The Grants Connection

Kristian Hargadon with students

As we closeout this semester, I congratulate everyone who participated on the many project teams that have completed and submitted proposals so far this year. Much good work has been accomplished, and many of those ideas, budgets, and proposals will help set a path for additional projects in the near future, whether or not those submissions are actually funded. Great ideas and the leg work that helps add detail to great ideas are never wasted. We have already had a moment or two where a project team regrouped or linked one idea to another in order to approach another grantor. I look forward to seeing the results of these investments as we hear from grantors in 2017.

Considering results, we have thus far achieved a 50% return, submissions to awards. That's great in and of itself, but the optimal position in the grants world is an 80% or better return - we can do that, right? Each project we submit helps us to better focus specific requests and, importantly, to build a relationship with potential grantors. We are growing our results in those areas too.

Here's another important milestone to which we may all look forward: the 2nd annual Grants Celebration will be held this year on February 23, 2017. Location will be the same as last year, Chairman's Room, and we'll gather from about 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. You should feel free to drop in for whatever part of the event works with your schedule. Mostly, I hope that you will come and enjoy free food, a bit of conversation about our projects and what we've learned from our grantors, and maybe a tiny surprise. I will send a reminder and the menu after the first of the year.

I hope that everyone enjoys winter break - Best wishes for New Year 2017!

PJ. Townsend
Director of College Grants
Estcourt Annex
Box 637

Current Funding Announcements


Natural Sciences

Social Sciences

Other Opportunities:

Share with your students:

Year to Date Awards (as of December 29, 2016) = $728, 277

Find here a running list of submitted and awarded grants. The current awards ticker will be updated on this page in each edition of the Grants Connection.

KUDOS Awards Ticker for last year (January 2016 - June 30, 2016) = $184,551

Proposal Tips of the Month

  1. In his book, Winning Foundation Grants: A Foundation CEO Reveals the Secrets You Need to Know, Marvin Teitel lists these five common errors to avoid when writing your grant proposal:
    • Talking more about problems than solutions;
    • Addressing specific problems with general solutions;
    • Using buzzwords and jargon;
    • Budgets that don't make sense; and
    • Repeating exact phrases from the funder's guidelines.
  2. Framing the position of your ask is also important and must focus on what the grantor seeks to fund, not what you want the grantor to fund. There is a sweet spot where these two interests meet - the more your needs sync with what the grantor wants, the more likely you are to obtain funding, or at least open the door for additional conversation about working together. Not sure how to frame that sweet spot? Your Grants Office will help.
  3. Online submissions for proposals have become routine for larger grantors. Key to optimizing the online submission is knowing the limitations. Before you undertake your draft, understand how many characters (with or without spaces) are allowed, and the exact breakdown of sections. You may find that questions differ between the grantor's outline and the online form. You will be able to compensate for all surprises if you write a draft document that covers everything important about your project - that way you will already have great language to help you adjust on the fly.
  4. Budgets are paramount to a complete proposal. Think through all costs, not just your direct costs, and include partner expenses if you collaborate. Costs that are outside the grantor allowances for funding must already be budgeted by the College if you include them in your proposal budget. Remember that our Indirect Rate is 50% of direct costs. Your Grants and Business Offices are happy to help you work through the numbers.


Use this link to access the Toolbox page, where you will find a library of resources to help you build your proposal.

Featured reports will remain in the Grants Connection, like this month's most interesting reading:  

Kauffman Foundation Entrenreneurship Policy Digest

American Institutes for Research: Degrees of Value, Differences in the Wages of Graduates from Virginia's Colleges and Universities

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: Postsecondary Success Advocacy Priorities

American Academy of Arts & Sciences: Primer on the College Student Journey, Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education

PECHS gains access to microbiology lab

PEW Charitable Trusts: Can the Arts Help Save Rural America?

Strategies for Financing the Inclusive Economy (Marjorie Kelly, Violeta Duncan and Steve Dubb for the Democracy Collaborative)