Faculty/Staff Resources

The Office of Corporate and Foundation Engagement (OCFE) serve as the single, visible point of entry or ‘front door’ for companies, foundations, and industry professionals seeking access to university resources. OCFE coordinates the University’s industry and foundation relationships from one centralized office; by leveraging efforts to enhance innovation and transform partnerships, and provide a simplified approach for corporations and foundations to access campus research and faculty expertise. OCFE strives to create and expand partnerships with industry and foundations by linking business needs to university resources.

Our purpose is to become a partner of choice for a growing number of strategic corporate and foundation relationships that advance common interests and goals through collaborative solutions and innovative research.

Corporate Engagement Capabilities

  • Connect corporate and foundation partners with UT strengths, expertise and services
  • Advance robust strategic corporate and foundation relationships
  • Further cutting-edge interdisciplinary research
  • Strengthen workforce development opportunities
  • Increase UT faculty opportunities for corporate and foundation philanthropy
  • Help drive licensing opportunities and promote the commercialization of UT intellectual property
  • Adopt a holistic corporate and foundation engagement approach and communicate across campus units
  • Foster a campus culture that values corporate and foundation engagement as a core organizational strategy
  • Build the UT CFE corporate and foundation engagement brand
  • Communicate the plan across campus to dean’s department heads, faculty, development staff, research staff and other touch points.
  • Develop a model office of corporate and foundation engagement
  • We act as the conduit to Oak Ridge National Laboratory for multidisciplinary opportunities

Corporate Engagement Contacts

Foundation Engagement Capabilities

Faculty who are considering approaching a private foundation for project funding should contact Sally Morris, or Jill Passano before making an approach. Morris & Passano can offer advice and assistance in working with foundations and can ensure that foundations do not receive multiple, competitive contacts from the university.

  • Introduce and engage university leadership
  • Facilitate recognition for foundations
  • Coordinate campus-wide conversations around interest to foundations, and match with UT faculty research
  • Identify and communicate Request for Proposals “RFP” funding opportunities to faculty
  • Collaborate with Office of Research & Engagement (ORE) to assist with Limited Submission proposal opportunities, and make them available system/campus wide
  • Facilitate proposal development, gift agreements, and grant letters
  • Collaborate with faculty and foundations to assure that goals are met
  • Coordinate, organize, and host visits to campus
  • Ensure connection points are made between foundations and key UT faculty
  • Can connect foundations to faculty

Foundation Resources

Grantseeker General Information

Foundation Engagement staff can help grant seekers throughout the proposal process – from identifying prospects to developing strategic proposals and ultimately communication with the potential funder.

The UT Knoxville Office of Research and Engagement has developed a very helpful Grantseeker Toolkit that contains proposal writing articles, guides and manuals; a library of successful proposals, and other relevant information.

Sponsored Programs

The Office of Foundation Engagement works closely with the Offices of Sponsored Programs at UT Knoxville and the UT Institute of Agriculture. In many cases TERA-PAMS is the correct way to submit a foundation proposal. If you have any questions about whether to use TERA-PAMS for certain proposals, please contact us or the appropriate Office of Sponsored Programs.

Funding Opportunities

The Office of Foundation Engagement works closely with the UTK and UTIA Offices of Sponsored Programs to identify and distribute funding opportunities to faculty and staff. Both internal and external opportunities are available.

The UTK Office of Sponsored Programs provides a helpful link to  funding opportunities,  as well as a weekly Funding Opportunity Roundup. The university also provides a subscription to SciVal® Funding, an innovative web-based tool that can assist in finding new opportunities. SciVal Funding provides researchers, administrators, and research development professionals with valuable information about grant opportunities and award recipients that can assist faculty and staff.

The university also graciously provides an institutional subscription to the Foundation Directory Online, a news and searchable database containing information on nearly 600 grant-making foundations and companies.

*Please note both SciVal® and the Foundation Directory Online can only be accessed from campus computers.

Limited Submissions

It is important to understand that often, foundations will limit the number of proposals that can be submitted by an institution, or that contact must be carefully coordinated with only one institutional point of contact. The Office of Research and Engagement manages the limited submission process, and must be consulted on all limited submission opportunities.


Will Foundations fund indirect costs?
We are often asked about indirect costs/overhead regarding foundation proposals. It is not uncommon for foundations to offer limited indirect or overhead (often 10%-20% range or less), and we are sensitive to each foundation’s budget policies. We work with faculty, sponsored programs, and the foundation to best meet the foundation’s needs as well as university and college costs.

What is the difference between seeking federal funding and seeking foundation funding?
Foundations, including those that are privately or corporately funded, award research money or other grants when there is a convincing need for the requested support, and the grant will help the foundation to reach its goals. Each foundation has specific priorities such as global health, homelessness, or children’s causes, and many limit their giving to defined purposes, such as program support. Often there are geographic restrictions as well, including to specific states, regions or cities. Proposals must take into account each foundation’s program restrictions and requirements, and communicate the request in a way that appeals to the foundation’s mission.

Many foundation funders require pre-proposals, which are brief descriptions of the proposed project, and generally do not include full budgets, timelines, supporting letters or curricula vitae. Pre-proposals are a way for the foundation to determine whether they are interested in inviting a full proposal. Each foundation has its own set of allowable and unallowable budget items. Foundation budgets do not carry the federally negotiated indirect rate. Generally, if a foundation does provide indirect costs to a project, they are capped at 10-20%. Just like federal proposals, most foundation budget required budget justifications.