Foundation Connect (FC) is the web-based application and database system used to administer OSF’s grant-making process. Foundation Connect was created by NPower (a New York nonprofit) on the Salesforce customer relationship management (CRM) platform. It is used by over 40 grant-making foundations. It was acquired by the technology company roundCorner, Inc. in 2014.
FC went live in the fall of 2012 replacing OSF’s former grants management system (Grant Tracker) for New York and Budapest (Grant Tracker in turn replaced a non-web-based system called GrantSQL that had been created by a consortium of foundations—the Pew Charitable Trusts, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Eli Lilly Foundation – in the 1990s, and GrantSQL replaced OSF’s first grants management system called GTS, which was used in conjunction with an Access database). All historical data from both previous grants management systems was migrated to Foundation Connect. Grant Tracker is still accessible to some staff in “Read-Only” mode.
Foundation Connect supports grant-making activities from the time of the proposal submission and development all the way through grant monitoring and closeout. Other added benefits of Foundation Connect include:
- One central source of information for grant processing and collaboration between office locations
- Access to institution-wide information about grantee relationships to inform decision-making
- An online portal that applicants and grantees can use to submit materials and manage their grants
- Program flexibility to solicit proposal applications and concept papers online
- Docket write-ups and Dockets to track and streamline the approval process of grants
- More efficient grant processing through system support for key grant-making steps such as proposal submission, grant approval and grant letter signature and countersignature
- More sophisticated search and reporting functionalities
Although Foundation Connect involves staff from all departments and levels of OSF, Grants Management plays a special role to ensure its continued success. Data integrity must be maintained for accurate reporting at the highest levels of the organization. Mislabeled or incorrect data (such as duplicate organizations or misspelled names) is systematically fixed through our de-duping process. In addition, data that is obviously incorrect is fixed on an ad hoc by GM staff when noticed.
Proper training of all staff is essential to the accuracy of data entered into FC. GM offers regular and frequent FC training for new staff as well as refresher trainings several times per year. Training materials and job aids are also available within the FC system.
User accounts and managing users’ roles are taken care of by GM trainers and support staff.