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Funder Tool Kits: Private Foundations



This Funder Tool Kit specifically highlights Private Foundations. It includes priorities, funding opportunities, proposal guidance, and additional resources. The Funder Tool Kits are a collaborative effort between the UCF Libraries and ORC Research Development Team.


How to Approach a Foundation

Contacting private foundations is different from contacting federal and state sponsors.  Some foundations prefer that individuals do not contact them directly, but prefer the contact is made through the institution's Development Office (UCF Foundation) and Sponsored Programs office.  Please contact Madhavi (Maddy) Chokshi at the Office of Research & Commercialization to coordinate reaching out to a Foundation.

Resource page on how to:

  • Initiate contact with potential funders
  • Plan calls and meetings, including site visits
  • Effectively communicate with funders during the grant process

How to successfully approach Foundations that don't take unsolicited applications

Proposal Writing Basics

Free webinar or short course on:

  • How the proposal fits into the overall grant seeking process
  • What to include in a standard proposal to a foundation
  • Tips for making each section of your proposal stronger
  • What funders expect to see in your proposal and attachments
  • Tips for communicating with funders during the grant process
  • Additional resources on proposal writing, including sample proposals

Proposal writing page – answers questions on how to write a grant proposal and proposal writing basics.

How do I write a grant proposal?

A Foundation CEO's six-step formula for winning a grant

Red flags for reviewers – Grant makers share their insights and advice on proposals.

What makes a proposal stand out?

Sample Proposals

This page is a searchable collection of proposals, cover letters, letters of inquiry, and proposal budgets that were funded. 

Proposal Budget Basics

Free webinar on:

  • What is included under the "personnel" section and how to calculate it?
  • What level of detail do you need to include for non-personnel expenses?
  • How do you determine reasonable costs?
  • What types of expenses can be included in the "overhead" category?
  • What other financial documents will funders want to see?

Nonprofit budgets - learn more nonprofit accounting basics, budget templates, and budget tips.

Sample Budgets

This page is a searchable page for information on overhead costs, fundraising planning and includes sample budgets. 

Training Courses

This page contains a list of training courses on topics such as grantseeking basics for nonprofit organizations, demystifying the 990-PF, grantseeking for individuals etc.

Grantspace - provides easy-to-use, self-service tools and resources to help nonprofits worldwide become more viable grant applicants and build strong, sustainable organizations.


The FAQ page answer questions about funding research and resources for nonprofits and individuals, nonprofit management, and more.

Funding Opportunity Databases

Foundation Center’s Philanthropy News Digest – posts requests for proposals (RFPs) submitted by grant makers.

Foundation Directory Online – provides the ability to search for grant makers nationwide.

Guidestar – provides the ability to search for foundations using keywords.

Health Grants Information Center – listing of 100 largest U.S. grant making foundations.

Pivot – provides the ability to search for only private foundation grants using keywords and other filters.

Information About Nonprofits


The term 501(c)(3) refers to tax-exempt, charitable organizations that have been recognized and approved by the Internal Revenue Service. Charitable organizations typically have purposes that fall into categories benefiting the public good.

Types of nonprofits

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes a variety of nonprofit organizations, not just 501(c)(3) groups. Examples include private foundations, social clubs, veteran’s organizations, and business leagues.


Charity is a broad term many use when referring to nonprofit organizations. However, not all nonprofits are charities. A charity holds legal 501(c)(3) recognition from the IRS.

Private foundations

By definition, all organizations that qualify for 501(c)(3) recognition are considered private foundations until they meet the IRS’ public charity public support requirements. Private foundations are nonprofit organizations funded by a single source, such as a family donor, who conduct a range of charitable, religious or educational activities.


Nonprofit and not-for-profit are terms often used interchangeably, but not-for-profit should typically only be used when referring to an activity, such as a recreation or sport. The term nonprofit denotes an organization focused on larger social or public issues.


Private Foundations Point of Contact at UCF

Madhavi (Maddy) Chokshi
Research Development Coordinator
Office of Research & Commercialization
(407) 882-1141

REACT support from ORC Research Development Team

A unique approach to supporting large, complex proposal submissions.

R:  The Research Development team promises to rapidly Respond to investigator needs by immediately making ourselves available and beginning the research support process.

E:  The Research Development team can Evaluate needs and available assets based on agency/RFP guidelines, existing infrastructure, collaboration requirements, and special requests (such as samples from the proposal library or FOIA requests and templates created for the specific announcement/agency).

A:  The Research Development team can Assist with proposal components and coordinate efforts with the C&G team and College/Institute Administrators. Research Development can help prepare non-technical components of the proposal such as Facilities Equipment & Other Resources, Current & Pending Support, Letters of Collaboration, Biographical Sketches, Collaborators & Other Affiliations, research timeline tables, and perform searches for UCF facts and demographics/enrollment data.  We can point to on-line materials that support the proposal preparation.

C:  The Research Development team can Coordinate the proposal progress through meeting/communication assistance, identification and connection with collaborators/partners, document management, review coordination (editorial review, technical peer review), proposal progress scheduling, and follow-ups with collaborators.

T:  The Research Development team can Track proposals through the stages of revision and finalization, and can provide post-submission evaluation.