Grantseekers – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

University of Chicago Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics ▲

Click on the questions below for the answers.

Q1. To be considered, does a grantseeker need to submit an initial inquiry prior to the grantmaking application deadlines mentioned on your website?

There is no deadline for the submission of an inquiry. We accept inquiries at any time during the year. Submit your inquiry using our Grantseeker Information Form (GIF).

Q2. If I have not submitted an inquiry to the Foundation, is it okay for me to call and get information about your grantmaking process?

Our initial inquiry process is straightforward, so we hope that most of your questions will be answered by simply reviewing our website and our Grantseeker Information Form (GIF) – see question 1 above. We encourage you to fill out and submit the GIF as your introduction to the Foundation. If you still have questions after you have reviewed the website and GIF, please feel free to call us.

Q3. If I have submitted an inquiry, is it okay for me to call to find out about its status? If so, how long should I wait before calling?

Yes, you may call. However, you should have received a confirmation receipt of your Grantseeker Information Form (GIF) by email after submitting the form. As stated in the GIF, we receive many inquiries, which we review on a rolling basis, and we will do our best to reply within 60 days of your submission. If you find a need to call, we suggest that you wait at least 30 days after your GIF is submitted before calling us to inquire about its status.

Q4. Do you prefer Grantseeker Information Forms to be detailed or more concise?

Concise is better. Please include your website address. That is the first place we look for additional information to help us understand your work.

Q5. Is it a good idea to submit supplemental documentation with an initial Grantseeker Information Form (GIF)?

From time to time, we might request additional materials to help us better understand your work, but in general we find the Grantseeker Information Form (GIF) and information we can access through your website is all we need at this stage of the process. For that reason, we discourage you from sending supplementary materials.

Q6. I submitted a Grantseeker Information Form (GIF) but never heard from you. What should I do?

Please call or send an email. Every potential grantseeker receives a confirmation email receipt via Google Forms after submission. If you did not receive this email, we did not receive your Grantseeker Information Form (GIF).

Q7. The Grantseeker Information Form (GIF) stated that I would hear back within a certain period of time. That time has passed but I have not heard from you. What should I do?

If at least 60 days have gone by without a response, you are welcome to call or send an email; we apologize for the delay on our part.

Q8. If you have declined an inquiry, are you willing to consider a new inquiry? If so, how long should I wait before submitting a new inquiry?

Thanks to your efforts in completing a Grantseeker Information Form, we now have information about the work you do. For this reason, we ask that you refrain from resubmitting in future years unless your programming changes. Likewise, should our funding priorities change, we will be able to reach out to you if we discover a potential fit. If you believe your initial inquiry was a good match, you may request feedback to better understand if a new inquiry is worth your time.

Q9. If you are interested in a project we propose, how much lead time is there between our initial inquiry and the issuance of a grant application invitation?

This timeline varies from cycle to cycle and year to year and may differ among grantseekers in different program areas. We also take into consideration our ability to make new grants and the allocation of our limited resources. Please consult our Current Perspective on Grant Inquiries page for more information regarding our current grantmaking outlook. If there is not a good match, we will generally let you know within 60 days. If there is a potential match and we are in a position to make a new grant, lead time can be anywhere from a few months to a year. Grantseekers who are of interest will be contacted by the program officer assigned to review your file. Once assigned, our program officer will try to stay in touch with you so you have a realistic understanding of our process and anticipated timetable. If necessary, you are welcome to call your program officer to learn more about the status of your inquiry.

Q10. Is it helpful to have a member of our Board or staff write a letter or make a call to support our inquiry?

This is not necessary as we give every applicant the same level of review. In order to ensure fairness and consistency, our staff reviews every qualifying Grantseeker Information Form (GIF).

Q11. We are a new organization; does it still make sense to submit a Grantseeker Information Form (GIF)?

Your organization must have a valid Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) and a letter ruling from the IRS which confirms that you are an organization described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code before you can apply for a grant from our Foundation. Generally, we fund very few start-up organizations, but if you feel you closely match one of our areas of current interest, please fill out the Grantseeker Information Form (GIF). See question 1 above.

Q12. We are a 501(c)(3) organization, but are a “supporting organization” under Section 509(a)(3). Can we apply for funding?

This is not a simple question! You will need to be able to demonstrate to our satisfaction that your organization is a Type I or Type II supporting organization or is a “functionally integrated” Type III supporting organization before we will consider funding. This may require you to submit an opinion from your legal counsel to that effect. We urge you to consult with legal or tax counsel regarding this matter and whether you will be able to provide the appropriate documentation before you submit an inquiry.

Q13. Will you visit our organization?

In most cases with organizations in or near Chicago, we will try to visit grantseekers before issuing a grant application invitation. We believe a face to face visit allows us to understand your work at a deeper level than is possible through written materials or telephone calls. Please be aware a visit does not mean you will be invited to submit an application or receive a grant.

Q14. What kind of support do you provide?

In most cases our initial grants are project specific. If an organization’s mission aligns closely with our mission, we may consider funding general operations. In general we do not make multi-year commitments to new grantseekers. We do not fund individuals, underwrite events, or fund capital projects. Please see our Grant Limitations for further guidance.

Q15. The Geographic Considerations section on your website indicates that a limited number of education grants are made outside of the greater Chicago area. If our organization is located outside of the Chicago area, is it worth our time to submit an inquiry?

We make very few education grants outside of the Chicago area and, in most cases, we would initiate contact with prospective grantees outside this geographic area. Thus, it is highly unlikely that an unsolicited inquiry will result in a positive response from the Foundation. If, however, you believe your program is a close match with one of our current areas of interest and provides a unique grantmaking opportunity, you can contact our office to discuss your program before you submit a Grantseeker Information Form (GIF). A member of our staff will be able to advise you whether it makes sense to submit a written form.