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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Frequently Asked Quesitons: 

What does CFR stand for?

Where is your office located?

How is CFR different from the Department of Research (DOR)?

What sort of assistance can CFR provide?

Do I have to go through the CFR to submit a grant?

How can I request help in finding grant funding?

How soon in advance should I talk to the CFR office about my funding needs?

How long does it take to get grant funding?

What is CFR’s role in writing proposals?

Do you provide budget assistance?

What is an RFP?

Can you tell me if I’m eligible to apply for a grant I’ve located?

I found a foundation online that I would like to apply to. Do I need to work with CFR?

I have an existing relationship with a foundation. Should I let CFR know?

How will I know about current grant opportunities?

Do you help with editing grant narratives?

How does your office find potential funders?

Does your office write the required reports?

Does your office track spending/use of grant funds?

How do I deal with indirect costs on my proposal budget?

What does CFR stand for?

Corporate and Foundation Relations


Where is your office located?

As part of the Development and Alumni Relations Office, CFR office is located in Woodstock Lodge on the second floor.


How is CFR different from the Department of Research (DOR)?

CFR helps facilitate relationships between faculty and corporate and foundation funders that drive long-range philanthropic giving opportunities. CFR does not negotiate research agreements and contracts; we accept gifts given in the spirit of “disinterested generosity” (IRS term), which may require reporting, but not receivables. Gifts are eligible for federal income tax deductions and do not involve intellectual property rights.

DOR facilitates most federal and state submissions, as well as research agreements, prepares and uploads budgets to PeopleSoft, and determines compliance issues (intellectual property, animal and human subject approval, etc.). If a foundation or corporate giving program includes components that require DOR attention, CFR will coordinate with DOR to ensure they are completed.


What sort of assistance can CFR provide?

CFR coordinates and facilitates campus-wide calls for applications and limited submission opportunities (i.e., when only one submission is allowed per institution). In addition, staff are happy to provide the following types of proposal assistance to prospective Principal Investigators (PIs):

  • Research and identify potential funders, as well as vette opportunities found independently by PIs for eligibility

  • Act as official liaisons to funders to build relationships, verify project eligibility (when possible), and obtain answers to questions

  • Create a submission checklist and timeline based on funder guidelines and scoring criteria to guide all parties through the application process and ensure timely, quality submissions

  • Help conceptually frame the proposal/letter of intent to match the funder's mission

  • Make narrative recommendations to align content with foundation criteria

  • Obtain necessary Clarkson-related statistics and signatures

  • Perform compliance reviews to ensure institutional and funder requirements have been met

  • Proposal production, including hard copy presentation and final assembly when required

  • Proposal submission

CFR also provides the following assistance:

  • Arrange, facilitate, and coordinate foundation site visits to Clarkson

  • Utilize the vast network of leadership, alumni, foundation, and corporate connections and relationships to help positively position strategic proposals to the fullest extent possible. This is a key reason why CFR asks to be notified of all foundation-related proposals two to three months in advance of submission.

  • Cultivate relationships with foundation staff and program managers to gain visibility, as well as insight into funding priorities and potential for long-range funding opportunities

  • Obtain successful sample proposals (when possible) and compile prior funding information, including Clarkson’s history with the foundation

  • Seek funder feedback when available, and assess if resubmission is worthwhile


Do I have to go through the CFR to submit a grant?

If you are applying for a federal or research-related state grant, you will need to work with DOR to submit your application.

For all foundation and corporate foundation grants, you will need to work with CFR to submit your grant. If DOR services, such as budgeting, are required, CFR will coordinate between the PI and DOR.


How can I request help in finding grant funding?

Please use the Funding Search Request form (http://clarkson.edu/cfr/foundations/new_request.php) to request funding. You may also contact CFR directly via email or phone.


How soon in advance should I talk to the CFR office about my funding needs?

If you have a concrete idea for a new project that requires grant funding, at minimum, CFR should be notified nine months before funding is needed. As some foundations take a year to make award decisions, we recommend notifying the office at least a year in advance.

For projects that require ongoing support, nine months to a year notice is advisable.

If you have a specific funding opportunity with a due date, please begin working with CFR immediately to coordinate the vetting and submission process.


How long does it take to get grant funding?

This depends on the funder and the structure of their grant-making cycle. Each foundation has a unique timeline and response window.

