Foundation Fund Expense Account (FFEA)
In partnership with the UA Foundation, the University of Alaska redesigned the process for accessing UA Foundation funds to achieve a more efficient communication, oversight, and expenditure process under the stewardship of university departments.
- Provides relief to sponsored program offices within UA where spending Foundation fund actions could bottle-neck due to high levels of processing.
- Allows for more immediate spending of UA Foundation funds thus meeting donor intent sooner with accountability and impact reporting.
- Simplifies and standardizes the process of spending foundation funds, which makes it easier for department fiscal managers to understand and communicate.
The old UA Foundation account process treated these as grants, using both the traditional grant setup process (through the sponsored program offices) and following guidance associated with extramural funding. This involves a high level of administrative oversight and limits visibility on funds available to spend from UA Foundation accounts on an ongoing basis. Likewise, the old practice also billed the UA Foundation for fund expenses quarterly, which limits transparency and accuracy of funds spent, “encumbered,” and available for fund stewards. Because the balances on UA Foundation accounts are not visible in Banner, the standard University of Alaska system for financial transactions and management, there was often confusion about how much funding was available and where it was available depending on which system was being used.
In the “old way,” there were three ways to access and use funds held at the UA Foundation:
- Through Direct Reimbursement – spend money out of a Fund 1 account (in Banner at the University level) and submit paperwork to be reimbursed.
- Set up a Grant through a sponsored programs office at the university level.
- Scholarship Awards through Financial Aid.
The improved process changes the system management from sponsored program offices to central budget offices (Financial Services at UAF). In addition, this process changes the university’s role from oversight to facilitator and uses the central budget offices as a conduit by which the fund stewards can easily monitor and process expenditure activity. The sponsored program office (OGCA at UAF) role will change from one of management to that of billing processor.
Another major change is a shift from thinking of these as “Foundation Grant Funds” to identifying them as “Foundation Expense Funds.” As a Grant fund, we treated each fund as a unique award complete with a grant setup and billing process. As an expense fund, we treat each UA Foundation fund as unique to the UA Foundation, but otherwise it is part of a standard setup, management, and billing system with generalized management oversight from UAF Financial Services and billing processing by UAF OGCA.
While there are still different focuses and systems used at both UA Foundation and the UA system, the distribution and spending of UA Foundation funds at the university level are improved through:
- Accessing the two databases (Banner & Financial Edge) so that common data in both systems align.
- Bypassing the individual, on-demand grant setup through the sponsored programs offices at the university level and transferring funds directly from the Foundation to the different universities.
- Creating a mechanism to obtain impact information within process.
- Communications between organizations, fund authorities, and donors.
Management of Foundation Fund Expense Accounts are the responsibility of the signature authority for the account (as per UA Foundation records). The account (grant) number in Banner (FRAGRNT) will reflect the current signature authority as the Principal Investigator.
Setup of the FFE account, the primary fund for the account, and initial budget additions (or subtractions) are processed through the central budget office at UAF (Office of Finance and Accounting, or OFA). UAF OFA will reach out to the PI’s support staff to determine the appropriate organization (orgn) code to use for the setup. All authorized budget entries will use the 3001 account code (or 6001 for scholarship accounts) on the primary fund and orgn.
It is the department’s responsibility to request additional accounting (funds and/or orgs) for the FFEA, make any needed changes to the location of the authorized budget within the FFEA, correct overruns, and request additional funding from the UA Foundation. The information and instructions located at the link below provide guidance on the details of this management.
New Fund Requests
Departments may request new funds or make changes on existing FFEAs at any time. Only request new funds when the signature authority for an FFEA delegates a significant and specific amount of funding to another person.
Use the FFEA Fund Code Maintenance Form to submit requests to the budget office; you may include the requested information on the provided bulk form spreadsheet for requests of six or more funds and submit it through the form instead.
Examples of times you may be considering a new fund:
The Chancellor delegates $150,000 to the library for expansion of Alaskan History texts – this is a specific activity with a beginning and an end, and we likely want to know what happened for historical context. It is appropriate to request a new fund for this.
The Chancellor delegates $2,500 to the Dean of Liberal Arts for discretionary purposes, similar to every year, and you set up a fund for the Dean of Liberal Arts under this FFEA two years ago. Do not request a new fund! Add the new delegation to the existing fund, and continue to use it in perpetuity.
The Dean of Engineering provides $1,000 to one of her faculty to support travel expenses to a development conference. Do not request a new fund! Expense under the existing accounting, or rebudget it under a separate org within the existing fund.
Budget increases or decreases on each FFEA must be requested and approved through the UA Foundation. Notification from UA Foundation comes to UAF OFA directly; departments may never submit budget revisions to decrease, increase, or move authority between FFEAs. However, any budget movement within an FFEA, such as to different budget categories, orgs, or associated funds, must be requested by the department using the “non-standard” budget revision form.
The document rule class is “RBUD” (Choose from the dropdown menu), and the department may include a single description for the document on the first entry line or include a separate description for each line. Please see the instructions included with the NSBR form for more details specifically relating to use of the form.
Information and instructions for Department Management of FFEA
Funding requests from the UA Foundation should include amounts no greater than what the university expects to use in a year. For example, if an account has $100,000 available, and the signature authority expects to need $15,000 of that for the next year, the request should be $15,000 or less. Departments may make requests to increase this amount at any time, but requests for access to more funding than needed may result in less efficient management of the funds within the account and, possibly, an adjustment from the foundation to reduce the authorized budget in the FFEA.
Departments may make requests to access Foundation funding at any time using this form:
The UA Foundation expects signature authorities to provide periodic donor impact reports, and future funding requests may be denied or delayed if the account is lacking a recent report. Departments should plan to provide an impact report at least annually, and the frequency should not exceed the length of a completed funding unit. For example, if the UA Museum of the North requested funding for $20,000 to curate a specific exhibit at the museum, and the event took three months to complete, they should provide an impact report at the conclusion of the exhibit.
Departments may report on donor impacts at any time using this form:
Additional UA Foundation information and resources for UA departments are available here:
Please refer to these two Google Docs for all FFEA-related questions and answers.
Weekly FFEA Reports are posted here:
These reports are updated each Friday.
Our staff are happy to answer questions and help navigate Foundation Fund Expense Accounts.