Breea Govenar

Dr. Govenar, with the help of M.S. student Janis Hall, is researching the impacts of environmental changes on marine invertebrates that live in coastal salt marshes and at deep-sea hydrothermal vents.


Public Agency Vs. Private or Corporate Foundation: What's the Difference?

Public (Typically Federal and State) Agencies:

  • Engage in an open, transparent process with all information (dates, award amounts, eligibility, reporting requirements, etc.) made public;
  • Issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) or other announcement for specific areas of research or types of programs that address identified priorities of the agency;
  • Provide application and administration information through program officers, who may limit the information given personally due to the public nature of the process;
  • May have one deadline, or a multi-year program with recurring application dates;
  • Allow indirect costs at specific negotiated or capped rates to offset operating and administrative costs of the grant. Cost sharing may be required;
  • Pay awards through a cost-reimbursement process (managed at RIC by the Grant Accounting office); and
  • Require a more formal, research-driven proposal writing style.

Private Foundations:

  • Range in size and scope from small local foundations (<$50,000 grants) to large international foundations making multi-million dollar awards;
  • Provide differing levels of information, depending on their size and resources. The only required public information is IRS tax filing known as Form 990 (available on;
  • RFPs typically issued by large foundations only. Stated funding priorities determine awards, with eligibility determined by geography, subject area, program type, and other factors;
  • Are more dependent on personal, often long-term, relationships and information to establish credibility of the grantee and proposed project;
  • Have different deadlines, ranging from rolling to quarterly to annual;
  • Typically pay the grant award at the start of the project. May have minimal accounting requirements. Multi-year grants may require reports before releasing continuation funds;
  • Reporting requirements may be minimal. Reports or follow-up letters should be sent annually at minimum, even when not required, to develop and maintain the long-term relationship that can enhance credibility and improve chances of long-term funding.
  • Typically do not allow, or allow only minimal, indirect costs in the budget request. Are more likely to require cost sharing, particularly for operating costs such as space, technology, etc.
  • Require a more informal and personal writing style.

Page last updated: Tuesday, March 15, 2016