Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find the right foundation to fund my project? 
If you do not know which foundation would be most appropriate for your grant request, please contact Foundation Relations. We may know of a foundation whose mission closely aligns with your project. Additionally, we can show you how to use the Foundation Directory Online which enables you to search foundations by their particular mission, type of support (scholarships, endowment, renovation/construction, research, etc.), or scale of grant. We also will share our history with a particular foundation with you, an important factor in predicting future funding.

Who contacts the foundation?
We should make the first outreach for or with you. This can take the form of an email, conference call, or a visit to determine the foundation's level of interest. Rarely does RIT submit a grant application without this initial determination.

If the foundation seems interested, what is the next step?
The foundation likely will require you to submit a letter of inquiry (LOI), a concept paper or a proposal. Depending on which foundation you are approaching and the nature of your project, either we will work with you to develop the required document or we will direct you to Sponsored Research.

What is required in a proposal?
Major foundations have specific instructions, or guidelines, which are usually found on each foundation's website. We will go over these with you, ask you to draft the proposal, and then work with you to finalize it. Foundations often want to make a significant impact on society, a geographic region, or a discipline. When thinking through your proposal, consider the following questions:

  • What is the issue to be addressed? How does this relate to this foundation's mission?
  • Why is the timing right?
  • Why is RIT the ideal institution to do this?
  • What will the outcomes be?
  • How will you accomplish those outcomes?
  • What do you need (time, facilities, people) to do it?
  • How will you evaluate your success?
  • How will you disseminate your results?

How do I create a budget?
We will work with you to create an accurate budget or we will direct you to Sponsored Research for this step.

Who reviews the proposal before submission? 
We will guide you through RIT's internal review process or we will direct you to Sponsored Research for this. In all cases, you as the principal investigator or project director must sign off before submission. A department chair, dean, provost, or president may also be required to sign off as the university is ultimately responsible for ensuring the funds are used appropriately.

Who submits the proposal? 
Foundation Relations will submit the proposal on behalf of RIT as an institution or, if you have been working with Sponsored Research, they will submit it for you.

What should I expect as terms of a foundation grant? 
Nearly all research- or project-driven grants require final reports. Multi-year grants often require annual or interim reports. You as principal investigator or project director are responsible for report preparation. Prompt submission of reports is essential to the success of our next request to any foundation.

If my research grant is funded, how do I track expenses?
Sponsored Research will call a Project Initiation Meeting, involving you as principal investigator or project director and Sponsored Programs Accounting (SPA). At that time, SPA will go over tracking procedures with you.