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Who establishes priorities for fundraising and grant requests at the university?

Priorities for funding requests are set by the President, the Provost, the Deans, and Department Heads. Foundation & Corporate Philanthropy does not establish priorities for obtaining funds. Foundation & Corporate Philanthropy’s assistance with seeking funds for initiatives that have not been identified as university priorities will be limited. 

Who contacts the foundation?

Foundation & Corporate Philanthropy makes the first contact with the foundation; often we will do this with you. We will work together to determine how the project can best be presented and by whom. The initial contact might be a phone call, a letter, a proposal, or a meeting. Members of our staff may have personal contacts (program officer, colleague at another institution, faculty member, board member) who can advise on the most effective approach and give additional guidance regarding the funding process—all of which can help your proposal be successful. 

All letters of inquiry and proposals to private or corporate foundations must be submitted to Foundation & Corporate Philanthropy for review before transmission to the foundation. 

May I apply on my own if I already know the funder?

No. Foundation & Corporate Philanthropy’s internal review process ensures that other faculty or staff members are not already seeking a grant from the same foundation. Also, Foundation & Corporate Philanthropy works to maintain consistency and integrity of approach through on-going relationships with funders. It is possible that WPI has approached the funder before and/or will approach the funder in the future. These factors can have a significant impact on the success of not only your proposal, but also the proposals of your colleagues. Therefore, it is very important that all proposals to private and corporate foundations are approved and submitted through Foundation & Corporate Philanthropy. 

If I am already working with a corporation or foundation, should I contact Foundation & Corporate Philanthropy?

Yes. Please let us know about any contacts you have with a foundation, even if the relationship does not necessarily involve grant or gift funds. To be most effective for WPI, we do need to have a complete picture of the university’s overall relationship and to occasionally help manage simultaneous requests to the same company or foundation. As previously noted, consistency in our approach and management of WPI’s many faceted relationships with corporations and foundations can impact our funding success. Recognizing that each circumstance is different, we will discuss with you ways in which we can, or even should, be involved. Sometimes, we will simply provide you with any insight we might have, including the foundation’s historical relationship with WPI. 

I need a small grant of less than $10,000 for things related to my teaching and/or research. Will you be able to help me?

Generally we are unable to provide you with research or proposal writing assistance for grants under $10,000 due to our staffing limitations. However, we are happy to review any funding opportunities you have identified and wish to pursue, and provide limited assistance with proposal preparation. 

I am partnering with colleagues at another institution, can your office still help me? 

Yes, if your proposal will benefit WPI financially, either as the primary applicant or sub-awardee.

Does Foundation & Corporate Philanthropy offer training on working with foundations?

We offer training sessions on how to work with foundations, how to conduct research to identify funders, and how to prepare proposals. These sessions are offered by our office and in conjunction with OSP’s Workshop Series

Is there a development officer within my discipline area who can also help with corporations and foundations?

Yes. Our office works closely with these development officers on matters that involve corporations and foundations.