Helpful terminology

Types of Support

  • Capital support – Funds provided for endowment, buildings, construction, or equipment.
  • Challenge grant – A grant that is paid only if the recipient organization raises a specified amount of additional funds from other sources.
  • Endowment – Funds intended to be invested in perpetuity, with the interest earned providing income for ongoing support of a not-for-profit organization, scholarships and the like.
  • General operating support – A grant made to further the general purpose or work of an organization, rather than for a specific purpose or project; also called an unrestricted grant or basic support.
  • Matching grant – A grant that is given to match funds provided by another donor.
  • Seed money – Start-up funding used for a new project or organization

Other Terms

  • Annual report – A voluntary report issued by a foundation or corporation that provides financial data and descriptions of its grant making activities. Annual reports vary in format and often are included on a foundation’s website.
  • Community foundation – A 501(c)(3) organization that makes grants for charitable purposes in a specific community or region. The funds available to a community foundation are usually derived from many donors and held in an endowment that is independently administered; income earned by the endowment is then used to make grants.
  • Corporate foundation – A private foundation whose assets are derived primarily from the contributions of a for-profit business.
  • Family foundation – An independent private foundation whose funds are derived from members of a single family. Family members often serve as officers or board members of family foundations and play a significant role in their grant making decisions.
  • Form 990-PF – The public record information return that all private foundations are required by law to submit annually to the Internal Revenue Service. The 990-PF tax form includes information on funder assets, expenditures, grant making, and board members.
  • Letter of inquiry – A brief letter outlining an organization’s activities and its request for funding that is sent to a prospective donor in order to determine whether it would be appropriate to submit a full grant proposal.
  • Operating foundation – A 501(c)(3) organization classified by the IRS as a private foundation whose primary purpose is to conduct research, social welfare, or other programs determined by its governing body or establishment charter.
  • Principal Investigator (PI) – Faculty (Academic Council members and Medical Center Line faculty) responsible for a research grant; has overall responsibility for the technical and fiscal management of a sponsored project.
  • Proposal – A written application for funding, often accompanied by supporting documents, submitted to a foundation or corporate giving program.
  • Request for Proposal (RFP) – Utilized by government agencies and foundations to announce funding opportunities. The RFP contains project specifications and application procedures and deadlines.