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Funding Opportunities


Where and How Do I Begin?


Step 1: Have a Clear Sense of Your Project. 

Do you have a mission statement?
What are you hoping to find funding for (all of your project, a specific piece of your project, etc.)?

What are your goals and your timeline for achieving these goals? If you cannot articulate your program and your program needs for yourself, then you will have a difficult time selling others on your ideas. 

Step 2: Identify Potential Funders and Do Your Homework. 

Who is likely to fund your project?

Are you thinking about targeting local companies or national businesses and corporations/foundations (local regional corporations or funders vs. government or large corporations)?

Who has interests in the issues that you're trying to address?
Do your homework in this area. Obtain copies of annual business reports, check with your campus development office to find out who they have relationships with. See listing of private and public sources of funding for more information. 

Are there local businesses that might be interested in donating products or services that your organization can use? 

If you're new to fundraising, you may wish to start small and think of some local businesses that might support what your organization or program is trying to accomplish. For example, you might ask a local business organization to sponsor the end of the year recognition ceremony to honor your volunteers. Offer to recognize their donation on the program flier and verbally acknowledge them at the ceremony. You may gain their interest in your program and they may offer to support your program or project more generously in the future. Find other "in kind" types of donations that the local business community might be able to offer you. 

Step 3: Consult With Project Officers from the Funder's Office. 

Once you have determined who you wish to approach for funding, contact their office (depending on the size of the company or corporation or foundation, they may or may not have an office that handles their corporate giving). Find out who you need to talk to about seeking funding and attempt to meet with that person to talk about your project and needs and assess their interest in funding your project. 

Step 4: Draft a Proposal

Draft a proposal that meets the sponsor's (potential funder) guidelines and/or needs. (See Grantwriting Resource list for resources) Most foundations and government funders have a formal system for accepting funding proposals and you must follow the guidelines. It may be helpful for you to look at proposals that other people have written in the past (if you can obtain copies). 

Step 5: Follow Up

After you submit your proposal, be sure to follow up to see whether it is funded or not.

If it is not funded, you may be able to obtain some feedback so that you will be better informed the next time you submit a proposal. Keep in touch with the contact person at the foundation or corporation - send them invitations to events that you are hosting, keep them informed of any new aspects to your program that may interest them - you may never know when they may get interested in something you are doing, or may have a change of philosophy within their organization that may cause them to take a second look at your program. 


Other Helpful Resources for Getting Started

A guide to proposal planning and writing:

Grantseeking 101: 

Ideas about Pursuing Federal Funding:


Public Sources of Funding

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance 

The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance is a government-wide compendium of Federal programs, projects, services, and activities that provide assistance or benefits to the American public. It contains financial and non-financial assistance programs administered by departments and establishments of the federal government.


The Commerce Business Daily (CBD) 

The Commerce Business Daily (CBD) lists notices of proposed government procurement actions, contract awards, sales of government property, and other procurement information. A new edition of the CBD is issued every business day. Each edition contains approximately 500-1,000 notices. Each notice appears in the CBD only once. The CBD databases online via GPO Access contain notices from December 2, 1996 forward.

The Department of Education (Office of Postsecondary Education) 

Within the Department of Education, the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) provides assistance to institutions of higher education. Programs include assistance for the improvement of educational resources and grants to improve instruction in crucial academic subjects.

The Federal Register 

Issued by the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), and published on the web by Community of Science, the Federal Register (FR) lists U.S. federal agency announcements and information, such as presidential documents, agency meetings, grant opportunities, and proposed federal regulations. The GPO publishes a new edition of the Federal Register every business day, which COS uploads on a regular basis into its FR database. This is a searchable database.

US Department of Education 

This site offers a range and an ever-growing collection of information about the
Department including information on their initiatives and priorities, grant opportunities, offices, publications, research and statistics. 

YOUR State Department of Education 

If you want to go to the US Department of Education site and follow the links to obtain your state's Department of Education web site.




