Proposal Development

Support Team
Grant Planning
Seven Steps to a Successful Grant Proposal
Writing Grants
Grantwriter's Responsibilities
Institutional Information
Institutional Review Board (IRB)

Foothill College Grants Resources and Support Team
District Support
Foundation Support

Top of page

Grant Planning

  • Who will benefit from this grant funding?
  • Who at the college has expertise in this area?
  • Who will be able to coordinate putting this grant proposal together?
  • Who will write the grant?
  • Who can gather partners/letters/commitment?
  • Who will the grant benefit?
  • Who is supporting or advocating for this grant?
  • Who will make the final decision?
  • Who needs to provide letters of support?
  • What will the grant fund that is of value to our college and our students?
  • What are the timelines to apply for the grant?
  • What are the timelines for implementing the grant?
  • What other projects/priorities do we have at this time that might affect our capabilities to do this grant? (EX: Accreditation)
  • What matching funds or in-kind contributions are available?
  • Is the grant award amount worth the amount of work required?
  • Where will the grant be housed?
  • Where will we get matching funds?
  • Where will the grant program take place?
  • When is the grant due?
  • When would the college get the funds?
  • When could we realistically get this grant written?
  • How does this grant fit with the college mission and goals?
  • How would the college implement the grant?
  • How will the college develop the cohort of students?
  • How would the college include partners?
  • How will the college measure outcomes?
  • How will this effect faculty, staff and administrator workloads?
  • How did the college get involved with this grant?
  • Why would the college consider this grant?
  • Why are you interested in pursuing this grant?
  • Why is this practical and realistic for the college at this time?

Top of page

Seven Steps to a Successful Grant Proposal

Planning for and writing a grant proposal can be an overwhelming task. Follow these seven steps for the development of a grant proposal from inception to submittal.

Step One: Develop Proposal Concept

Conduct a literature review of your project idea. As you plan your potential project, think about how it corresponds with institutional priorities and how it directly benefits students.

Step Two: Identify Funding Sources

There are three basic areas for funding: federal agencies, state and local agencies, and private foundations. Find a funding source with priorities that best match your project. Be sure to review the funder's eligibility requirements before preparing the grant application.

Step Three: Submit Grant Proposal Planning Form

The Foothill College grant proposal form serves as an important tool. It lays out the essentials of your project, lets the college know what you need, and makes it easier for us to help you develop your grant while troubleshooting potential pitfalls. Be sure to fill out the form completely as it will facilitate the development of your project and associated budget.

Step Four: Write Draft Proposal & Preliminary Budget

Consider the following -

  • Refer to the resource web pages for narrative structures, budget samples, and more.
  • Ask for assistance from Foothill's Grants Resources and Support Team (at least six weeks in advance of the grant proposal deadline).
  • Contact community, business and institutional partners early to tell them about the project and send a one-page conceptual summary of the project. Get any necessary letters of support.
  • Follow the evaluation criteria.
  • Be sure to review any budget restrictions carefully.
Step Five: Vice President/President Reviews / Edits Proposal

The VP and/or president will review your application and provide editing and feedback once you have completed a draft proposal.

Step Six: FHDA Senior Grant Monitor Reviews Budget

Once you have developed an initial budget, send it to the FHDA Senior Grants Monitor, Bret Watson for final review and approval.

Step Seven - Submittal

The College will submit your proposal on behalf of the College or District once they receive the final draft. Submit it to you manager.

Top of page

Foothill Grants Process
The Foothill Grant Process Download The FOOTHILL GRANTS PROCESS in PDF format.

Top of page

Writing Grants

Writing a grant proposal is a challenging and complex task. The following resources can assist you in determining the best strategy for writing a grant proposal.

Developing and Writing Grant Proposals
A must-read for those applying for federal grants. By the staff of the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance.

Sinclair Community College Proposal Development Tool Kit Applicant Resources
Includes Developing a Grant Proposal from the CFDA (above) plus terminology proposal writing links, links to application packages, grantmaking agencies, types of grants, and more.

How to Develop and Write a Grant Proposal
This report is intended for members and staff assisting grant seekers in districts and states, and it includes writing proposals for both government and private foundations grants.

The Grant Proposal
Excellent advice from the ASME: American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Grant Proposal Writing Tips
Some good, clearly stated tips from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which reviews hundreds of proposals a year.
Well organized site on proposal writing. Includes an overview, inquiry and cover letters, standard components of a proposal, a sample proposal, advice from funders, and more. An excellent section on researching funding opportunities is included also.

How to Write a Mission Statement
A clear outline by Janet M. Radtke on writing a mission statement for an organization. A site of the Los-Angeles based Grantsmanship Center.

National Network of Grantmakers: NNG Common Grant Application
This common grant application form is accepted by a number of foundations. It can also be useful in organizing the information needed in a project proposal. Nonprofit Guides: Grant

Writing Tools for Nonprofit Organizations
An excellent grantwriting outline by the SeaCoast Web Design staff. Includes sample grant proposal, inquiry letter, proposed budget, applications and links to grantwriting resources.

The Foundation Center's Proposal Writing Short Course
Free, online course.

The Foundation Center's Proposal Budgeting Basics
Free, online course.

Foundation Center Webinars on Proposal Writing Basics
Free; must register in advance.

The Foundation Center's Guide to Proposal Writing, 5th ed. - An Audio Book!
Free audio book from the Foundation Center. Listen online now or download for later listening.

Guide for Writing a Funding Proposal
Written by S. Joseph Levine of Michigan State University. Offers excellent advice on all parts of the proposal. Includes a sample proposal and links to other proposal writing sites.

Proposal Writer's Guide
An excellent outline by Donald Thackrey for academic faculty and staff. Especially useful. A site maintained by the University of Michigan's Division of Research and Development Administration.

