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 organization would qualify, go to Grant Criteria & Eligibility.
Where do I forward my proposal?
The Union Pacific Foundation only accepts proposals through our online application process. To apply for a grant, go to Application Process & Timeline.
Can I request an application by mail or email?
No; the Union Pacific Foundation accepts only online applications. We do not accept letters of intent or respond to requests for applications outside of this process. To apply for a grant, go to Application Process & Timeline.
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 do you accept proposals?
The Union Pacific Foundation accepts Local Grant applications throughout April and May (exact dates may vary slightly depending on calendar). Review our Application Process & Timeline for additional information.
When will I be contacted about the status of my grant?
You will be notified in September 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 email address provided in the "Contact" area of the application. If you do not receive a confirmation email, please check to make sure you clicked ‘Submit’, not ‘Save’.
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 having a clear alignment with one of our Funding Priorities & Objectives and by reading and adhering to the Grant Criteria & Eligibility.
How much does the Union Pacific Foundation give each year?
In 2016, the Union Pacific Foundation distributed approximately $9 million to more than 940 organizations.
What is the range in size of grants?
Typical grant awards in the UPF Local Grants program will range from $2,500 – $25,000. 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 your nonprofit currently possesses a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) determination letter from the IRS, you are not eligible to apply.
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.
May I apply for a grant if my organization does not have a 501(c)(3) status but has a fiscal sponsor?
No. The Union Pacific Foundation does not accept applications from organizations who require a fiscal sponsor.