Getting a Grant

If you need funding for yourself, your department, your research, or just your operations, we suggest you perform the following actions:

  1. See what the College has to offer: contact the Dean of the Faculty or the Associate Dean to see what funding is available internally and to notify him/her of your intention to seek funding.
  2. Contact Eunice Carwile, the Director of Grants and Special Projects, who will coordinate your efforts to secure funding with the College's other fundraising efforts and help you with the necessary steps. She will
    a. let colleagues in Institutional Advancement know that you have a funding need;
    b. run a search for possible funding sources on subscription databases;
    c. give you a list of possible funding agencies, their guidelines, proposal process, and deadlines;
    d. help you develop an inquiry or a proposal;
    e. put the final request package together, getting the necessary authorizations and signatures and making sure the deadline is met.
  3. Supply a narrative that covers the following:
    a. the purpose of your project or program: what need does it address?
    b. a brief history of your efforts to meet that need,
    c. a connection between your efforts and the mission of the College,
    d. a description of your activities-the work that you want to do,
    e. what your objectives are,
    f. how, specifically, you intend to meet them,
    g. a timeline: when you intend to start and finish,
    h. a list of estimated costs (travel, supplies, printing, equipment, personnel, other).

The Grants Process

The Proposal/Application

The Director of Grants is an Authorized Organizational Representative for the College with grants.gov (including NSF, NEH, and NIH grants). As such, she is the person you would work with for submission of applications and other administrative activities for government grants. She is also the person who will coordinate the submission process for private foundation and other grants funding agencies. Work through her office on creating the proposal narrative, budget, and any supporting documents; obtaining the necessary authorizations and signatures; and submission of the application or proposal. During the process of proposal development, keep in mind the following guidelines that you and she will have to follow:

  • Foundations and government agencies prefer to fund specific, well developed projects or programs with a definite timeline, clearly stated objectives, and appropriate costs.
  • All funding agencies require institutional approval of grant requests, which means they must be signed by the Dean, President, or other authorized administrative officer and coordinated through the Office of Grants & Special Projects.
  • The Business Office and/or the Dean must approve any budgets and cost estimates generated.
  • Many foundation grants require the College to match them - to put up money to match the funder's; any match must be authorized by the Dean, Vice President for Business Affairs, or Controller. 
  • Many foundation grants require 12 to 16 months from inception to funding.
  • All foundations require reports on grant activities, which are also coordinated through the Office of Grants & Special Projects.  

After submission

Once your proposal is submitted (on time and with a perfect budget, of course!), the Director of Grants will be the College's contact with the funding agency. She will inform you of any additional information needed or any problems that may occur. Please do not contact the funding agency once the proposal has been submitted, unless you are asked directly by that agency to supply more information or answer questions. Private foundations are especially strict about this, as they are usually short-staffed.

A successful grant

If you get the grant, congratulations! The foundation's or government office's official announcement of the award is usually accompanied by a grant agreement. Because it is a contract between the College and the funding agency, the agreement has to be signed by the President or other senior administrator of the College. If the award and other paperwork come directly to you, please notify the Director of Grants, who will in turn notify the administrative officer(s), obtain the necessary signature(s), and set up a timetable for reports. 

The grant check may accompany the agreement or come later-or be paid over a number of years. In any case, when the money is received, a special account is set up in the Business Office to pay for the activities and costs of the program. You may work with the Business Office directly to set up the account; however, the Director of Grants can do this, as well, and inform you of the account name and number.

To obtain funds from the account, you need to turn in check requests, receipts, and other records of expenditure to the Business Office, using the grant account as you would your department's operating budget account. If you have any questions about whether certain expenditures are allowed by the terms of the grant, the Director of Grants and/or the Controller will be able to help you.

When a report on the grant is due, the Business Office issues an expenditures report, and the Director of Grants will help shape a narrative report to submit to the funder, so please

  • keep close track of expenditures and turn in all expenses to the Business Office in a timely way
  • keep a record of grant activities
  • be ready to evaluate your program-its successes and benchmarks
  • regularly review your original proposal to remember what we promised the funder in the first place.

An unsuccessful grant

Grant applicants are usually notified promptly if they are unsuccessful in their request for funding. This may come directly to you; if so, please notify the Director of Grants. In many cases, applicants are allowed to request feedback from the grant review committee. In this case, you may call the program officer (for a government grant) or the Executive Director (for a foundation grant) to discuss your application. Keep in mind, however, that the feedback process is a service the granting organization does not feel obligated to offer, and the funding agency may not have the staff or time to address unsuccessful applications.