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. Our team works proactively to align funding opportunities with institutional priorities, and to increase foundation funding across the institution. We have extensive experience collaborating with foundations, and a strong track record of securing grants for projects at the Miller School of Medicine, and the Coral Gables and Rosenstiel campuses. 

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.

The office does not assist with government funding.

Please reach out to us to discuss funding needs and opportunities.


Joanna de Velasco
Executive Director
  • 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
  • Health Equity work, institution-wide
  • College of Arts and Sciences (Social Sciences)
  • MIami Herbert Business School
  • School of Communication
  • School of Education and Human Development
  • Miller School of Medicine:
    • Brain Health (Neurology, Neurosurgery, Psychiatry)
    • General Internal Medicine
    • Public Health
    • Urology
  • Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas
  • Office of Civic and Community Engagement


Shane Karas
  • College of Arts and Sciences (Sciences)
  • School of Architecture
  • College of Engineering
  • School of Law
  • School of Nursing and Health Studies
  • Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science
  • Miller School of Medicine
    • Infectious Disease
    • Hussman Institute for Human Genomics
    • BioNIUM
  • Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center


Laura Siegel
  • Bascom Palmer Eye Institute
  • Frost School of Music
  • Miller School of Medicine:
    • Anesthesiology
    • Cardiology
    • Crohn's and Colitis Center
    • Dermatology
    • Diabetes Research Institute
    • Gastroenterology
    • Nephrology
    • Otolaryngology
    • Parkinson's/Movement Disorders
    • Surgery


Alexandria Morgan
Associate Director
  • College of Arts and Sciences (Arts)
  • Frost School of Music: Donna E. Shalala MusicReach Program
  • School of Law: Clinics
  • Lowe Art Museum
  • Miller School of Medicine:
    • Obstetrics/Gynecology
    • Orthopedics/Physical Therapy
  • Miller School of Medicine Outreach Programs:
    • Bascom Palmer Vision Van
    • Children's Hearing Program
    • Pediatric Mobile Clinic
    • THRIVE Clinic


Kathy Hadfeg
Manager, Development Initiatives
  • Project Manager
  • General liaison to the office


The team supports faculty, physician/scientists, and researchers by:

  • identifying and disseminating grant opportunities
  • providing strategic guidance  on approaching foundations and corporations
  • reviewing project ideas to ensure alignment with foundation/corporation interests and funding priorities
  • editing proposals
  • writing proposals (for priority projects)
  • gathering institutional information and documents needed for proposals
  • assisting with site visits
  • supporting stewardship, including assistance with reporting for select centrally managed gifts and grants

We work closely with school and departmental budget officers, the Office of Research Administration, the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Scholarship, and other partners to prepare and submit grant proposals.