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Development Guide:
Corporate and Foundation Relations

Giving News

The Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations (CFR) facilitates and strengthens corporate and foundation partnerships with The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin).  Working hand-in-hand with UT Austin’s colleges and schools, CFR represents the university to corporate and foundation constituents, builds mutually beneficial relationships, and promotes UT Austin’s funding priorities to external partners.  These activities help the university strengthen its academic programs for students, its service to the public, and its position as one of the leading research universities in the world.

Corporate and Foundation Relations roles and responsibilities:

  • Identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward strategic relationships with corporations and foundations, and coordinate approaches campus wide.
  • Write, edit, and submit proposals and correspondence.
  • Assist with post-award processes such as check handling, acknowledgement letters, and reporting.
  • Coordinate corporate and foundation visits and events.
  • Maintain the integrity of data on corporations and foundations and UT Austin’s relationships with these entities, and create systems to share information across the campus.
  • Serve as a liaison with Offices of the President, Provost, Sponsored Projects, and the Colleges, Schools and Units, and with the UT System and UT Foundation.

Prospect Management
Foundations and corporations are handled somewhat differently when it comes to the assignment of prospect managers.

Foundation prospect assignments are determined based on a variety of factors, including such things as past giving history, donor’s expressed area(s) of interest, and “best fits” with the university’s priorities and initiatives.  Many of the larger foundations have broad funding interests and are prospects for numerous CSUs; therefore, these are generally managed by CFR staff.  Some foundations restrict the number of proposals they will consider from the university at any given time, or require presidential approval/endorsement; these also usually involve central management.  Foundations that have very specific funding priorities or strong historical relationships with particular units may be assigned to CSU development personnel for prospect management.

Corporations often have targeted interests for engagement with the university that revolve around student recruitment or faculty research in areas related to their products(s) or service(s).  They often have (or seek) strong relationships with particular colleges or programs; therefore, prospect management of corporations is assigned to the CSU with the strongest active or historical relationship.

The CFR office has a supporting and coordinating role with many major corporate partners, signified by the “University Liaison” designation in VIP.  The University Liaison works hand-in-hand with the corporation’s primary and secondary managers to support unit-level activity and funding goals, applying central resources to strengthen and broaden the overall relationship.  Through the University Liaison, CFR serves as a central point of contact for companies, manages corporate communications with senior UT Austin leadership, helps organize and implement corporate visits and events, coordinates and submits multi-unit proposals to corporations, and maintains profiles and other information on major corporate partners.

Prospect Clearance
Consistent with the policies and procedures of the Prospect Management System, before approaching any corporation or foundation, it is critical to check the funder’s management status in VIP and request clearance from the assigned Primary Manager or University Liaison.  CFR is responsible for working with CSU development personnel and others to ensure the maximum level of coordination in cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding corporations and foundations.


This is especially important for those key partners that limit the number of proposals that may be submitted by the university or that require presidential approval/endorsement.

Primary Managers are responsible for creating a strategic development plan for each of the corporations and/or foundations they manage in order to engage them in initiatives that meet the goals and objectives of both the partner and the university.  Any development officer interested in being assigned as Primary Manager to a particular foundation or corporation that has no manager should request assignment by contacting Carrie Hernandez Assistant Director of Prospect Management, at

Prospect Research

While grant seekers from the university community are encouraged to work with the development officers of their administrative units to obtain corporate and foundation support, CFR staff can assist development personnel with research for specific programs and provide guidance on specific foundations and corporations.  Priority is given to presidential and deans’ initiatives.  CFR resources include the Foundation Directory Online, which also offers basic information on companies, Guidestar (, and SciVal (

For in-depth research on companies, contact Research Services in the University Development Office.  Another great resource for prospect research is the Regional Foundation Library ( within UT Austin’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.

Internally Competitive Pre-Proposal Processes

Occasionally, corporations and/or foundations may limit the number of proposals they will accept from UT Austin.  Proposals submitted to these partners will be cleared according to institutional priorities, as determined by the Office of the President and the executive director for development, sometimes in consultation with the executive vice president and provost and the vice president for research.

CFR may solicit pre-proposals from CSUs to be considered for submission to these funders.  CFR will convene an impartial, internal panel to select the pre-proposal with the best chance of receiving funding.  Note:  A similar internal process – called “Limited Submissions” – is coordinated by the Office of Sponsored Projects when the funding opportunity is governmental or research-intensive.

Planning and Hosting Corporate and Foundation Campus Visits
Visits to campus by corporate and foundation  partners are often coordinated by the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations, with CFR working hand-in-hand with CSUs to plan logistics and ensure an optimal experience for the visiting representative(s).  In some cases, CFR will enlist the support of the Office of University Events.

