Private foundations are an important source of support for academic research. Below are some resources to help you find funding opportunities from foundations.

Foundation Search Tools

Image: Foundation Directory Online logo


Foundation Directory: The Directory provides information about U.S. private and public foundations, including organization profiles, links to foundation websites, and funding opportunities. Users can subscribe to the "Philanthropy News Digest" to receive timely updates about new funding opportunities. Access to the Foundation Directory is provided by the Cornell University Library.


Image" GrantForward logo

Grant Forward: A searchable database of grants from over 14,000 sponsors, including foundations as well as state and federal agencies. Search for grants by keywords and advanced filters. Save your favorite searches to receive alerts about new grants, and save your favorite grants to keep track of them. GrantForward also recommends grants to you based on your CV, past publications, and research interests (see the brief overview video for more information).

  • Cornell subscribes to GrantForward. You can create an institutional account at no fee. If you are on Cornell's network, the system identifies you automatically. If searching from home, use your Cornell email address. 
  • The database includes funding opportunities for diverse disciplines, including those in the Life and Physical Sciences, Social Sciences, and Arts and Humanities.
  • See QuickTips and CaseStudies, and a Researcher Welcome Guide.

If you plan to apply to a foundation for funding, contact your Grant and Contract Officer and ask them if the foundation's terms and conditions conform to Cornell's policies.

Top Foundation Funders at Cornell

  • Research and make the right fit.
    • One of the most common reasons applications are rejected is not fitting with the funder's interests. 
    • Tailor your proposal to the funder's guidelines and interests.
  • Funders really want to know:
    • How will they benefit from investing in your research program? How will it help them achieve their goals?
    • Why should they care? (The "so what?" factor.)
    • Why are you the best one to do the work?
    • How will you sustain the work after the funds are gone?
  • Write an Executive Summary.
    • Even if it's not required by a funder, an Executive Summary is good to have on-hand to share with potential funders and program managers.
    • It should be clear and concise, and grab the reader's attention immediately. Often funders will read only the Executive Summary. If you don't grab them right away, they often won't read more of your proposal.