“One of the best parts of moving to foundationConnect has been the positive feedback from grant seekers. We can better service them, while they save valuable time submitting documents digitally with the Grantee Portal.” 

– Jim Rutt, Chief Information Officer of Dana Foundation

The Dana Foundation is a private philanthropic organization committed to advancing brain research and to educating the public in a responsible manner about research’s potential. The Foundation, founded in 1950, works to achieve its goals through grants to institutions engaged in innovative neuroscience research and through public outreach efforts. Its grants fund research in neuroscience in connection to human health and disease.


The Dana Foundation used MicroEdge GIFTS Classic as its grants management solution until 2012. The Foundation experienced many of the challenges that come with siloed, outdated systems.

For example, grants staff spent a considerable amount of time on the preparation of reports. Working with reports that were built over a decade ago, it often took staff up to three weeks to modify a report before it was ready to be shared with the Board.

On grant application deadline days, the Foundation’s office was inundated with dozens of boxes and packages filled with paper grant applications. To process these applications, staff manually entered these applications into the system, scanned and stored the pieces of paper.

The Dana Foundation knew that, in order to streamline the grant cycle, it was necessary to move to a cloud-based architecture.


The Dana Foundation recognized the Salesforce platform as the best infrastructure provider. This turned out even better than expected when the Foundation discovered that foundationConnect was natively built on the platform.

In addition to leveraging all of foundationConnect’s key functionality, the Dana Foundation customized reports in the application. These reports enable grants staff with the data they need to report to the Board or other stakeholders. In fact, preparing reports now only takes staff two hours – a tremendous improvement from the weeks of work in the past.

With all applications and documents stored, managed, and signed in the cloud, the office is no longer cluttered on grant application deadline days and staff processes applications more promptly. The Foundation also launched foundationConnect’s Grantee Portal. This has generated positive feedback and eliminates the need for grant seekers to print and mail documents to the Foundation’s office.

Following the Trailblazers of Dana Foundation’s grants management team, other teams of the Foundation have also switched to the Salesforce platform to streamline their processes.

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