FAQs

The Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations (CFR) wants you to have all the information you need to pursue and receive a privately funded grant to further your research.

If your question does not appear in this list, please contact us at [email protected] or call 202-994-7384, and we will happily assist you.

The Role of the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations (CFR)

When should I contact the CFR office?
The CFR office serves as a resource at each step of the funding process. We can provide the best assistance if you contact us in advance of your outreach to foundations, corporations, and other private funders, as we can assist with background information, strategy, connections, and outreach.

We ask in particular that you contact us before seeking funding from priority corporations and foundations with which the university has many contacts, relationships, and grants in progress.
Browse the list of priority corporations and foundations.

How will the CFR team help me?
The CFR office’s primary function is to foster strong relationships between GW and its corporate and foundation partners. We work with principal investigators and academic leadership on the many strategies that ensure enduring partnerships. These may include, for example, sending a letter from the president or arranging a meeting between corporate/foundation and university leadership.
Review our services for faculty and staff.

What is the difference between a grant and a gift?
Grants have many more terms and conditions than gifts. For instance, grant funding typically has detailed financial reporting requirements, return of unused funds language, and other conditions. Gifts are less restrictive in nature and typically do not require detailed financial reporting. Gifts and grants are administered differently at GW. The CFR office can provide assistance with both gifts and grants from corporations and foundations.
Read more about the differences between Gifts and Grants.

Do foundations and corporations cover indirect costs or administrative fees?
Foundations and corporations very rarely allow for indirect costs to be budgeted at GW’s federally negotiated rate. The best way to determine what grantors will cover in the way of administrative fees is to read their budget guidelines in the RFP, or ask the CFR office if it is unclear. We will contact the funder on GW’s behalf to inquire whether indirect costs are permitted and at what rate.

How to Apply for Grants

This is my first attempt to fundraise for this project. Where do I start?
You can learn the basics of foundation funding criteria and the basics of corporate funding criteria. If your project isn’t a good fit for institutional funding options, you can speak with your school’s chief academic officer about elevating your project or program as a school priority to share with individual donors.

We also recommend that you familiarize yourself with your school's research office and its procedures. Many offices require faculty to complete online forms that notify them of your intention to submit a proposal.

How do I find out which corporations or foundations will fund my project?

Please contact a member of the CFR team if you have any questions.

Do I have to contact the CFR office before applying for a grant from a foundation or corporation?
Faculty are required to contact the CFR office before moving forward with applications for Limited Submissions Opportunities (LSOs) and proposals to priority foundations and corporations. Faculty are strongly encouraged in general to contact our team as they engage with institutional funders. In many cases, we can share additional application and institutional information from our database, provide background about GW’s relationship with the prospective funder, review proposals through a corporate or foundation lens, copy-edit applications for accuracy, and assist faculty in securing administrative letters and required institutional documents in advance of submission. Faculty wishing to submit proposals to external funding entities must also notify their School Research Administrator (SRA) for necessary documents and approvals.

How long does it take to find out if my proposal has been funded?
This varies greatly among funders. Many funders provide the notification date for when awards will be announced. However, with some entities--particularly corporations--the review and approval process can depend on the availability of funding within a given quarter or fiscal year, so there is no clear notification date.

Back to Applying for Grants

What should I do if the foundation I am applying to requires a letter from the president or provost to accompany the proposal?
The CFR team works with the Offices of the President and Provost to draft and procure signatures on letters of support for funders. Please notify your CFR liaison as soon as possible when a letter or signature is required from the president or provost.

What is a quasi-endowment?
Quasi-endowment funds are funds functioning as an endowment that are established by the institution from either donor or institutional funds, and will be retained and invested rather than expended. The quasi-endowment must retain the purpose and intent as specified by the donor or source of the original funds, and earnings may be expended only for those purposes. Since they are established by the institution rather than by an external source, the principal may be expended as stipulated by the donor.

What is a limited submission grant opportunity?
Limited submission opportunities (LSOs) are funding opportunities through which GW can submit a limited number of grant proposals (usually only one) to a funder. There is a preliminary internal application process administered by the CFR office and Office of Sponsored Projects. A GW committee reviews internal applications and decides which faculty member(s) can move forward. Peruse a list of LSOs, and if you are interested in a limited submission opportunity, please contact your CFR liaison.

