The competition for academic funding has never been greater, and now there's a new way to help match campus faculty members with available foundation grant money and a host of grant-related services.
Teaming with the Office of Foundation Relations, the University Library is offering the Foundation Directory Online to anyone on campus with a NetID and password. (Click on databases.)
The online directory is one of the largest and most-used grant-search resources in the country, listing more than 3 million recent grants through more than 108,000 U.S. foundations and corporate donors.
"This will help anyone conduct a preliminary search themselves," said Janelle Weatherford, the director of foundation relations.
Prior to the subscription service being offered widely, Weatherford said her office would take campus requests and start the search process. Results of the search were then shared with faculty members.
Now, she said, faculty members can take the lead in the process and narrow their search before even getting to the application process.
"After the preliminary search, there can be quite a sizeable queue to go through," she said. "This allows faculty to do the fishing themselves and then come back to us for a more detailed conversation."
In just the last year, requests for campus foundation funding have gone up by 40 percent, something Weatherford called "a pretty significant increase," and it was the impetus for offering the service more broadly.
Thomas H. Teper, the assistant dean of libraries, said the library saw the opportunity to offer the service as another way to better serve its campus constituency.
"Requests to add the service go back several years," he said. "I am glad that circumstances were right for us to act on those and provide this sort of broader access to the campus community," he said.
In addition to grant money, the service offers subscribers entry into as many as nine databases including information about grant-makers, companies and tax-exempt organizations, plus five unique databases covering requests for proposals, philanthropy news, foundation-sponsored publications, nonprofit literature and jobs. There are up to 54 search fields including keyword searching - even across all recent IRS 990s.
"It covers everything from the humanities to science," Teper said. "Anyone on campus can search through any of the databases. It's a very valuable tool."
Weatherford said her office would continue to assist anyone who needs help and offers many follow-up services after the initial search all the way up to final reporting.
Foundation Relations and the library have plans to offer training workshops starting this fall and Weatherford said that one-on-one consultations will continue to be available through her office.
"There are tips and tricks you can use to better utilize the database search," she said. "We've got a lot of experience with how the system works and we want to share it."