Printed on: 03/17/2018. Please go to for the most current version of the Policy or related document.


Accepting and Managing Gifts

Responsible University Officer(s):

  • President - University of Minnesota Foundation

Policy Owner(s):

  • Vice President - Development

Policy contact(s):

Date Revised:

September 2013

Effective Date:

September 1994


Receiving/Soliciting Gifts

The University of Minnesota Foundation, the Arboretum Foundation and the 4-H Foundation are the Board-designated receiving points for gifts made to the University.

Development officers, in departments, colleges or foundations, are authorized to accept and record outright cash gifts which bear no unusual restrictions or form. They must, however, send the gift to the appropriate foundation for processing. Any other individual who receives a gift from a donor must forward the gift to the appropriate foundation.

In rare instances when it may not be feasible for a gift to be processed through the recognized foundations, departments must first obtain approval from the appropriate foundation, then send a completed gift transmittal and statement of the donor's wishes to that foundation. Units considering a fund raising activity on behalf of the University must coordinate the effort through one of the recognized University foundations.

Acceptance and Approval of Gifts

The appropriate recognized foundation must approve all gifts. Further approval may be required by the Board of Regents. The University and the Foundations will NOT accept:

  • Gifts which obligate them to break the law or other University policies.
  • Gifts which limit, beyond a general description of the subject area, the research or work of a faculty member, staff member, or student.
  • Gifts which inhibit them from seeking gifts from other donors, be they similar or different, foreign or domestic.
  • Gifts that expose the University to potential environmental liability.
  • Real estate subject to debt exceeding 50% of its value.

Expending Gift Funds

The recognized foundations and University departments are responsible, during their period of stewardship and transfer, for insuring that gifts are spent in accordance with donor's wishes.

Once a gift has been deposited to a University financial system account, the head of that department assumes the responsibility for:

  • using the gift in accordance with the donor's wishes;
  • complying with associate University policies and procedures; and
  • providing sufficient detail and reference on authorizing documents to permit a compliance review (e.g., the University, the foundation, the donor.)

All expenditures from University accounts must comply with donor intent and University policies and procedures. The individual initiating such charges is responsible for compliance, using the appropriate University account established for the gift, and providing sufficient detail and reference on authorizing documents to permit a review of compliance.


To provide the University and recognized foundations with the tools necessary to ensure:

  • the highest levels of stewardship are maintained regarding the recording, approval, acknowledgment and distribution of gifts to the University.
  • the gifts accepted are consistent with University policies and mission.
  • the University complies with federal and state tax laws.

Donative Intent must be the primary motive for gift giving, that is, the intention to give something of value for the betterment of the University. Coordinating fund-raising efforts helps ensure the most effective use of resources in seeking private support for the University.






Primary Contact(s)
Cash Gifts
University of Minnesota Foundation
Donna Semeja
Minnesota 4-H Foundation
Jane Johnson
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Foundation
Frank Molek
All Other Gifts
For all other gifts contact your college development officer or call:
University of Minnesota Foundation
Mark Baumgartner or
Patty Porter
Minnesota 4-H Foundation
Jane Johnson
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Foundation
Frank Molek
Accounting Questions
Gracie Davenport or
Accounting Services
Grant Routing