Private Sources of Funding

The Chronicle of Philanthropy 

The Chronicle of Philanthropy is the newspaper of the non-profit world. Published every other week, it is a news source for charity leaders, fundraisers, grantmakers, and other people involved in the philanthropic enterprise. In print, The Chronicle is published biweekly except the first last two weeks in June and the last two weeks in December (a total of 24 issues a year). The site offers the complete contents of the new issue, an archive of articles from the past two years, and more than four years' worth of grant listings -- all fully searchable.

Communities of Science

COS Funding Opportunities is the world's leading online resource to identify funding information related to research, collaborative activities, travel, curriculum development, conferences, fellowships, post-doctoral positions, equipment acquisition, and operating or capital expenses, among others. Sources of this information are federal and regional governments, foundations, professional societies, associations, and corporations. COS Funding Opportunities is updated daily and can be searched by sponsor, amount, deadline, eligibility of applicant, funding type, and area of interest. 

The Council on Foundations 

The Council on Foundations works to support foundations by promoting knowledge, growth and action in philanthropy. See what role foundations play in your community, how to start your own foundation and what the Council does to support foundations. Also produces online newsletter - Foundation News and Commentary (


A great resource for fundraising, grantseekers, and foundations. 

Grantseeking 101

This feature contains grantseeking tips for beginners -- from selecting appropriate funders to accepting the grant.


GuideStar is a searchable database of more than 640,000 nonprofit organizations in the United States.


Sources of Funding for Service-learning


Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)

An association of education advancement officers, alumni, administrators and others who seek to advance support for higher education. Provides links to other sites.

Council on Foundations

A non-profit association of grant making foundations and corporations that promotes
responsible and effective philanthropy by assisting existing and future grant makers.

Henry and Edith Everett established the Everett Public Service Internship Program in 1989. 
The Everett Program encourages students to participate in the challenges and rewards of public interest work while providing the public interest community with the dedication, energy and idealism interns bring to their work. This organization also offers grants to those organizations interested in hosting Everett Interns. Please visit the web page for more program information and application deadlines. 

The Foundation Center has an on-line library that contains Frequently Asked Questions and in that section, they have sample grants and letters of inquiry, etc. The mission of the Foundation Center is to foster public understanding of the foundation field by collecting, organizing, analyzing, and disseminating information on foundations, corporate giving, and related subjects. Their audiences include grantseekers, grantmakers, researchers, policymakers, the media, and the general public. URL:  

Ford Foundation  
The Ford Foundation site contains information about the their grant programs.

Mellon Foundation  
The purpose of the Mellon Foundation is to promote growth in the area of public service.

Pew Charitable Trusts

The Pew Charitable Trusts makes strategic investments to help organizations and citizens develop practical solutions to problems. There is also a grant program administered by the Trusts.

Post-Tenure Review Mini-Grants from the American Association for Higher Education

(AAHE)'s New Pathways II project invites presidents and chief academic officers to apply for "Projects with Promise" mini-grants. These grants will be awarded to interested institutions that are willing to take the lead in developing practical and/or innovative approaches to how post-tenure review can be introduced, designed, implemented, and evaluated. Proposals will be accepted until May 1. For more detailed information as to grant guidelines, please contact Christine M. Licata, New Pathways II Project, c/o Rochester Institute of Technology, NTID, 52 Lomb Memorial Drive, LBJ-2845, Rochester, NY 14623-5604; 716-475-2953.

American Educational Research Association (AERA) The AERA Grants Program offers research and training opportunities for faculty, post docs, and graduate students to conduct quantitative education policy- and practice-related research using large-scale nationally representative data sets such as those developed by NSF and NCES. Minority researchers are encouraged to apply. The following programs are offered: Research Grants Dissertation Grants AERA Fellowships Research Fellowships Institute on Statistical Analysis for Education Policy. For further information contact: Jeanie Murdock, 805-893-8568, email:  or  


The Fund for the Improvement of Post-secondary Education.

Provides links to organizations for research and education funding opportunities.

U.S. Opportunity Alert

An e-mail service that provides information on research and education funding from major agencies and cooproations.