  • Foundations with a rolling admission window may have a standard response time, often ranging from one to six months.

  • Some foundations that accept applications throughout the year will compile the submissions until a board meeting; for example, the Pardee Foundation’s board meets three times a year, and they accept applications year-round but only review them at each board meeting.

  • Foundations with a yearly grant-making cycle may take up to or over a year to make awards. These cycles often announce the opportunity a year before they announce successful proposals; for example, the Beckman Foundation announced the 2016 Beckman Young Investigator Awards in summer of 2015. They typically involve Letter of Intent and invited proposal phases, as well as interviews and/or site visits.


What is CFR’s role in writing proposals?

CFR ensures timely and competitive grant proposals are being submitted through a process of review and editing.

Faculty, as content experts, are expected to write the narrative draft and address questions that require specialized project knowledge; CFR will concurrently work to gather any required institutional information and provide edits on the drafted materials.  


Do you provide budget assistance?

We will provide you with all foundation-issued guidelines/forms and review PI-prepared budgets, but all budgets that require PeopleSoft will be coordinated and prepared through the Division of Research (DOR). CFR will schedule a budget consultation between the PI and DOR at least two weeks prior to submission deadlines.



What is an RFP?

A Request for Proposal (RFP) is an announcement by a funding source that details a new or newly opened grant cycle. Generally, an RFP will give a brief synopsis of the funder’s giving priorities, as well as granular details about eligibility, proposal requirements, and timelines.

When a grant cycle opens, CFR will generally circulate an announcement of the RFP to the Dean of each school, as well as post it on our website.


Can you tell me if I’m eligible to apply for a grant I’ve located?

Yes, CFR is experienced in vetting funding opportunities and is happy to assess the guidelines, eligibility requirements, and mission for potential match.


I found a foundation online that I would like to apply to. Do I need to work with CFR?

Yes, even if you prefer to prepare your own narrative, CFR needs to be aware of all potential submissions for a variety of reasons:

  • Some foundations limit the number of proposals allowed from an institution; to avoid unnecessary rejections, CFR tracks all outgoing proposals.

  • CFR staff and Clarkson leadership may have a larger, ongoing conversation with a foundation intended to lead to a significant proposal in the future.

  • CFR works closely with the Board of Trustees, senior leadership, and alumni to find connections that may be useful in positively positioning an application. We cannot utilize these resources if we don’t know what activity is occurring.


I have an existing relationship with a foundation. Should I let CFR know?

Yes, please let us know about any contacts you have with a company or foundation, even if the relationship does not necessarily involve grant or gift funds.


How will I know about current grant opportunities?

CFR circulates open grant cycle information through the Deans of each school, as well as online. You can see newly posted opportunities at  http://www.clarkson.edu/cfr/ using the Grant Opportunities button (http://www.clarkson.edu/cfr/foundations/)


Do you help with editing grant narratives?

Yes, CFR builds editing into the submission timeline when working with a PI to ensure proposals are as competitive as possible. If you would like CFR to edit your proposal, notify them at least two weeks prior to submission due date. Regardless of editing involvement, CFR must be notified of all foundation-related proposals being submitted by Clarkson faculty and staff.


How does your office find potential funders?

Our office uses a variety of sources to find potential funders, including Google searches, Foundation Center searches, and funding alerts. If you would like us to perform a targeted funding search, please use the following link: http://clarkson.edu/cfr/foundations/new_request.php. You can also search our database of potential funders by going to: http://www.clarkson.edu/cfr/foundations/index.php  


Does your office write the required reports?

Like proposal narratives, reports are written by the PI and edited and submitted by CFR. Foundations typically require periodic reports on the supported activity and a final report at the conclusion of the grant. It is imperative that these reports be prepared and sent in to the foundation on time, especially if the award is multi-year, as they may withhold subsequent payment on your project or future funding by the foundation may be jeopardized. The financial portion of your report is usually generated by DOR.


Does your office track spending/use of grant funds?

No, CFR is focused primarily on prospect research, proposal preparation and submission, and stewardship. Budgets and subsequent spending will be coordinated through DOR.


How do I deal with indirect costs on my proposal budget?

Many foundations do not allow or limit indirect costs to a specific percentage, very often significantly lower than Clarkson’s federally negotiated indirect cost rate. If a foundation allows indirect costs, PIs are expected to build them into the budget. DOR will be able to assist on this aspect of the budget as well.