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Foundation Engagement Support

Private professional foundations are charitable, non-governmental organizations that support research and outreach projects that align with their mission and programs. Foundations often position themselves as a complement to, not a duplication of, federal funding programs and prize high-risk, innovative research that can deliver impact. 

There are many classifications of funders under the general umbrella of private foundations, including public charities, operating foundations, charitable trusts, community foundations, and traditional private and family foundations. In recent years, the foundation landscape has become especially complex in recent years with the rise of impact funds, LLCs, and Donor-Advised Funds. That is why we are here to help.

Below are some resources and FAQs to get you started. 

Is my project a good fit for foundations?

In general, foundations fund projects, not operations or endowments. Philanthropic organizations have their own goals and programmatic priorities. To successfully engage with a foundation,  your work must help them to achieve their goals.

Am I required to contact FCE before applying to a foundation?

The Office of Foundation and Corporate Engagement encourages faculty and staff to contact us before applying to any private funding organization so that we can update you on the current status of UC Davis’ relationship. We can strategize about how to present your work in a way that aligns with funder interests. In addition, many foundations limit the number of applications from a university, which is why we partner with the Limited Submissions unit at the Office of Research to select the internal nominees that may apply for these specific funding opportunities.

How do I prepare a proposal for a foundation?

The strongest funding proposals are built on preparation, execution and careful adherence to the submission guidelines. The Office of Foundation and Corporate Engagement aims to manage your expectations about submission success and place your proposal in the best position to succeed.

Follow the links below for proposal instructions, samples and templates:


Getting Started

UC Davis’ Office of Foundation and Corporate Engagement (FCE) works with corporate and foundation partners, as well as university faculty and staff, to foster meaningful engagement with these external entities and to advance the university’s education, research, and service mission.

Contact Us