Frequently Asked Questions
How do I qualify for a grant?
The Union Pacific Foundation considers support to 501(c)(3) public charities located in communities served by Union Pacific Railroad. To determine if your community would qualify, go to Who Can Apply.
Where do I forward my proposal?
The Union Pacific Foundation accepts only online applications. To apply for a grant, go to How to Apply.
How can I get a copy of the application form?
Printed versions of the application form are not available as organizations can apply only online.
When will I be contacted about the status of my grant?
You will be notified in February as to the status of your grant application.
How do I know you received my proposal?
After completing your online application and selecting "Submit" in the Review and Submit section, a system-generated email confirming receipt will be sent to the address provided in the "Contact" area of the application.
When do you accept proposals?
The Union Pacific Foundation accepts online grant applications May 1 through Midnight CDT, August 15. Review our When to Apply for additional information.
How can I improve my chances of receiving a grant?
You can increase the possibility of receiving a grant and improve the quality of your proposal by reading our General Criteria information.
How much does the Union Pacific Foundation give each year?
In 2013, the Union Pacific Foundation distributed approximately $7 million to more than 980 organizations through the Community-Based Grant Program.
What is the range in size of grants?
The Union Pacific Foundation does not have a range for grant amounts. Many factors, including the specific program or project to be funded and the organization making the request, determine funding amounts. Based on the past several years, the average grant was less than $10,000.
Will my nonprofit receive the amount requested?
Not necessarily. Many aspects of your proposal are taken into consideration, including your organization's mission and goals, leadership, vision and strategy, type of request, community, etc. The Union Pacific Foundation is particularly interested in the level of support your organization receives from other businesses in your community. The Foundation does not provide leadership gifts or support requests for which they are asked to be the sole funder.
My 501(c)(3) has a pending status; do I qualify?
No. The Union Pacific Foundation reviews more than 2,300 grant requests per year and can support only a small portion of these projects. Unless the nonprofit currently possesses a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) determination letter from the IRS, you would not be eligible to apply.
Do you sponsor film or media productions?
No. To find out more about which organizations are eligible and which are not, please go to the Who Can Apply section.
Do you provide only cash grants?
Yes. The Union Pacific Foundation does not award in-kind gifts of land, structures, equipment or materials from Union Pacific Railroad.
My organization is identified as a nonprofit by my state. Is that the same as the IRS 501(c)(3) documentation?
No. The organization must have completed the appropriate forms and filed them with the IRS to receive this ruling. Check with your accountant regarding the IRS designation status of your organization.
The IRS has determined my organization is a 501(c)(4) but we do charitable work. Can we apply?
No. There are numerous 501(c) designations in the IRS Code. Union Pacific Foundation only accepts requests from 501(c)(3) public charities.
May I apply for a grant for a specific project on behalf of another organization, which does not have a 501(c)(3)?
No. Law prohibits the Foundation from granting funds to one qualified organization that in turn provides the funds to an unqualified organization