Frequently Asked Questions: Faculty Members and Staff

I need funding. Can you help?

Begin by contacting your school or department’s assigned development officer, who can explore a range of fundraising tactics with you. Your dean or department chair can provide contact information for your development officer.

If you know that corporate or foundation funding is the best option for your project, or if your department does not have an assigned development officer, feel free to contact us. We will be happy to have a conversation. Please note that the foundation fundraising process can take six months to a year from the time a viable prospect is identified. We are rarely successful with last-minute fundraising requests.

What is the difference between a gift and a grant?

The definitions of “gift” and “grant” are policy differentiations internal to UCSF (and all major research universities) and are not legal or universal definitions. Foundations and corporations may use different terminology to describe their giving, and their chosen language does not necessarily reflect UCSF’s categorization.

In general, a gift is a charitable contribution with no – or very few – strings attached, whereas a grant may have deliverables, milestones, or other detailed requirements. The UCSF Office of Sponsored Research and Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations make the final determination of whether a contribution is considered a gift or a grant. Contact your research services coordinator or a CFR development officer for assistance.

What is the difference between a gift or grant and a contract?

Gifts and grants are philanthropic, but contracts are business deals. This is a legal distinction. Funding cannot legally be considered philanthropy if an exchange of goods or services is involved. See “For Corporations".

What is the I&O fund? How do the costs the fund covers differ from indirect costs?

To help ensure a sustainable financial model for the future, a portion of all non-scholarship gift and endowment income is directed to the infrastructure and operations fund (I&O). This fund helps support the University’s costs of providing the operating facilities and administrative services associated with gift-funded activities. It is important to mention this to a donor when discussing a gift.

Indirect, or facilities and administration (F&A) costs are variable and are levied on grants and contracts. Contact your research services coordinator for more information.

Can CFR help with my application for a federal grant (NIH, for example)?

No, CFR's scope includes only private funders.