A Global Center for Christian Thought and Spiritual Renewal
Foundations Office

 What is a grant and where do they come from?

The Oxford English dictionary defines a grant as a gift or assignment of money, etc. by the act of an administrative body or of a person in control of a fund or the like. In our context, it is money given for a specific program, project, or event that does not have to be repaid, but must be used as detailed by the donating organization. There are funds that cover personal stipends, pay for an adjunct to teach a course, facilitate travel for research, allow for purchasing books, software, or other materials, and/or pay for a research assistant or data entry personnel. What will or will not be funded varies from foundation to foundation.

In higher education, there are five types of organizations that frequently award grants:

  1. Traditional foundations. Typically these foundations were set up by individuals who are now deceased, but left clear guidelines for what their money should support. The governing boards are large (often more than eight members), their capital is significant, and their award processes tend to be complex. Some familiar examples include: The Ford Foundation, The Annenberg Foundation, The Lilly Foundation, and The Rockefeller Foundation.

  2. Small family foundations. These foundations tend to support individuals and institutions that the founders know personally. Some accept applications, but they will rarely fund a proposal from someone they have not met.

  3. Corporations. Many national and international corporations have a grants office, frequently housed under their ‘community relations’ department. Commonly, these organizations will support projects that benefit the local area, or offer matching programs, if an employee contributes to a project. It is rare for a corporate foundation to support a research project (with the exception of health-related work), unless it is in response to the corporate foundation’s request for proposal.

  4. The government.  Federal organizations, like the National Institute for Health, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, etc. support a number of scholarly projects in the US. Biola does not accept grants from the government to guarantee our right to only hire individuals who can sign our doctrinal statement. However, faculty members can participate in government funded projects, provided the funding does not come to Biola. As an individual researcher, faculty may collaborate on a government funded project with other researcher from other schools. If there are questions about this policy, please contact us.

  5. The university. Most universities offer some support for continued faculty research. Biola maintains a faculty development fund to facilitate focused research time. Proposals are submitted and evaluated once a year, in the spring. Awards are generally in the $2,000-$3,500 range, and details can be obtained by contacting the Vice Provost for Faculty Development.


Continue to Applying for a Grant