Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Below you will find answers to commonly asked questions.

What is the Grants Office?

The Grants Office manages grant development district-wide, including exploration of funding opportunities, assistance with proposal guidelines, collaboration with faculty and/or staff to develop proposals, coordination of institutional approval, and support with post-award grant management. A full description of our services can be found on the Services page.

Do I need to work with the Grants Office? Can I submit my own grant?

PCC requires anyone submitting a grant on behalf of the college to work through the Grants Office. Having one point of contact prevents duplication of efforts (i.e. two departments pursuing the same grant opportunity when only one proposal is allowed by the funder.) In addition, the Grants Office staff has specific expertise that will increase the competitiveness of grant proposals. Working with the Grants Office makes the process easier and increases the likelihood of a proposal getting funded.

I have an idea for a grant proposal, what do I do now?

Start by reviewing the grant development flow chart, Services, and the College's mission and values and Strategic Plan. This will give you a good idea of PCC’s process for developing and approving grant proposals, the services the Grants Office offers PCC faculty and staff, and the types of grants in which the College is most interested. If you are interested in applying for a grant and you have an idea, please complete the short Grant needs summary survey. If you have additional questions, please contact Vanessa Wood, Interim Grants Development Director to discuss your project idea.

How does the Grants Office determine which grants to pursue?

The PCC Grants Office is guided by the College’s mission and values and the Strategic Plan. Grant opportunities are vetted with PCC leadership, taking several factors into consideration such as alignment with College’s mission, benefit to students, the viability of the project, and the capacity of PCC stakeholders to contribute to the proposal development process within the funder’s timeframe.

What sources of funding are available to community colleges?

Some of the funders that have provided grant funding for PCC’s projects include the American Association of Community Colleges, Department of Education, Department of Labor, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Science Foundation, Oregon Health Authority, Worksystems, Inc., Meyer Memorial Trust, Bank of America Foundation and Oregon Community Foundation.

What is involved in the grant development flow chart?

Once a decision has been made to move forward with a grant proposal, the Grants Office will work with lead staff or faculty to identify stakeholders to serve on a grant development team. The grant development team will be responsible for planning the grant project and proposal, a process that typically involves several hours per week outside of normal work responsibilities until the grant is submitted. The process generally takes between three and eight weeks, depending on when the grant announcement is made and the complexity of the project. The Grants Director will assign a lead Grants Officer to work with the grant development team. The Grants Officer will develop a timeline and work plan for completing the grant and the Grants Office will be responsible for final submission.

Why is PCC’s grant development process so time-intensive and complex?

The grants approval process was designed by the President’s Executive Cabinet to ensure they are aware of and approve all grant proposals that are developed and submitted by the College. A number of issues are considered during the approval process, including the alignment of the project with the funder’s guidelines and the College’s mission and strategic plan, matching funds requirements, and whether the College would be required to sustain the project after funding ends.

The Grant Needs Summary be approved by the Grants Office and the Department Dean. The final grant proposal must be approved by Campus and or District leadership and the Executive Cabinet prior to submission. The Grants Office will help shepherd grant proposals through the approval process.

My department has been asked to partner on a grant submitted by another agency and/or to provide a letter of support for another agency’s grant. Do I need to contact the Grants Office?

Yes. If you’ve been asked to partner on a grant proposal or provide a letter of support, contact the Grants Office at grants@pcc.edu so we can advise you on how to proceed.

What are indirect costs and why do I have to budget for it?

Indirect costs are College-wide, general management costs such as accounting, budgeting, facilities, payroll preparation, personnel services, and purchasing.

The College’s federally approved indirect rate is 32.3%. This means that it takes 32.3% of the direct costs of a grant to provide the services described above. Many funders do not pay the full indirect rate, it is College policy to budget for the maximum indirect allowed by the funder. Without indirect, the College could not afford to offer the services provided by grant programs.

Can I pitch an idea to a funder?

The Grants Office usually takes the lead in all preliminary conversations with funders, particularly for the large federal grants in which the Grants Office specializes, and the PCC Foundation usually takes the lead in conversations with private and corporate foundation staff. Having one point of contact between PCC and the funding agency limits confusion and decreases the likelihood of conflicting information during the proposal development process.

I’m confused about whether I should work with the Grants Office or the PCC Foundation. Who can help me?

Generally, the Grants Office focuses on obtaining government grants for programs that have a campus or college-wide reach. The PCC Foundation focuses on requests to private and corporate foundations, businesses, and individual donors for scholarships and smaller more discrete projects. The Grants Office and the PCC Foundation work collaboratively to determine which office can best respond to a program’s request for help in obtaining funding. If you are interested in raising funds for your program and your idea is not in response to a specific government grant announcement, complete the short Grant Needs Summary. We will discuss your request and someone from the Grants Office or the PCC Foundation will follow up with you.

Are there financial resources available for faculty who spend time developing grant applications?

No, the Grants Office does not have any financial resources for faculty. You can check with your department to see if they provide release time or non-instructional pay. If the grant proposal is funded, financial resources are usually built into the budget for the lead faculty or staff member working on the grant.

Still have questions?

Contact the Grants Office at grants@pcc.edu or 971-722-4643.