Foundation Special Projects Awards

Each year, the WSU Foundation grants about $100,000 to special projects pursued by permanent full-time faculty or staff at the University. These awards are intended to help fund projects that bring innovation and acclaim to the University.

The Special Projects Committee of the WSU Foundation Board of Trustees reviews the applications twice a year and selects the winning projects.

Have a plan for a project? Apply for a Special Projects Award today!

If you have already received an award, fill out the Special Projects Award Final Report Form (PDF).

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the WSU Foundation office at 507.457.5020 or Phil Sonnenberg at

Application Guidelines

  • An outline of the project (problem to be addressed, significance, goals, methods to be used, ways to evaluate success, future plans)
  • A statement of the project's relevance to the mission of the institution and/or college
  • One-page budget
  • A fundraising plan (if additional funding is needed to complete the project)
  • Benchmarks and measurable results to be reported to the Foundation

Also, all publications, displays or presentations of any project funded should include appropriate recognition of the WSU Foundation.

You must be a WSU employee, and your project must meet certain criteria. 

Funds are awarded for proposals that encourage innovative research and curriculum development that lead to new academic programming and scholarly publications.

Project Criteria

  • Offers new programming or benefit to the University community
  • One that needs initial start-up funds
  • Has sought out additional fund sources
  • Must be supported by the Department / College
  • Encourages innovative teaching or innovative research
  • Shows clear potential for leveraging additional/sustainable funding and is submitted by an applicant committed to leading those fundraising efforts
  • Is a project that will be completed or substantially completed within 12 months
  • Will bring visibility to the University and advances its goals
  • Is a project that can be completed or substantially completed within the limitations imposed by COVID restrictions


Faculty and staff members are only awarded one grant per fiscal year. Typical awards do not exceed $5,000. Funds awarded must be spent solely for the purposes stated in the application.

The Foundation will not fund:

  • faculty/staff salaries
  • faculty/staff travel
  • honoraria for WSU faculty and/or staff
  • academic course work toward graduate degrees or for post-graduate work

Changes to original request require re-submission of the written proposal.

All property funded by the WSU Foundation must be recorded as part of WSU’s inventory and have a fixed asset sticker applied. Any inventions or intellectual properties developed must be disclosed to the Foundation.

The Foundation retains the right to claim a fair and proportional benefit from the innovation and The Foundation must be given an opportunity to participate in the patent process.

This short Final Report Form (PDF) is due to the Foundation office within one year of the start of the project.

Use this Special Projects Budget Form (PDF) to complete the Special Projects application.

The WSU Foundation logo is available to be used on all marketing materials associated with the special projects award:

Use the Foundation's Voucher Form (PDF) to request fund disbursement from an account held by the WSU Foundation, such as special projects.

April 2024

Applications are reviewed two times per fiscal year. Applicants must present their projects to the special projects committee on review day.

Someone from the Foundation office will schedule your 10-minute presentation time one week before the committee meeting date.

Be prepared to explain how your project is relevant to the mission of the institution and your college or department.