Corporate and Foundation Relations

The Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations is the University’s centralized fundraising unit working to secure gifts and grants from corporations and private independent foundations. Committed to expanding corporate and foundation support for UM, the team of specialists works proactively to align funding opportunities with institutional priorities.

The primary functions of the office are to coordinate and cultivate institutional relationships with private foundations and select corporations; identify potential foundation funders for competitive and priority initiatives across the University; and collaborate with faculty, gift officers, and UM leadership to develop persuasive funding proposals. To that end, the team offers the following:

  • identification and dissemination of grant opportunities
  • strategic guidance on approaching foundations and corporations
  • review of project ideas to ensure alignment with foundation/corporation interests and funding priorities
  • proposal editing
  • proposal writing for priority projects
  • assistance gathering institutional information and documents needed for proposals
  • assistance with site visits
  • stewardship support, including assistance with reporting for select centrally managed gifts and grants

In collaboration with school and area gift officers, the Corporate and Foundation Relations team works closely with faculty and physician scientists, budget officers, the Office of Research Administration, the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Scholarship, UInnovation, and other partners to prepare and submit grant proposals.

The team also partners with Business Services, Alumni Engagement, the Toppel Career Center, and Athletics on corporate sponsorships and support.

The office does not assist with government funding.

Please reach out to Corporate and Foundation Relations to discuss funding needs and opportunities.


Joanna de Velasco
Executive Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations
  • Select major gift/leadership prospects and proposals, including all proposals to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
  • UM Libraries
  • Select centralized Institutes and Centers


Melissa Peerless
Senior Director
  • School of Education & Human Development
  • Frost School of Music
  • Office of Civic & Community Engagement
  • Miami Institute for the Americas
  • College of Arts & Sciences (Arts)
  • Miller School of Medicine (IDEA Exchange, Urology)
  • Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (Shark Research & Conservation Program)


Shane Karas
  • School of Nursing & Health Studies
  • School of Architecture
  • College of Arts & Sciences (Sciences, Center for Autism & Related Disabilities)
  • Lowe Art Museum
  • Miami Herbert Business School
  • College of Engineering
  • School of Law
  • Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
  • Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center


Megan Staubitz
Director, Foundation Relations
  • All areas of the Miller School of Medicine (except Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center)
  • School of Communication


Angela Velasquez
Manager, Development Initiatives
  • General liaison to the office and project manager