Having a good idea is only one part of the equation in academic research. Having the funds to carry out the work is another very important element of the equation. Private foundations are funding sources. Below are resources to help you search for funding and a list of foundations that have provided financial support to Cornell researchers.

Featured Opportunities_2

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Single Cell Biology Data Insights Grant

Submission due December 3, 2021

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative invites applications for projects that aim to use and gain insights into health and disease from existing single-cell datasets to help accelerate progress toward challenges associated with the compilation and exploration of large atlas-scale data.

American Council of Learned Societies sustaining Public Engagement Grants Program

Applications due Dec. 7, 2021 

These grants are designed to repair the damage done to publicly engaged humanities projects and programs by the social and economic disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic.  ACLS seeks proposals for grants that will support established publicly engaged humanities projects, initiatives, or programs in accredited US colleges and universities.


Foundation Search Tools

Image: Foundation Directory Online logo


Foundation Directory: A comprehensive compilation of U.S. private and public foundation funding opportunities. The Directory provides profiles, funding opportunities, and links to foundation websites.

  • A subscription service is available for funding opportunity updates.
  • Cornell has an institutional subscription. Click here to get started. 

Image" GrantForward logo

Grant Forward: Helps find grant opportunities that suit your research needs with a database of grants from over 14,000 sponsors which is updated daily. Search for grants by keywords and advanced filters, save your favorite searches for new grant alerts, 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 quick overview video).

  • Cornell subscribes to GrantForward. You can create an institutional account at no fee. If you're on Cornell's network, the system identifies you automatically. If searching from home, use your Cornell email address. 
  • Life and physical sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities.

See QuickTips and CaseStudies, and a Researcher Welcome Guide.


Contact your Grant and Contract Officer to let them know you intend to apply for foundation funds and ask them if the terms and conditions conform to Cornell's policies.

Top Foundation Funder Agencies 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.