Faculty Seeking Funding

Faculty Teaching DU


Foundation Relations at the University of Denver is here to help staff and faculty of the University family realize the ambitions of their community projects, research, and teaching through secure funding sources.

Typically, we encourage you to engage with a foundation individually as part of the initial process to determine whether your project is firmly aligned with their funding priorities, as well as to clarify and confirm further procedures for requesting support. But should you have any questions about how to begin the foundation funding search, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Naturally, Foundation Relations does not seek to build barriers between members of the university community and foundations. However, dialogue with the following foundations should only occur with the explicit permission of Foundation Relations, keeping in line with requests from the foundation's or the university's leadership. In most cases, these are foundations that require funding discussions to center on institutional priorities, and have requested that potential funding requests bear the endorsement of the Chancellor while being conveyed via Foundation Relations.

Restricted Foundations 

Colorado Health Foundation
Colorado Trust
Boettcher Foundation
Daniels Fund
Piton Foundation
El Pomar Foundation
Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation
Wells Fargo Foundation
Gates Family Foundation
Caring for Colorado
Bonfils-Stanton Foundation
Rose Community Foundation
The Denver Foundation
Anschutz Foundation
Helen K. and Arthur E. Johnson Foundation
Cydney and Tom Marsico Foundation
Walton Family Foundation
William Randolph Hearst Foundations
Carnegie Corporation of New York


Application Journey

  • Time Involved
    • Seeking foundation funding can be a long term process that may take several months to a year. It is advisable to plan on approaching funders well before you actually need their support.
  • Requests for Proposals (RFP's)
    • Some foundations have open submission periods during which they accept proposals on any topic related to their areas of interest. In some cases, a foundation may disburse a Request for Proposal (RFP), essentially soliciting proposals from sources they have vetted as promising potential partners. Any contact from a foundation employee requesting a proposal should be considered a solicited request. 
    • Due to the nature of the ongoing relationship between foundations and our office, in support of the University of Denver, we ask that any solicited requests be reported to Foundation Relations before engaging in further dialogue with the organization. Again, this is because there are often numerous areas of potential interest or previously established avenues of support from a particular foundation. Our role is to discuss with you our level of involvement, which would typically include an overview of the foundation's relationship with the university relative to historical support and realistic levels of expected support.
  • Letters of Inquiry (LOIs)
    • Sometimes foundations prefer to receive preliminary information to better inform a more focused search for project funding. This can be accomplished through a Letter of Inquiry (LOI), a sort of abstract of what a larger proposal would look like. An effective LOI summarizes an organization's activities and interests, including a concise overview of what a complete grant proposal would look like.
  • Proposals
    • A proposal is a formal written application, including necessary supporting documents, submitted to a foundation to request grant support. While foundations and other organizations have varying, oftentimes strict formatting guidelines, the majority of proposals are composed around a structure including an executive summary, statement of need or rationale, project description, organizational background, budget, and conclusion.
    • Often, LOIs do not require many attachments, but proposals almost always require at least some of the following to accompany your proposal narrative:
      • IRS 501(c)3 determination letter
      • Form 990
      • Financial Audit
      • University-wide budget
      • Annual Report
      • Non-discrimination policy
      • Up-to-date board of trustees list
      • Donor lists
    • Foundation Relations is happy to help you compile the appropriate attachments for submission of your proposal.
  • Reporting and Stewardship
    • Upon receiving confirmation of an approved proposal and subsequent award notification, Foundation Relations assumes responsibility for stewardship of your grant. Along with the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP), Foundation Relations may review the grant conditions and terms for the purpose of dispatching any additional paperwork to the foundation for official acceptance of the award. When appropriate, we may express the university's appreciation for the foundation's support with letters of gratitude from the Chancellor and/or Dean(s).
    • More than likely, the grant agreement will briefly reiterate the funder's key values, narrative, and any specific reporting requirements. Foundation Relations may record reporting deadlines and, when necessary, remind the appropriate investigators of any upcoming deadlines. It is critical to adhere to the reporting guidelines and timeline given in a grant agreement, and to keep the foundation informed of the project's progress. Therefore, we also encourage project leaders to maintain an open dialogue with Foundation Relations, and convey any significant developments or challenges that may arise throughout the grant period.
    • In order to increase the likelihood of receiving future support from a foundation, it is imperative that any grants awarded are properly stewarded. Keeping a foundation aware and informed of the excellent work their funds are impacting better positions the university for more support in the future.