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Find answers to frequently asked questions
OFR assists faculty, administrators, programs, and departments across Indiana University campuses.
Our offices help facilitate relationships between the university and private foundation funders. We can assist in thinking through funding possibilities, contacting funders, helping develop proposals and budgets, and resolving procedural and policy questions between funders and Indiana University. Contact our offices if you believe there would be interest in your project from private professional foundations or companies and if you would like help in developing your proposal. We can also help in determining whether a particular project will likely be administered through the IU Foundation or by the Vice President for Research.
No, OFR supports all approaches to private foundations, whether seeking a philanthropic gift to the IU Foundation or a non-governmental grant to IU directly.
You should contact us if you are considering approaching a foundation for a philanthropic grant or partnership opportunity. This includes faculty pursuing research grants from foundation or association sources, e.g., Ford Foundation, American Heart Association.
The OFR office serves as IU's single point of contact for private foundations, per their request. To approach private foundations, please contact the OFR office.
A Request For Proposal (RFP) is a written solicitation/announcement, distributed by funders, that alerts grant seekers to the funding requirements of specific projects, calls for entries, programs, etc. See our Funding Opportunities page to find RFPs.
For some grant opportunities, foundations and corporations limit the number of proposal submissions they will accept from a single institution. In such cases, faculty must contact either the Office of the Vice President for Research, firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com.
Interested candidates will be asked to submit a short application to the appropriate deans and committees that review all limited submission applications and select the candidate who will move forward as the university's nominee. Visit our Funding Opportunities page or the Vice President for Research website for a collection of limited submissions for all IU campuses.
OFR focuses on private sector philanthropy and grants from non-government agencies. Thus, we are unable to assist with government applications. Faculty applying for federal, state, or municipal grants should contact Office of the Vice President for Research and the relevant grant administrator for their department.
Many foundation funders require pre-proposals or letters of inquiry, which are brief descriptions of the proposed project, and generally do not include full budgets, timelines, supporting letters, or curricula vitae. Pre-proposals are a way for the foundation to determine whether it is interested in inviting a full proposal.
Each foundation has its own set of allowable and unallowable budget items, so in most cases, you must consult a prospective foundation’s regulations when preparing a budget. Foundations generally do not allow federally negotiated indirect rates to be included in a grant budget, but you will find that many of the items that are counted as indirect costs in a government grant are direct costs in a foundation grant, such as supplies, computers, space, and administrative support. It is important to know whether the foundation to which you are applying allows you to build indirect costs such as utilities, grant administration, and depreciation into your budget. Generally, if a foundation does provide indirect costs to a project, they are capped at 10-20 percent. Just like federal proposals, most foundation budgets require budget justifications.
Although each foundation or corporation has its own process, many organizations will require six months to a year to review a full proposal and make a funding decision. While some foundations review proposals as they are received, others have set annual, biannual, or quarterly deadlines for grant proposals, and specific review meetings each year during which they make funding decisions.