Acceptance Agreement
A document signed by a donor, a foundation and the University that specifies the purpose of a gift and how it will be administered.
An agreement between the University and another entity to provide an economic benefit for compensation paid. The agreement is binding and creates a quid pro quo relationship between the University and the entity. For sponsored programs, route to SPA.
Development Officers
Persons, recognized by the foundations that specialize in soliciting, accepting or managing gifts.
Amount established for a specific time period for investment purposes or due to the requirements of a gift. Types of endowments are:
  • True Endowments
  • Quasi-Endowments
  • Term Endowments
  • Life Income Fund Endowments
All restricted and unrestricted transfers of money or property (i.e., equipment, land, etc.) made to a recognized University Foundation or College by an individual, group, business or non-governmental agency when the use of the funds is NOT intended to result in direct economic benefit or any other tangible compensation (i.e., goods or services) to the donor.
Cash Gifts
Examples include:
  • Cash
  • Check (Foreign, 3rd Party, etc.)
  • Credit Card
  • Wire Transfers
  • Payroll Deductions
Deferred Gifts
A planned gift that can minimize the donor's income and estate taxes. Deferred gifts include:
  • Trusts
  • Gift Annuities
  • Retained Life Estates
  • Life Insurance
  • Life Income Gifts
  • Bequests
Non-Cash Gifts
Examples include:
  • Intangibles
    • Patent Rights
  • Securities
    • Stocks
    • Bonds
    • Mutual Funds
  • Personal Property
    • Equipment
    • Supplies
  • Collectibles
    • Artwork
    • Antiques
    • Rare Books, Coins, Stamps
  • Real Estate
    • Land
    • Air Rights
    • Mineral Rights
    • Buildings
Gifts from individuals or organizations who engage University staff as a speaker or consultant and who designate the fees as a gift.
Matching Gifts
A gift, usually from a company or organization, given in addition to a gift from one of its employees (or members). The matching gift is allocated to the same purpose as the original gift or the purpose designated by the company or organization.
Fees or subscriptions are tax deductible to the extent that such payments exceed the monetary value of the benefits.
Memorial / Honors Gifts
Gifts received by the University in memory of or in honor of someone.
Awarded to the University as additional resources to support instruction, research or public service. The terms of a particular grant determine how that grant is processed. If ANY of the following conditions exist, the item may be a grant and should be routed to SPA for review:
  • Any of the following "terms" are mentioned: contract, cost sharing, line item budget restrictions, overhead negotiations, prior approval required on spending, return of unused funds to sponsor, intellectual property, or period of performance.
  • Sponsor is entitled to receive some consideration, such as a detailed technical report, test results or merchandise.
  • Limitations exist on the use of project data, or details relating to patents or copyrights are involved.
A statement of intent by an individual or organization to give the University a gift within a specified period of time.


Accept gifts to the University using established procedures. Keep track of gift sources. Route grants to SPA for review. Deposit gifts to University accounts. Provide reports on distribution to University units and expenses paid for directly by the foundations. Coordinate fund-raising.
University of Minnesota Foundation
  • Report all gifts made through recognized foundations to the Board of Regents; provide individual reports for gifts over $5,000.
  • Establish the policy for accepting gifts to the University.
  • Establish procedures for ensuring that the gifts are allocated to the appropriate University unit and are spent according to donor's wishes.
University Controller, Office of Internal Audit
Monitor total expenditures and individual transactions for accountability and stewardship. See Board of Regents Policy: Gift Soliciation and Acceptance.
Real Estate Office
Review all gifts of real estate to the University. Obtain environmental analysis of all real estate gifts. Each recognized foundation is responsible for the environmental analysis of real estate held or liquidated by that foundation. Foundations must follow the procedures used by the University for conducting an environmental review.
University Departments
Refer potential donors to the appropriate recognized Foundation.
Board of Regents
Review and approve all gifts with a value of $5,000 or more.
College and Campus Development Officers
Work with the appropriate recognized foundation to formulate programs that meet fund-raising objectives. Identify, cultivate and solicit prospective donors. See the list of development programs in appendices.
Accounting Services
Process IRS Form 8283 for gifts received and Form 8282 when gifts are sold within two-three years of having been accepted by the University.
SPA (Office of Sponsored Projects Administration)
Process sponsored contracts and grants to the University using established procedures. Keep track of grant sources. Route gifts to the appropriate foundation for processing.


Related Policies

Other Related Information


September 2013 – Comprehensive Review. Updated procedures to reflect current process. Updated policy and procedures to reflect merger of Minnesota Medical Foundation with the University of Minnesota Foundation. Improved procedures to reflect the current process. Details about types of gifts the University will not accept was added to policy statement.   Aligned language with the University's policy style.
November 2006 - Processing Gifts procedure and forms section updated. The print Gift Transmittal form has been superceded by an online gift processing procedure.
August 2003 - Updated Contacts and Forms sections.
June 1999 - Updated Related Information and Forms sections.
June 1997 - Procedure Requesting Checks from the Foundation was revised to include separate procedures for Requesting Checks from the University of Minnesota Foundation, and Requesting Checks from foundations other than the University of Minnesota Foundation.
June 95 - Revision to Gift Form. Currency should be hand delivered to the Foundation Offices.
March 1995 - Added Frequently Asked Questions Section.
September 1994
Accepting Gifts, 6/94
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