Submissions to Private Foundations

Guidelines for each active funding opportunity needs to be examine closely, and ahead of time, with every new submission. Sometimes with private foundation guidelines are vague or even non-existent, and support from the Grant Development Office and Corporate and Foundation Relations can help. 

Application support from the College’s Grant Development Office includes:

  • searching for funding opportunity matches
  • interpreting application guidelines
  • investigating past awards
  • providing guidance with budget development and cost sharing requests
  • providing grant writing style resources and assistance
  • proofreading
  • providing updated boilerplate Villanova and departmental content
  • assistance with the online Cayuse submission platform

Faculty are also encouraged to liaison with ORA to provide additional confirmation that all budgetary and other application details are in compliance with Federal and University policies. ORA is the only office on campus authorized to commit Villanova in application for sponsored funding.

Corporate and Foundation Relations should be consulted in the preparation of requests to private industry or foundations. 

Finally, the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development, Barry Selinsky, would be happy to assist with any questions associated with the grant or the submission process. 

For all external grant applications, the Internal Submission (Cayuse) must be used. The Cayuse SP submission must be completed at least three business days prior to actual grant submission deadline. Extensions to this deadline are possible, but only with the approval of the College and ORA.

(See "Submission of Proposals" page for more information on submission requirements.)

Private foundations differ greatly from federal sponsors, they differ greatly between each other, and can sometimes change internally from year to year, by adapting guidelines, mission, eligibility requirements, funding programs, and funding amounts. For example:

  • They all have their own specific political, geographic, topical and ideological preferences, which can determine eligibility criteria;
  • They may or may not have a formal grant review process, and if they do, proposals might or might not be reviewed by academic experts;
  • A foundation can range from employing a large staff managing several funding programs, to a volunteer board of trustees made up of family members;
  • Application deadlines could be rolling, quarterly, bi-annual, annual, or open by invitation only;
    Some require an initial “Letter of Intent” which can range from a simple one page letter and a phone call, to a formal online process that could include a budget;
  • They may require submission through paper mailing, email, or online platforms;
  • Unlike federal applications, in some cases private foundation applications are submitted directly by the faculty member. A few federal and private sponsors limit the number of proposals submitted per institution, or require institutional endorsement, thus it is important to contact the Director of Grant Development to insure that guidelines provided by the funding source are followed;
  • Budgetary allowable expenses range widely, for example, IDC may be restricted or not allowable, paid personnel might be limited to students, and they might require in kind or cash matching/cost sharing contributions;
  • Requesting the maximum amount might be expected from some foundations and not be looked favorably upon by others;
  • They may require various documentation, such as institutional letters of support or Federal IRS status;
    They may require direct payment to the applicant (as in some Fellowships);
  • Year-end grant reports are often required and can range from a simple summary of activities to a detailed final accounting with final budgets and outcome measures;
  • Grants are ‘contracts’ and foundations can rescind a grant if contractual conditions are not met, or require that unspent monies to be returned;
  • Once a relationship is established with a foundation, repeat applications are highly encouraged, however, some foundations have resubmission or repeat funding restrictions.

Fellowships are awards for individual scholars; there is no “Principal Investigator” (PI) for a fellowship, as there is with institutional grants. The awardee is referred to as a “Fellow.” Fellowship funds generally take the form of salary replacement or small support stipends that support academic research. Unlike other grants, there are usually no budgets per se for any facilities or research costs and IDC are usually not allowable. As such, fellowship sponsors cannot be “charged” costs such as benefits or IDC. As with other grants, an internal submission through Cayuse must be completed.

The salary associated with a Foundation fellowship is typically an amount set by the sponsor and does not necessarily match the fellow’s normal salary. The College or University may contribute to the difference between the fellowship and Villanova’s salary or benefits, on a case by case basis (see below). Prior to applying for a Fellowship, faculty members must discuss both financial and leave options with their Department Chair, Dean, and Provost as necessary.

Fellowships are paid to those individual scholars, either directly or through the scholar’s institution. Sometimes the fellowship specifies payment policies and sometimes they do not. Research grants, by contrast, are most commonly awarded to the institutions employing the individual scholars. If the fellow is being paid directly, responsibilities for any applicable taxes on the award rest with the individual fellows. The fellow can sometimes designate the university to be the agent for payment, but the Office of Research Administration should be contacted if this is desired. Payment through Villanova can ensure continuous provision of university benefits, but may require collection of fringe benefits and/or indirect costs from the funding agent.

Unlike other grant funds, fellowships cannot result in “unspent” or “excess” funds. A fellow is entitled to the entire amount of the award (unless the terms of the fellowship are violated). The standard scenario is that funds are “fully expended” by completion of the fellowship period. Therefore, unlike institutional grants, fellowships typically have no requirements for expenditure reports. Fellows are often asked for final reports on their research or writing during the fellowship year.

If a fellow changes institutions before or during the tenure of the award, the stipend often can be routed through to the new institution. Also, except in rare situations, fellowship salary stipends cannot be transferred to any other individual or institution.

(*adapted from ACLS Fellowship website)

Faculty members are assigned a teaching load that allows sufficient time to pursue research and to complete assigned and volunteered service obligations. The normal teaching load for research-active faculty members in CLAS is three courses per semester. Highly productive researchers receive an additional one course reduction per year and teach a 3/2 load. Faculty who submit grants providing significant financial support may request teaching load reductions to provide time for research activities supported by the grants. Faculty members in CLAS are expected to teach a minimum of two courses each semester, except under truly extraordinary circumstances. Faculty must seek approval from their Department Chair and Associate Dean of Research for a course reduction for funded research prior to the grant application.

