University Grants for a Shrinking Budget

The new fiscal year is about to begin for many universities and budgeting is proving to be daunting task for institutions that are facing shrinking federal funding. Could a grant be the answer to your budgeting struggles? As the Chronicle of Philanthropy recently reported, some foundations are boosting grants to offset the impact of government cuts and “citing concerns that cuts to government funding may reverse progress on those issues”[1].

We spoke with David Broussard of Dickerson Bakker & Associates to get some expert advice on where you can look for grant opportunities – keeping in mind that no two grants are exactly the same and that grants tend to have very specific eligibility requirements and application characteristics. David’s advice includes some fantastic ideas on where to start:

1. Alumni who are Involved in Foundations

This is the best place to begin your search. These individuals are already connected to your school and may sit on the board of a foundation. Their introduction could be just what you need to open the doors to submitting an application and receiving funding.

2. Local Foundations and Corporate Donors

These organizations often get involved in improving the local community and could be interested in helping a local school or higher education institution.

3. Government Grants for University Programs contains the listings and information for all federal funding opportunities.  You’ll need to determine the best agency to research based on your particular project.  For example, NSF or NIH specialize in science or medical research grants.

4. Private Foundations Funding

Large private foundations could be working with or funding programs in your area –  i.e.  research projects, conferences, or projects at another university. These should be on your prospect list.

5. Public Charity Grantmakers

While grant making 501(c)(3) public charities have different revenue sources than private foundations, they often operate like a grantor. These organizations raise funds to then re-grant. The Susan G Komen or Lungevity organizations are great examples.

6. Look to Other Schools

Check out your competition, sister schools, or other schools in your system to find out who is funding them. You can often find a list of this information on their websites. Many universities already have collaborative policies in place, however, it’s always good to leave no stone unturned.

7. Specialized Research Grant Sites

Finally, there are a number of directories that can help you find specialized grants such as FoundationSearch, Foundation Directory Online, and GrantStation.

So don’t let a shrinking budget and upcoming fiscal year worry you – there are other options! With declining government funding, private grants and foundations are offering donations to compensate for the financial gaps.

Although each and every grant will have it’s own specialized requirements, you now have list of proven suggestions to begin your search.



[1] Packard Foundation Boosts Grants to Offset Impact of Government Cuts, Chronicle of Philanthropy

[2] David Broussard, Dickerson Bakker & Associates


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