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.
- The Role of the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations (CFR)
- How to Apply for Grants
- Corporate Funding
- CFR and OSP
- CFR and Campus Partners
- After the Funding Has Been Awarded
- Student Fundraising
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. Each school is organized into a research pod, and has an "intent to submit" process.
- How do I find out which corporations or foundations will fund my project?
- Search the GW Grants Database and other resources.
- Review the basics of the types of projects foundations and corporations fund.
- 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 the research pod for their school.
- 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.
- 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 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 myResearch?
myResearch is GW's electronic research administration tool for the routing and approval of all grant and contract proposals. All proposals must be routed and approved internally before they are submitted to the sponsor utilizing this system. 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 myResearch.
- Who is an Authorized Institutional Official for signatures on grant applications and agreements?
Sylvia Ezekilova, Assistant Vice Provost, 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.
- 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.
- 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 Provost 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 research pod to better understand how they can assist you.
- 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.
- 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 your school's research pod.
- 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. Work with your school research pod in requesting an extension. 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.
- 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.