Private foundations (and the Fulbright Scholar Program) may require a full-time commitment to the funded project, requiring one or two semesters of release time from teaching responsibilities.  The Villanova sabbatical leave policy provides one semester of leave at full pay, or two semesters at half pay, to support research activities. Whenever possible, funding requests that require release time from teaching should be made in concert with sabbatical leave applications, and must be discussed with the Chair and Barry Selinsky prior to application submission.

If the external funding doesn’t completely recover faculty salary, the faculty member may request a “salary differential” to compensate for the lost salary. Such agreements are negotiated with the Associate Dean of Research and Provost on a case-by-case basis, and must be discussed prior to application submission.

Pre-tenure faculty may request a full year’s sabbatical leave following a successful third year review. Per the faculty handbook, If a junior faculty member taking the one semester sabbatical requests an extension for purposes of scholarly endeavors by means of an unpaid leave of absence for the other semester of the academic year of the sabbatical, the Provost, following the university policy on unpaid leaves, may elect to provide University coverage of its portion of the faculty member’s benefits for that semester on leave. 

If a faculty member wishes to apply for a grant requiring a leave of absence, but are not eligible for a sabbatical leave during the grant, he/she must notify their Department Chairs and the Dean to receive tentative approval for a leave of absence, prior to submitting the application. The College will follow the official University policy on unpaid leave as outlined in the Faculty Handbook (Section 49, below). All requests for teaching release time, salary, and benefit continuation must be made before submitting the funding application.

1.  Unpaid leaves of absence normally are limited to a maximum of one year. Upon the recommendation of the faculty member's dean and department chair, leaves may be extended upon application to and approval of the Provost; but, normally, no faculty member or academic administrator will be granted an unpaid leave of absence from the University for more than two years total during any ten year period.

2.  During the term of the unpaid leave, the faculty member will be responsible for payment of all premiums for benefits, including the University portion, in all programs s/he wishes to continue. If, upon the recommendation of one's department chair and dean, the Provost judges that the unpaid leave is sufficiently in the University's interest as to warrant the University's payment of its share of these premiums during the term of the leave, the University may elect to cover some or all of these payments. In certain limited cases, if the faculty member’s unpaid leave is supported by an extramural grant or fellowship deemed by the VPAA to be sufficiently prestigious and in the University’s interest, the University may, at its sole discretion, provide partial salary for some or all of the period of the leave.

3.  The "term" of an unpaid leave of absence refers to the academic year or semester (as the case may be) during which the faculty member is on unpaid leave from the University plus the summer following an academic year during which the faculty member is on unpaid leave. If the unpaid leave is for one semester only and the faculty member either is on the University's payroll for the other semester of that academic year or has an approved paid or unpaid leave under the Sabbatical Leave Policy or the Family and Medical Leave of Absence Policy, the University's portion of benefits will be paid by the University for the summer preceding the faculty member's return to full-time teaching/administration.

4.  An official unpaid leave of absence ordinarily is not counted as service for purposes of tenure and advancement in rank. Faculty members may voluntarily choose to participate in University, college, and/or departmental service and other activities during their unpaid leave, but normally no compensation will be rendered for such activity.

If a Letter of Intent is required for a private foundation application, its requirements can vary widely. In some cases, if the sponsor does not request an estimated budget or will not require institutional endorsement in the full application, the PI can submit Letters directly to the sponsor without requiring internal submission. If, however, a budget estimate is needed, please send the budget to the Dean of Research for discussion before submitting the LOI. 

Villanova University, through an agreement negotiated with the Department of Health and Human Services, can request indirect costs (IDC) associated with funded grant activities. Currently, Villanova’s current federal IDC return is 49.7% on salaries only (not fringe). These costs not directly identifiable with a specific grant project and covers real costs incurred by the university, such as buildings, equipment, and administrative and operational support. Villanova strongly encourages the inclusion of full allowable IDCUnlike federal grants, private foundations typically either do not allow for the inclusion of IDC or they specify a lower amount, thus the IDC contribution from the University can sometimes be considered cost-sharing. 

CLAS receives a portion of IDC (currently 50%) which is maintained in a dedicated Indirect Grant Funds account and used to support research activities in the College. IDC is also returned to the researcher (10%), their academic department (15%), and ORA (25%).  

Fringe benefits cover costs such as FICA, insurance, and retirement. The federally negotiated rate is now included in the direct costs as 32.71% for Full Time personnel on the grant, and 7.73% for PT personnel and undergraduates who may be working full time during the summer. For most private foundation budgets, the fringe is included, unless guidelines specifically restrict it or if it should be considered part of university cost sharing.

(see ORA’s Fact Sheet)

Private foundations sometimes either recommend or require cost sharing, which demonstrates a deeper university commitment to the faculty member’s research. Cost sharing is the financial support, either in-kind or cash, that is contributed by the university and/or CLAS to sponsored projects. Cost sharing items may include: waived fringe benefits or IDC returns, faculty time, undergraduate summer research, and existing facility/equipment use. For the college's policy, click here. Per university policy, graduate student tuition remission is provided when a there is full IDC or maximum indirect allowed by sponsor, and the graduate student is working 20 hours a week for at least 9 months on the sponsored project. 

The college is often willing to provide supplemental cost share or cost matching support for external funding. Grant matching funds are usually obtained through the College’s Indirect Grant Fund, mentioned above. The college will not contribute more than half of the College’s IDC return.  Documentation of expenditure is required. All cost-sharing commitments require approval from the Chair and CLAS Associate Dean of Research prior to application submission.  Cost sharing agreements are included on the Cayuse Internal Submission form.

At any point in the process, please contact Lyla, Director of Grant Development:
Office: SAC 190
Phone: (610) 519-8411