Grants to Universities

The Open Society Foundations network makes numerous grants to universities worldwide. Given the size of many of these universities and the associated bureaucracy, difficulties may arise in making grants to these entities. Some examples include the following:

Confirming legal name to be used in grant agreement: Universities often do business under a name other than their university name (for example, grants to Columbia University are made to the Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York), or they have separate (sometimes multiple) legal entities set up to receive grant payments. This may also create issues with eligibility.

Confirming the authorized signatory for the grantee: When confirming the authorized signatory for the grantee, ask program staff to be sure to confirm that the name presented by the grantee as the authorized signatory for the grant is someone who is actually legally authorized to sign on behalf of the university and not just the lead academic contact working on the project that the grant is funding.

Confirming the correct bank account for payment of grant funds: Universities will often have different bank accounts for different purposes.

Grants officers may need to undertake a greater amount of due diligence when reviewing and assigning the organization for a grant to a university to avoid difficulties with the points above, including organizational hierarchy issues.

Universities often time take longer than smaller, less bureaucratic grantees to prepare and submit reports. It is not uncommon for universities to request a longer timeframe in which to prepare and submit reports. As long as program staff are comfortable with this, it should not be an issue.

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