Please contact CFR as early in the planning process as possible, especially if the visit will include executive-level staff members from the partner organization(s).


Instructions on Requesting Gifts
The university defines a gift to be any philanthropic donation to the university that supports an unrestricted purpose or such activities as endowments, capital projects, or general support for students, research, or programs.  Gifts contain only minimal requirements, generally relating to required donor pledge payments and the university’s commitment to effectuate the donor’s intent.  Gifts require stewardship reporting to the donor in the form of a general statement of how funds were used.  Proposals requesting gifts do not require approval from the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) and are not routed through OSP, but instead are submitted directly to the foundation or corporation by CFR or the CSU.

Supporting Documents for Proposals
Funders often require specific supporting materials along with a proposal.  Examples include documentation of tax-exempt status of the university, annual reports, financial reports, Board of Regents roster (, and others.  CFR maintains many of these documents on file and updates them regularly.  Please contact the Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations to obtain copies of supporting materials.

Signing Grant Agreements
All grant and gift agreements must be signed by the appropriate delegate.  Under Series 60101, Section 2 of the Regents’ Rules and Regulations, the university appoints the chief development officer (Executive Director of Operations for development) as the Designated Receipt Executive to accept all gifts (other than gifts of real property or outdoor works of art) to the university made in cash or in kind in the amount of $1 million or less.  Gifts that have a value of more than $1 million (in cash or in-kind) must be submitted to the Board of Regents for approval.  Under Series 10501, Section 2 of the Regents’ Rules, the university appoints the director, associate director, or assistant director of the Office of Sponsored Projects to execute and deliver state and federal contracts or proposals for sponsored research agreements received by The University of Texas at Austin.

Deans and directors are not authorized to sign grant agreements.

Stewardship:  Acknowledgements and Reporting

All gifts from foundations and corporations require that a thank-you letter be sent from the appropriate CSU, signed by the dean or director of the program benefiting from the gift.  Additionally, the president of the university sends acknowledgments to corporations and foundations for gifts of $100,000 or more.

Thank-you letters signed by the president are generated by the Development Specialist within CFR to enhance tracking of overall foundation activity.  CFR acknowledges not only  foundation awards that are accepted by the University Development Office, but also those that are received via the Office of Sponsored Projects.

CFR does not create or monitor reports due from the university to foundations and corporations; it is the responsibility of the CSU and/or the program benefiting from the gift to manage the reporting.  However, CFR may work with the units to flag reporting deadlines, assist in gathering information, review drafts, and ensure that reports are generated in a timely manner.  In situations where a gift benefits more than one unit, CFR may play a coordinating role in preparing and submitting reports.


A report on the use of a gift should be sent to a foundation or corporate donor at the end of the funding period, regardless of whether the donor requires such a report.


Managing Corporate and Foundation Records

A number of important distinctions apply to keeping accurate and clear records of corporate and foundation partners and prospects.

Foundation Categories

The Foundation Center defines four distinct types of foundations:

  • Independent foundations: Support social, educational, religious, or other activities serving the public good.  These include family foundations.


  • Company-sponsored foundations:  Legally independent grantmaking organizations with close ties to the corporation providing funds.


  • Operating foundations:  Support their own programs and services and typically do not provide grants to outside organizations.


  • Community foundations:  Publicly funded organizations whose grants usually support charitable activities in the communities in which they are located.

CFR makes additional distinctions among these grantmaking entities for internal gift-counting purposes and attaches the following donor type codes:

  • Professional Family Foundation (44):  A foundation that is run by professional staff and manages grantmaking through a formal process but involves family members in funding decisions.


  • Family Foundation (45):  The founders of the foundation are alive and active in the foundation’s operations and grantmaking process.


  • Community Foundation/Donor-Advised Fund (47):  Grants are directed to a charitable organization by a professional fund manager.


  • Corporate Foundation (48):  See company-sponsored foundation above.


  • Independent Foundation (49):  A foundation in which the founders are deceased and family members have little or no involvement; it is managed entirely by professional staff and has a formal grantmaking process.


Corporate Headquarters

Corporations often have numerous offices or subsidiaries that are included as separate records in VIP.  These entries are linked under one unit key, with a designated “home office.”  Corporate records are assigned prospect managers using the headquarters/home office location for that corporate Unit Key (denoted by an “H” in VIP Direct).  Except in very rare instances, subsidiary locations are no longer assigned prospect managers.  All prospect management activities – including contact reports, forecasting and proposal tracking – should be recorded on the headquarters record.  If you are creating a new corporate record on the VIP system and wish to add the record to your prospect portfolio, it must first be designated as a “headquarters/home office” record.