Proposal Preparation and Submission
A site maintained by the University of Michigan's Division of Research and Development Administration.

Proposal Writing: Selected Web Sites
Outstanding. Provides essential links for university scholars and researchers needing more than here on research funding in particular.

Central Piedmont Community College
Grant writing tips for both the experienced and novice grant seekers.

Resource Connect
More resources on grantseeking and all aspects of nonprofit management.

Top of page


Proposal Writing Short Course

Grant Writing Tutorial

Six Guidelines for Successful Proposals

Proposal Writing Short Course I Free online resource from the always reliable Foundation Center. Discusses the standard components of proposals.

Proposal Writing Short Course II

The Downing Foundation Guide for Grantseekers: Streamlined explanation of grantwriting's basic principles, from establishing objectives to documenting your case.

Writing a Successful Proposal:
These tips from the Minnesota Council on Foundations includes answers to common questions, such as "What happens to my proposal after it reaches the grantmaker?" and "What should I do if my proposal is rejected?"

Paladin Group on Writing Proposals:
Outlines the standard components of a full proposal, including the budget and attachments.

Foundation Tutorial

Top of page


Budgets are a critical element of any grant proposal. Grant writers must make certain that their budget matches the proposal project obligations and that all the details are accurate. But do include details about any in-kind contributions and matching-funds. Do not use a "miscellaneous" budget category.

When budgeting for personnel costs, be sure to:

  • Anticipate cost increases associated with salary step and cost-of-living increases
  • Consider COBRA coverage for any staff who were hired specifically for the project and will be terminated upon end of the grant project.
University of Texas at San Antonio has an outstanding overview of what you will need to prepare for the budget portion of a grant proposal.

Sample Budget Narrative
Excellent example of a detailed budget narrative.

Sample Simple Budget Narrative
Very good example of a simple budget for a grant proposal.

FHDA Salary Schedules$15

Tips for Grantwriting - Budget

Grant writing tips - Lesson 7: The budget

Top of page



Grant proposals can be prepared by either a Foothill College employee or an external professional grantwriter. The advantage of using an employee to write the grant proposal is the grantwriter's intimate familiarity with the culture, resources, history, and strengths. The disadvantage is competing demands on the grantwriter's time and attention; however this can be mitigated by forming a grantwriting team of several employees. The advantage of using an external grantwriter is the efficiency and effectiveness afforded by expertise. The biggest disadvantage is probably the expense.

Both internal and external grantwriters are responsible for:

  • meeting deadlines
  • following proposal submission guidelines
  • establishing a realistic and accurate budget
Grant Project Manager/Director

The responsibility for grants administration and reporting lies with the project manager or director.

The project manager has primary responsibility, both programmatic and fiscal, for adhering with all specified requirements of the grant. For this reason it is essential that the project manager be fully apprised of all the specific requirements for reporting, maintaining records and completing the grant. In addition, the project manager is responsible for understanding and following all college and district policies and procedures.

Upon award of the grant, the project manager must notify his/her manager and Bret Watson, FHDA Senior Grants Manager to develop a plan for administering the grant.

Top of page

Institutional Information

The following are resources that may be of assistance to you in the proposal development process. Please get approval from your dean or manager early in the process for guidance and to ensure that the President's Cabinet and FHDA Foundation have reviewed and provided institutional "go-ahead" for your proposal.

College Information

Identification Numbers
FHDA Tax ID: 94-597718
FHDA Foundation Tax ID: 94-3258220
FHDA DUNS: 076322296
Foothill: 00119900
Salaries and Wages
All FHDA Salary Schedules$15

Benefits 2011-12
Classified Staff 40.9%
Part-time Faculty - 14.3%
Fulltime Faculty - 26.4%
Administrators (Certificated): 22.9%
Administrators (Non-certificated): 31.4%
Indirect Cost Rates /District Overhead - 18.5%
FHDA Overview
Foothill History
Foothill Fast Facts
Enrollment Data
Mission, Vision & Values
Board of Trustees
FHDA Foundation

Top of page

Institutional Review Board (IRB)


The Foothill-De Anza Community College District (FHDA) encourages and supports faculty and administrators as they seek funding for grant and research projects. Often the grant and research proposals involves the use of human subjects for data collection and analysis. It is the policy of FHDA to comply with all applicable Federal Regulations regarding the use of human subjects in grant and research projects; respect the rights, well-being and personnel privacy of individuals; assure a favorable climate for the conduct of academic-oriented inquiry; and protect the interests of the students and staff of FHDA.

FHDA's Institutional Review Board (IRB) reviews human subjects grant and research proposals to ensure that the rights and welfare of human subjects used in research studies by District personnel are protected; that risks have been considered and minimized; that the potential for benefit has been identified and maximized; that any research is conducted in an ethical manner and in compliance with established standards.

Please review the IRB - Policy and Procedures regarding the Institutional Review Board for further information.

Activities Exempt from Committee Review

Some grant and research projects involving human subjects are exempt from IRB approval requirements. The types of research generally exempt from IRB approval requirements include normal educational practices such as work undertaken as a part of a course; educational tests when the subjects are not identified; surveys or interviews in which the subjects volunteer; and research that entails no or minimal risk including damage to the subject's financial standing, employability or risk of civil or criminal liability.
Please review the IRB - Exempt Form for further information.

Expedited Review of Research Form
Human subject grant and research activities involving minimal risk to the subjects, even vulnerable subjects, may be eligible for expedited review by FHDA's Institutional Review Board Chair. The principal investigator/project director is authorized to make the first determination of eligibility for expedited review; however, the IRB bears the responsibility for concurring in that determination based on information provided by the principal investigator.
Please review the IRB - Expedited Review Form for further information.

Top of page June 29, 2017