Non-Profit Sponsors (Foundations, Institutes, and Associations)

Non-profit sponsors such as foundations, institutes, and associations provide valuable funding to support a wide array of research, educational programs, and other activities. Because each non-profit sponsor is unique, it can be helpful to seek expert assistance to sort out the requirements and correct application process well in advance of the deadline. Foundation Relations offers campus members specialized assistance in preparing foundation-sponsored proposals. Request their help using the form at You may also wish to contact the Pre-Award Administrator who specializes in non-profit sponsors, Ellen Bitzer, with questions. Additional support may be available in your department, college, or from the OPAS development team.

Applicant institution depends on sponsor's requirement for tax status. If the guidelines are missing or unclear, contact Ellen Bitzer (Office of Pre-Award Services) or Foundation Relations for clarification:

University of Massachusetts Amherst

tax-exempt under Section 115, Internal Revenue Code, as well as 501(c)(1)

UMass Foundation, Inc.

tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3), IRC


When sponsor strictly requires "501(c)(3)" designation, the UMass Foundation, Inc. must be the applicant institution. Allow at least 4 business days to coordinate with Corporate & Foundation Relations before the 5-day internal Office of Pre-Award Services (OPAS) deadline:

  1. Foundation Relations (FR) works with PI and obtains UMass Foundation, Inc. approval
  2. Proposal is routed to OPAS. Choose “University of Mass – Fdn Inc (UMASS)” as the sponsor. Indicate the external funder as the “prime sponsor”.
  3. OPAS reviews, approves & sends to FR as if a subcontract proposal
  4. FR submits to prime sponsor on behalf of UMass Foundation, Inc.

Budget development: unless the sponsor’s published policy states otherwise, use 20% of total direct costs (except tuition) to calculate indirect costs. See Fact Sheet

Proposal submission: sites vary by sponsor. Insert relevant User Name & Password as needed in the Submission description field, within the Delivery section page of the Kuali record.

  • Many of the large non-profits use proposalCENTRAL.  UMASS is already a registered institution.  Register as a proposalCENTRAL user, then “enable access” at administrator level for OPAS directors and the OPAS pre-award administrator.  This will enable OPAS to review, approve and ultimately submit the proposal.
  • Guidelines vary by sponsor.  You may need to print signature pages, obtain PI signature, and upload to Kuali for the OPAS Director to sign.
  • Upload notes to the Attachment section of Kuali with additional instructions such as: “mail signed signature pages”, “scan and upload signature pages”. 
  • Note whether the sponsor also requires hard copy to be mailed.  Is the hard copy receipt date the same as the electronic date?  Does OPAS need to access online, print out, sign, copy and mail BEFORE submitting electronically?

Letter of Intent: if LOI meets any of the criteria below, route to OPAS using Kuali.




  • line-item
  • more than "total costs"
  • to be signed by University official
  • may be called "assurances"
  • institutional representative: OPAS director


OPAS Contact: Pre-award Administrator Ellen Bitzer (