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GrantsPlus: History & Inspiration

The creation of GrantsPlus was inspired by the Research Foundation’s service as the fiscal agent of the September 11th Fund after the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington D.C..

The September 11th Fund

The September 11th attacks on New York City and Washington generated an immediate outpouring of emergency funding and assistance. In the spring of 2002, the September 11th Fund was created to assist those who had suffered economic dislocation resulting from the attacks. Together with the Heldrich Center at Rutgers University in New Jersey, the Fund created an employment assistance program administered through numerous service providers to help the unemployed and under-employed find jobs by providing training and temporary income support.

The Research Foundation was asked to provide the fiscal administrative support for this program. A reliable mechanism was needed to transfer substantial sums to the service providers and further direct funds from the service providers to individual clients and training schools. Appropriate accounting procedures and internal controls needed to be established without hindering the rapid disbursement of large amounts of money deliverable in many smaller sums. A facility was needed to accept feeds to and from a database and financial computer systems, to make payments, track expenditures and cut checks.

In slightly over a year, the Research Foundation disbursed nearly $70 million to approximately 10,000 recipients and cut nearly 25,000 checks in amounts ranging from $300 to $4,000 to both individuals and training schools. The Research Foundation’s on-line financial reports provided a detailed financial picture of the program on a daily basis.

Expanding our Reach

As a result of successful service as the fiscal agent for the September 11th Fund, the Research Foundation realized it was in a unique position to provide similar fiscal and administrative assistance to the larger nonprofit sector.

The Research Foundation

  • is itself a nonprofit and thus intimately familiar with the constraints and requirements of nonprofit operations and funding
  • has fully developed proprietary systems designed expressly to handle restricted funding administration
  • is dedicated to post-award administration as its mission
  • has over 40 years experience administering awards from hundreds of funders: city, state, federal and private
  • has a large and experienced staff trained in the niche specialty of restricted funding administration
  • demonstrated through its service to the September 11th Fund the capacity to respond quickly to complex, critical and highly visible programs

In 2004, the Research Foundation decided to create GrantsPlus as a 501(c)3 corporation dedicated to serving other nonprofits outside the City University of New York System. Establishing GrantsPlus as a separate entity allows us procedural flexibility to better serve non-CUNY clients. However, GrantsPlus clients receive the full benefit of the Research Foundation's automated systems and experienced staff. GrantsPlus provides a full suite of fiscal and administrative services designed to serve a variety of clients from large funders to small nonprofit agencies.