Foundation Relations - Carnegie Mellon University

Foundation Relations

Carnegie Mellon’s Office of Foundation Relations - part of University Advancement - is a centralized resource for CMU faculty and staff who are interested in soliciting funds from private foundations. The Foundation Relations team works to increase the amount of foundation money awarded to support university strategic priorities (including BrainHub, The Simon Initiative, and endowed Presidential Fellowships and Scholarships) and priorities identified by deans and department heads, as well as faculty-initiated projects.

We provide the following support to faculty and staff:

Donor research

  • Conduct prospect research to identify foundations that are potential matches for a project
  • Provide background information on the history of CMU’s relationship with specific foundations 
  • Help develop strategies for approaching potential foundation donors

Proposal development

  • Forward RFPs on specific foundation opportunities as they are announced
  • Help develop project ideas and ensure alignment with donor interests
  • Provide assistance in drafting and editing proposals
  • Assist with the procedures involved in submitting a proposal, including the submission of required supporting institutional documents
  • Work with the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) to coordinate the submission of foundation opportunities that limit the number of proposals universities can submit (these limited submission opportunities include the WM Keck Foundation research program, Pew Biomedical Scholars, Packard Fellows, and Searle Scholars)
  • Provide assistance in negotiating terms of an award

Facilitate connections

  • Identify relevant program officers at foundations and facilitate contact with them
  • Raise awareness of a project’s funding needs among other Advancement staff on campus, e.g. Office of Corporate and Institutional Partnerships, Individual Giving department
  • Share information and help connect faculty who have previously received funding from a foundation with those interested in pursuing opportunities

Stewardship and reporting

  • Maintain contact with foundations, both during and after a grant is made, and keep administrators and faculty informed of new developments regarding proposals
  • Track information about an award, provide reminders when reports are due, and give advice regarding stewardship of donors
  • Draft reports for centrally-managed projects
  • Organize meetings with foundations