Grants and Contracts

Grants and Contracts differ from other types of UCorp accounts in a couple of key ways:

  1. There is generally a proposal submitted to the prospective funder.  The funder reviews the proposal, makes a determination as to whether or not funds will be awarded, and, if so, how much.
  2. Grants and Contracts have beginning and ending dates, milestones, financial reporting requirements, and deliverables.  In addition to adhering to UCorp’s policies, the funder’s requirements must also me met.

If you are a Project Director and are interested in submitting a proposal, you should first contact the Office of Research & Sponsored Programs (ORSP).

Grants and Contracts with UCorp

Grants and contracts are administered post-award at UCorp when the funder requires that the recipient have a 501(c)(3) exemption.  All pre-award work (i.e., the PI checklist, the proposal, and the budget) is done by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP), sometimes with assistance from the Office of University Development.  If you are faculty and wish to submit a proposal, ORSP should be your first point of contact.  You can find more information about applying for a grant on their webpage at

Once the grant is awarded and there is a 501(c)(3) requirement, the grant will be administered by UCorp.  The Project Director will receive an email at the start of the project outlining the terms of the grant.  In addition to adhering to UCorp’s general policies and  procedures, the Project Director must also adhere to the funder’s approved budget. UCorp will monitor the budget vs. actual costs and timelines associated with the grant, and will provide all financial reporting required by the funder.  UCorp requires that the final narrative also be submitted to UCorp for filing.

Each grant is a little different.  If you have any questions or concerns about your particular award, please feel free to contact Ricardo Angeles at (415) 338-7141, or


Grants vs Gifts 

UCorp administers funds received from a broad range of sources, including private donors, private foundations, and corporations.  Gifts are administered by UCorp, unless a donor specifies that the gift must be administered directly by SF State.  The Office of Research & Sponsored Programs (ORSP) is responsible for approving grants submitted by SF State faculty.  UCorp administers grants when the funder requires an IRS 501(c)(3) designation.  


CASE standards define a gift as, “A contribution received by an institution for either unrestricted or restricted use in the furtherance of the institution for which it has made no commitment of resources or services other than, possibly, committing to use the gift as the donor specifies.  The contribution is a nonreciprocal transfer in that there is no implicit or explicit statement of exchange, purchase of services, or provision of exclusive information… Whether or not an institution has an obligation to report to the donor how a gift is used or invested, such reporting is an important element of good donor stewardship.”

  • SF State's University Development Office is tasked with acknowledging and processing gifts made in support of the university, while UCorp is tasked with the administration gifts in compliance with California State University, SF State, and donor guidelines.


California State University Executive Order 890 defines a grant as, “a financial contribution to a Recipient to carry out an approved project or activity.  A Grant generally anticipates no substantial programmatic involvement of the Sponsor with the Recipient during performance of the project or activity, but sponsors usually request an accounting of the use of funds and of results of the project or activity.  The University or Auxiliary may commit resources or services as a condition of the Grant.”  A contract, according to EO890, is “an agreement between the University or Auxiliary and a Sponsor to provide an economic benefit, generally in the form of services, for compensation.”

  • CSU EO890 also states that, a “proposal for sponsored programs shall not be submitted to the sponsor without prior written approval of the president’s designee and of the chief financial officer.”  At SF State, that would be the AVP of ORSP and the AVP of Fiscal Affairs.
  • While all grant submissions must be approved by ORSP, some grants & contracts are administered at UCorp.  In most cases, that’s because the funder requires that the Recipient have an IRS 501(c)(3) designation.  Grants administered at UCorp must also be approved by UCorp’s Executive Director or designee.

Grant or Gift?

Four major considerations help define the funding type:  1) scope of work, 2) budget, 3) effort by SF State or auxiliary personnel, and 4) reporting.  No single factor alone will determine the type of funding. 

Generally speaking, gifts come with few restrictions, do not benefit the donor, and require little-to-no support from the university.  Grants, on the other hand, have a higher degree of restrictions and require a commitment of resources from the university.


  • Funder A makes a gift to SF State to purchase math books for the library.
  • Funder B awards a grant to purchase books to be used to determine which method of teaching math is more effective.  After the course is taught using materials purchased as part of the grant, the results are reported to the funder.