Processing Gifts that Benefit Multiple CSUs
CFR is sometimes involved with soliciting and accepting gifts that benefit multiple CSUs.  These may be cash or non-cash gifts, or a combination thereof.  The circumstances associated with such gifts often vary, making it difficult to develop processes and procedures that anticipate and accommodate all variations.  When CFR is directly involved with soliciting and/or accepting a gift that benefits more than one CSU, CFR staff will inform Gift and Data Services staff and the appropriate CSU personnel about the details of the gift.  Depending upon the size of the gift, he/she will also initiate the appropriate acknowledgement letter from the president, senior associate vice president for development, or executive director.  If it is a non-cash gift (e.g., equipment, software), appropriate acceptance procedures should be initiated at the CSU level.

Guidelines for Gift Publicity
The Board of Regents of The University of Texas System has established specific policies and procedures that govern the approval process for public announcements of certain types and sizes of gifts, especially endowments.  Public announcements regarding gifts received from corporations and foundations are subject to these policies.  In addition, because of the public nature of these gifts, special care should be taken when making public announcements about gifts received from these entities.  Many foundations and corporations, in transmitting a gift to the university, will include specific policies or restrictions relating to publicity.  Some have media/public relations staff who should be consulted before making such public announcements.  When a gift benefits more than one CSU, it is imperative that public announcements be coordinated to the fullest extent possible.  CFR, along with Communications and Media Relations, will work cooperatively with the appropriate CSU personnel in making such announcements.

Guidelines for Web Sponsorships

Acknowledgement on UT Austin web pages can be an attractive opportunity for some corporate and foundation partners.  Therefore, web sponsorship may be strategically offered as part of a solicitation, especially to corporate partners.  Generally, simple acknowledgement of a gift can be made on a UT Austin webpage, following UT System guidelines (, with ease.  However, when the acknowledgement includes a partner logo and/or URL (link) to the sponsor’s own website, or there is an explicit web sponsorship arrangement, there are important policies to consider and procedures to follow.

In short, a sponsorship or gift acknowledgement on a UT Austin webpage could represent a valuable marketing opportunity for a corporate partner.  However, the format, placement, and size of the logo, the prominence of the webpage, and the value of the sponsorship/gift must be adequately measured and balanced to avoid violating policies that prohibit the university from engaging in advertising.

Please contact CFR staff when considering web acknowledgements or web sponsorships with potential partners.  CFR staff can provide guidance on the process and limitations approved by the Office of Legal Affairs.

Tax Exempt Status
Note that the university is considered an agency of the State of Texas and as such is exempt from taxation under section 170(c)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code.  Some corporations and foundations are unwilling to make a charitable gift to institutions that do not come under the provisions of section 501(c)(3) of the IRS.  In those cases, gifts designated for the university can be directed through the University of Texas Foundation (see below).

Processing Gifts through the UT Foundation
The University of Texas Foundation, Inc. (UT Foundation) was established by the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System in 1967 to accept and manage gifts in support of the System or one of its components.  The UT Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, functions independently of the System under its own board of directors and pursues its own investment policies.  The Foundation can accept contributions from foundations and other entities that must give to 501(c)(3) organizations and can transmit such contributions in full to UT Austin.

If a donor requires 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, CFR can assist CSUs in submitting proposals through the UT Foundation, which has offices in downtown Austin.  CSUs should provide a copy of the proposal to CFR and allow at least two to three days for processing.  CFR can provide tax-exempt documentation for the UT Foundation, as well as any additional supporting materials such as a transmittal letter, audited financial statements or 990 forms.  In all situations where gifts will be directed to the UT Foundation, CFR staff must be notified for coordination purposes, and a copy of the proposal must be provided to the UT Foundation.

When funding is awarded through the UT Foundation, a subaward agreement between the university and the UT Foundation is often implemented to clarify how the funds will be handled and what party will accomplish the goals of the gift.  When the proposal is routed through the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP), a subaward is always required.  Generally speaking, the university is responsible for applying the funds in accordance with the original proposal and for submitting all required reports back to the foundation.

For more information about the UT Foundation, visit  For information on how to submit proposals through the UT Foundation, please contact CFR.


Audited Financial Reports
Often, potential funders request an audited financial report for the university.  Note that UT Austin financial statements are not audited at the university level, nor at The University of Texas System level, but only at the point where these statements become part of the larger State of Texas financial report.  Typically, partners will accept an un-audited summary of the university’s financial report with an explanation to this effect.  These unaudited reports are produced at the end of each fiscal year and can be found on the website of the UT Austin Office of Accounting (  When a funder requests audited financial statements, CFR can provide a disclaimer with a web link to the State of Texas audit.


