FAQ List


While UMass Amherst resembles a 501(c), the University is tax-exempt under section 115 of the Internal Revenue Code and/or under the doctrine of intergovernmental tax immunity. Section 115 provides tax-exemption for “income derived from the exercise of any essential governmental function.” In Revenue Ruling 75-436, the Internal Revenue Service recognized that citizen education was an essential governmental function.

A 501(c) organization, also known colloquially as either a 501(c) or a "nonprofit", is an American tax-exempt nonprofit organization. Section 501(c) of the United States Internal Revenue Code provides that 29 types of nonprofit organizations are exempt from some federal income taxes. 501(c)(3) exemptions apply to corporations, and any community chest, fund, cooperating association or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, to foster national or international amateur sports competition, to promote the arts, or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals. Many foundations and corporate matching programs ONLY grant funds to an organization with such status.

The entire process of getting funding from foundations generally takes 9-12 months. This includes finding the foundations whose mission matches your research or program area, developing the proposal and budget, obtaining required departmental approvals, following the submission process as outlined by the Office of Grants & Contracts Administration (and the University of Massachusetts Foundation Inc. if 501(c)(3) status is required); grant submittal; 2+ months of consideration by foundation committees; notification of foundation decision, and lastly award payment.

Budget assistance is provided by Business Managers at each of the schools and colleges. Each school/college has their own workflow process. Please contact administration staff in your Dean's office to learn who assists with proposals. The Research Business Manager Liaisons, housed within Research & Engagement provide additional support. Visit their webpage to see who is assigned to your area. 

CFR will review and edit your proposal of $25,000 and above, if sent to us two to three weeks before the deadline.

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