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Fast Track to UH Foundation Training

Training slide deck available for download:


1. Overview and About UHF

2. Endowments and Account Establishment

3. Gift Processing

4. Expenditure Processing

5. Student Aid Administration

6. Finance Reports

What services does the Foundation provide for the University of Hawaiʻi?

As the central fundraising agency for the University of Hawaiʻi System, the Foundation conducts campaigns for university priorities and provides central services to raise funds, manage assets and investments, and administer gift accounts for the university. Additionally, the Office of Alumni Relations at the UH Foundation serves as the primary contact between the 10 campuses of the UH system and its more than 310,000 alumni.

The Foundation:

  • Provides resources and specialists in major gifts and foundation, corporate, and annual and estate and planned giving.
  • Solicits contributions to benefit all units and campuses of the UH System.
  • Conducts feasibility studies and planning for fundraising campaigns.
  • Coordinates relationships with prospective major donors.
  • Acknowledges and thanks all donors.
  • Produces fundraising proposals.
  • Sponsors donor recognition and stewardship events.
  • Maintains a central records service for all donors and alumni.
  • Offers professional services to UH departments, donors, and their advisors on planned gifts, wills, and trusts.
  • Provides training for development officers, volunteers, and administrators.
  • Responds to more than 200 requests per month for research and reports.
  • Manages investments with a total market value of more than $341.4 million
  • Provides accounting services for more than 6,000 accounts and responds to more than 1600 account service requests per month.
  • Administers more than 1,500 aid accounts for the benefit of UH students.
  • Provides IRS-auditable receipts to donors.
Does the Foundation make grants?

The Foundation is a fundraising rather than a fund granting institution. UH faculty or staff looking for project funding should consult the chair or dean and UHF development officer of their unit. The Foundation may be able to assist in securing project funding.

Why doesn't the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation provide more funding for my department?

The Foundation's fundraising staff works to raise money for the University of Hawaiʻi System. They work hard to find major donors interested in supporting the schools' projects, and they develop appropriate solicitations for modest, annual gifts from alumni and friends.

The priority in fundraising is given to projects identified by deans and chancellors. To find out where your funding needs fall on the priority list, visit with your dean or department chair.

The Foundation staff can consult with you to help you assess and meet both your long term and short-term funding needs.

How can I get help raising funds for my department or project?

First, discuss your needs with the appropriate department chair or dean. This person will work with you to clear the request through the university's normal administrative channels. The Foundation's development officer responsible for fundraising in your area also will be glad to advise you. The final decision about what projects to pursue is made by the Foundation, according to university priorities.

I've heard there are foundations that faculty may not approach. Which foundations are on this list and why?

There is not an official "list" of foundations that are off limits. There is, however, a process run by UHF whereby foundations and individuals are 'cleared' to specific colleges or units for a period of time so that fundraisers, or their designees, may work exclusively with the prospective donor. This process helps ensure UHF's approaches to foundation and individuals are coordinated and managed in a way that is responsive to both the donor's interests and the institution's priorities. This process is not meant to prohibit faculty activity but rather to provide a means for facilitating campus communication about fundraising activities.

If you're interested in approaching a foundation for support, please contact Foundation Relations or the fundraiser representing your college to determine the current status.

There are some instances where a foundation limits the number of proposals UHF may submit during a given time. In these cases, UHF will consult with academic leadership to determine which one(s) will go forward on behalf of the institution.

The grant application guidelines: annual budget, board members, mission statement, other general informational.

Should these materials pertain to my project, my department, my college, or the university?

Since the gift is being made to the UHF on behalf on the university, the required documentation typically pertains to UHF. In some cases we are required to send information about the university (and not UHF) and in others we submit both. Please contact the UHF's Office of Foundation and Corporate Relations for assistance in this matter.

How long should my foundation proposal be and am I allowed to include attachments and supplemental materials?

Often a maximum page length is specified in the application guidelines. If no page length is mentioned, follow the rule that shorter is better.

Private foundations will usually supply guidelines regarding required attachments and supplemental materials. As a general rule, only include items directly relevant to the project and do not relegate key pieces of information to the attachments.

Should I submit proposals to multiple foundations for the same project?

Avoid sending the same generic proposal to a number of foundations. Tailor your proposal carefully to the foundation's particular interests.

However, it's unlikely that a single foundation will be the sole funder of a project, so having a funding plan that considers more than one funder is beneficial to a fundraising strategy. A plan that includes multiple supporters will add credibility and stability to your project.

What happens to my grant funds once they are deposited in the Foundation?

When the funds are received, a designated account will be opened from which you may make expenditures as outlined in your proposed budget. Most project expenses may be paid directly from Foundation accounts. For payment of some expenses, such as salary, the funds may need to be transferred to an ORS account. Foundation staff will work with your department's financial officer to make the necessary arrangements.

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

Gift: An irrevocable charitable contribution to the Foundation for the benefit of the University of Hawaiʻi system, which is intended as a donation, bestowed voluntarily and without expectation of tangible compensation and for which no contractual requirements are imposed. Gifts usually take the form of cash, checks, securities, real property, or personal property and may be current or deferred.

Grant: Revenues received from individuals, industry, foundations, and other sources, for the support of University programs and projects. Grants normally fall into two categories:

  1. Non Specific Grants are those received in support of restricted programs or projects, but which do not result from a specific grant proposal, no specific resources or services are committed, and no accounting of the use of the funds is required.
  2. Specific Grants are those received in accordance with the terms of approved grant proposals for specific programs and projects. Commitments of University's resources or services are made as a condition of the grant, and an accounting of the use of the funds may be required by the grantor.

Contract: Restricted payments received by the University from various contractors, made in accordance with the terms of contracts entered into by the University to conduct specific programs. Payments made pursuant to contracts are not gifts.

What are common foundation and corporation funding interests?


  • Match their own stated goals and objectives. Most foundations state these on their websites.
  • Have a clear timeline.
  • Show evidence of institutional commitment.
  • Have a clear goal and measurable results.
  • Have never been done before.
  • Can have statewide, nationwide, or even worldwide impact.


  • Ongoing program needs
  • Endowments
  • Buildings
  • Repairs
  • Conferences

When searching for foundation support, please also be aware that a typical foundation cycle can take from 6-12 months from developing the proposal, submitting it, and having it reviewed, to receiving the award.


  • Have the potential to boost their profitability.
  • Provide a clear return on their investment.
  • Raise their profile in the community.

If you are interested in submitting a proposal, please contact your academic unit's development officer or CFR staff member if your proposal is for a gift or a grant. You may contact CFR office by phone or email.