What is InfoReady?
InfoReady is the online system that OVPR uses to manage Limited Submission Opportunity grants and internal competitions. If you’re submitting a proposal that must be selected through an internal process and submitted on GW’s behalf, you would first upload your materials via InfoReady. Learn more about the InfoReady process.

What is Cayuse?
Cayuse is OVPR’s web-based system for reviewing and approving sponsored projects proposals. Work with your department or school research administrator to upload your materials to Cayuse, and obtain the necessary school approvals for submission. Please note that OSP has an internal deadline of five business days before the funder deadline to review and approve your proposal before it can be submitted. Learn more about Cayuse.

Who is an Authorized Institutional Official for signatures on grant applications and agreements?
Shandra White, Director of the Office of Sponsored Projects, is GW’s authorized organizational representative (AOR). Some other members of the Sponsored Projects team have designated signing authority. Deans, directors, faculty members, development staff, etc. do not have the authority to sign grant agreements on behalf of the university.

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Corporate Funding

How do I approach a corporation with a request for funding?
Corporations are very specific in what they fund, and they have several different processes for entities seeking funding. Learn more about working with corporations.

What is the difference between a sponsorship and advertising?
Please refer to the sponsorship toolkit for more information.

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CFR and OSP

What is the difference between the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations (CFR) and the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP)
Both offices work together closely. The CFR office is housed with the Division of Development and Alumni Relations. The CFR team works with faculty to help them facilitate strong relationships with corporate and foundation funders. CFR staff leverage relationships that the funder may already have with GW to broaden donor engagement with the university as well as provide a variety of services listed here. The CFR office has a donor-centric approach to fundraising, and is committed to making sure the donor has a good experience with GW.

The Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) within the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) supports the university’s research mission by providing oversight of externally sponsored research, which includes both philanthropic and non-philanthropic awards. The OSP team works closely with investigators, school-based research staff and administrators across campus to provide grant management and compliance services.

Can you provide me with overall guidance as to my responsibilities as a PI versus the other offices involved with my grant?
This resource identifies roles and responsibilities for the PI, the school research administrators (SRAs), OVPR, Grants and Contracts Accounting office (GCA), and the CFR office at GW. We also advise that you have conversations with your SRA and OVPR liaison to better understand how they can assist you.

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CFR and Campus Partners

How does the CFR office work with my school development team?
CFR collaborates closely with the development teams within each school to advance GW priorities and to build partnerships between GW supporters and our faculty and students. We also work closely with the academic leadership of each school and the SRA's to foster strong relationships with GW’s corporate and foundation partners. Each school has a liaison on the CFR team.

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After the Funding Has Been Awarded

I’ve already received a grant. What do I need to do to get access to the funds?
OVPR can answer your questions about the university’s process for managing grant funds and other post-award administrative processes.

What do corporations and foundations expect in terms of narrative reporting and fiscal management?
Requirements differ depending on the funder and the nature of the award. Reporting requirements are detailed in the grant agreement, and typically consist of narrative and financial reports. Corporate in-kind donations, and gifts from foundations and corporations may not require reporting. Regardless of whether a report is compulsory, it’s always a good idea to keep your funder informed of the impact of their funds and to maintain relationships for the duration of your award. The CFR office is available to review narrative reports before submission. Questions about financial reports should be directed to GCAS and your SRA.

My grant will be ending soon and I have unspent foundation funds. What should I do?
Most foundations will permit a no-cost extension for a set period of time, often 3-6 months, to complete the project. Contact your program officer to discuss an extension, and make sure to receive the approval in writing. If your project was completed and funds are remaining, discuss with your program officer other related work that could be conducted with the remaining funds. For instance, perhaps a convening could be organized to disseminate the results of the project with stakeholders.

Also, please monitor all grant expenses closely to avoid situations in which very small amounts of grant funds are remaining from a closed grant. If you have any questions, please reach out to the CFR office for guidance.

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Student Fundraising

Are GW students allowed to apply for grants or seek corporate funding?
No, students are not allowed to serve as PIs for grants. Graduate students may be interested in visiting the website of GW’s Office of Graduate Student Assistantships and Fellowships (OGSAF), which provides information about funding opportunities at the master's and PhD levels.

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