Grant-seeker’s Guide

Boston University Foundation Relations exists to help members of the BU community secure foundation support for their research, teaching, and outreach projects.

This website is meant to guide you through the process of seeking foundation support for your work. In most cases, we encourage you to contact a foundation directly to determine if your project aligns with its mission and strategy and to learn more about the process for requesting support. Before you get started, though, one important note:

While Foundation Relations should always be contacted before soliciting a foundation, Sponsored Programs must always be contacted—and the processes it administers must be followed—when a BU investigator is submitting a grant (sponsored program or project) proposal, regardless of the nature of the funding agency. As steward of the University’s externally funded research portfolio, Sponsored Programs is responsible for ensuring that all research proposals and projects adhere to BU’s academic and research policies and meet obligations to external sponsors.

The entire process—from initial contact to final decision by a foundation’s board of directors—takes six months to a year, on average. You are best advised to start the process very well in advance of the time the funding will be needed.

In addition, a handful of centrally managed foundations should be approached for funding only through or with clearance from Foundation Relations, at the request of either the foundation’s leadership or the University’s. These are foundations that expect funding discussions to center on institutional priorities and that in most cases have explicitly asked that funding requests carry the endorsement of the president and be conveyed through Foundation Relations.

Please read through the step-by-step process here, and contact us if you have further questions. You can also download this shorter, printable guide to the process.