunities?

  • You may contact our office to assist you with your search.

What should I do if the foundation I am applying to requires a letter from the president or provost to accompany the proposal?

  • Our office will assist in preparing a letter to the foundation from the president or provost. A minimum three-week lead time is preferable to review and process a letter from the president or provost.

What is the difference between a “sponsored project” and a “gift”?

  • Whether an award will be administered as a gift or sponsored project depends on the nature of the project and the terms and conditions of the award.  If you would like more information, you may contact our office or Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA).
  • To see definitions of “gift”, “grant”, and “contract”, please click here.

What are the different roles of the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations and the Office of Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA)?

  • The Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations manages the institutional relationships between UCI and corporations and foundations. We assist in reviewing funding possibilities, contacting funders, helping develop proposals, and resolving procedural and policy questions. We can assist in determining whether a particular project will be administered as a gift or a sponsored project.
  • Many awards from private foundations and corporations must be administered as sponsored projects. All sponsored research proposals must ultimately be processed through Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) before being submitted to the funder.

After the Application

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. There are foundations that require a letter of inquiry to be submitted prior to an invitation for a full proposal, so often times that will be the first decision, months in advance of a decision for actual funding from a full proposal.
  • Most foundation decisions are made by a board that meets periodically; board meeting schedules vary considerably: bimonthly, quarterly, semiannually, and annually. Foundations therefore often need to receive materials well in advance of a board meeting, sometimes several months prior.

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 principal investigator 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.

What should I do if my grant from a foundation is ending, but I have funds that I have not used?

  • 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. If your request is approved, you must notify your sponsored projects officer to update the grant record with a new end-date.

My proposal was not funded. Can I contact the foundation for feedback?

  • Contacting a foundation for feedback depends on the foundation. There may be some information on their website, should they have one, or on the application materials that state that they welcome questions from applicants, or that they generally do not accept questions of any kind. If you are unsure about a foundation’s policy on this, please contact us. We may be able to get in contact with the foundation on your behalf.