Approaching Foundations

  • Please contact the DGF before contacting a private foundation, business, or corporation for assistance. Keep in mind that many foundations allow only one application (or nominee) per institution, so proposal submissions to specific foundations MUST be coordinated through the advancement office.

    A letter of inquiry or pre-proposal is a common first step when approaching a foundation, depending on their guidelines. The DGF will make this preliminary contact prior to formal submission of a proposal.

    Please note that the letter of inquiry or letter of endorsement is typically sent from the president’s office and, in some cases, a supporting letter from your department chair is recommended. This one to three page proposal text is typically accompanied by a one-page budget description.

    The response from the preliminary contact will generally reveal the level of interest of the foundation and can help develop useful contacts in the organization (and may save time spent on unnecessary drafting of proposals).

    A prospect will request a fully-developed proposal only if they prove interested. The office of advancement will provide other supporting documents, trustee information, financial statements, patterns of alumni giving, etc.