Presidential Transmittal Letters
In some cases, a transmittal letter from the president of the university is required or appropriate to accompany a proposal to a corporation or foundation.  CFR staff can assist in preparing such a letter and in obtaining the president’s signature.

Gift, Sponsored Project, or Something In Between?

The Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations (CFR) in the University Development Office and the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) in the Office of the Vice President for Research strive to maximize the university’s ability to effectively attract, process, manage, and steward external financial support.

Proper classification and processing of external funds (i.e., gifts, grants, and contracts) assures the university’s ability to comply with any terms specified by the sponsor/donor, meet reporting requirements, properly recover its costs—both direct and indirect—and facilitate acceptable levels of accountability and stewardship for these funds.  Classification and processing of these awards is sometimes complex and requires the exercise of informed judgment, particularly in the many cases where the nature of an award is not immediately clear.

The university defines a sponsored project to be any externally funded research or scholarly activity that has a defined scope of work or set of objectives that provide a basis for sponsor expectations.  Sponsored projects enhance and expand the educational opportunities available to undergraduate and graduate students at the university.  They permit research, support scholarly inquiry, develop new knowledge, contribute to the academic achievement and stature of the institution, and assist the university in fulfilling its responsibilities to the state and the nation.


The Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) serves as the coordinating office for externally funded research projects submitted by The University of Texas at Austin.  The goal of the OSP is to assist faculty and professional research staff in their efforts to secure external funding.  Proposals that need to be submitted through OSP usually contain a specific budget with defined outcomes or specific deliverables.  Award payments are often contingent upon programmatic or fiscal reporting.  Indirect costs are assessed as allowable by the particular funder.


Multiple factors should be considered in order to decide whether a proposal should be processed through OSP according to procedures set forth by that office.  These procedures can be found on the Office of Accounting website ( or by contacting OSP.  In addition, CFR staff can help navigate this process.

Instructions for Submitting Proposals through OSP

To submit a proposal through OSP, the Principal Investigator (PI) must submit a Proposal Review Form via OSP’s online Research Management System (  OSP will review the proposal and notify the PI of any questions or concerns (please allow three to four days for proposals to be reviewed).  Once approved, OSP can work with the PI to transmit the proposal to the prospective funder in the method required by the funder.

Please visit for additional information about the proposal process involving the Office of Sponsored Projects.

Non-Monetary Gifts

A non-monetary gift is also known as an ‘in-kind gift’ or a ‘non-cash gift.’  It is a gift of property that commonly includes art, books, silent auction items, equipment, products, services, and discounts.  A non-monetary gift is important because of the value it adds to a collection or the money it saves the university on purchasing equipment.  There are also many benefits for the donor including tax deduction and gift credit on their VIP record.  Gifts of services do not count as gifts according to the IRS; please contact Kerry McGuire at 512-495-9710 prior to accepting gifts of service.

To process non-monetary gifts, the CSU submits the appropriate form to Gift and Data Services with their dean’s signature and backup documentation for processing.  The non-monetary gift coordinator reviews the paperwork and sends it to the UT Austin Legal Affairs department for review with final approval from the University Development Office executive staff.  Once the gift is recorded in VIP, the donor receives a gift receipt, the CSU receives a copy of the final paperwork, and UT Austin inventory is notified of the gift for their records.

The acceptance process is important in assessing, recording and crediting gifts.  It is also critical that such gifts do not pose hazardous or financial risk to the university.  Please contact Gift and Data Services ( for more information.


Resources for Developing More Effective Proposals
CFR is available to assist CSU development personnel in the preparation of proposals on a case-by-case basis as time permits.

Some corporations and foundations ask that proposals be submitted in a specific format that is available on their website.  Others simply ask for a general proposal or brief letter of inquiry (LOI).  Basic guidance for preparing proposals and LOIs can be found the the Grantseekers Guide.

Fundraising Activities of Registered Student Organizations
Due to staff and budgetary resources, the CFR is not able to directly assist registered student organizations in their fundraising activities.  Student organizations are encouraged to work with the Office of Campus and Community Involvement in the Office of the Dean of Students and/or their respective CSU Office of Development.  CFR provides assistance and information resources to these offices upon request.


Jill Bond
Executive Director

Maria Nehring

Dawn Sanchez
Assistant Director

Weston Sythoff
Associate Director

Beth Beagles
Assistant Director

Sean Redmond
Development Specialist

Crystal Aguilar-Marshall
Development Associate


Updated July 27, 2017

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