Printed on: 05/23/2019. 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):

  • Director of Development Operations
  • Deborah Mueller

Date Revised:

Apr 24, 2018

Effective Date:

Sep 1, 1994


Receiving Gifts

The University of Minnesota Foundation (UMF) and the Arboretum Foundation (the “Foundations”) are the Board of Regents designated receiving points for gifts made to the University of Minnesota (the “University”).

The designated Foundations are authorized to accept and record gifts utilizing development officers in departments, colleges and foundations. All gifts must be forwarded to the appropriate Foundation for processing.  

Acceptance and Approval of Gifts

The appropriate Foundation must approve all gifts. The Board of Regents may require further approval.

The University and the Foundations will NOT accept:

  • Gifts that obligate them to break the law or other University policies.
  • Gifts that conflict with federal and state tax regulations.
  • Gifts that are directed to a specific faculty member, staff member, or student.
  • Gifts with terms, which inhibit the Foundations or University from seeking other gifts.
  • Gifts that expose the University to potential liabilities (e.g. environmental).
  • Real estate subject to debt exceeding 50% of its value.

Soliciting Gifts

To ensure the most effective use of resources in seeking private support for the University, fund-raising efforts must be coordinated through one of the recognized Foundations or a University development office in collaboration with University leadership.  This will avoid duplication of effort, over-solicitation, and ensure compliance with University policies.

See the Contacts section of this policy for Foundation phone numbers.

Expending Gift Funds

The Foundations and University departments are responsible, during their period of stewardship and transfer, for ensuring that gifts are spent in accordance with donor intent.

Once gift funds have been transferred to the University and recorded in the related University Enterprise Financial System (EFS) Chatfield String, the University assumes the responsibility for the following:

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

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

Monitoring Gift Funds

Consistent with good stewardship, chancellors, deans, department heads, and center directors must plan and account for Foundation funds transferred into their campus, college, departments or programs, expend those funds in accordance with donor intent and provide the Foundations with necessary documents regarding fund use as requested.

University of Minnesota Office of Internal Audit also monitor the use of gift funds in compliance with the Memorandum of Understanding in effect.  The scope of the reviews and extent of testing is mutually agreed upon in advance by the appropriate Foundations and is reported to the Board of Regents’ Audit Committee as part of its annual audit plan.

The Foundations monitor and ensure good stewardship and fund utilization consistent with donor intent.


To implement Board of Regents Policy: Gift Solicitation and Acceptance.

To provide the University and Foundations with the tools necessary to ensure:

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

Donative intent must be the primary motive for gift giving with 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
Subject Contact Phone Email
Primary Contact Debbie Mueller  612-625-7194
Gift Contacts
Subject Contact Phone Email
University of Minnesota Foundation (Gift Administration) Donna Semeja 612-624-3333
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Foundation Susan Taylor 612-301-1266
Development Contacts
Subject Contact Phone Email
University of Minnesota Foundation (College and Campus Programs) Jan Sickbert   612-624-3283  
University of Minnesota Foundation (M-Health, Medical School & Academic Health Centers) Patty Porter   612-626-6703  
University of Minnesota Foundation (Central Development Programs) Lynn Slifer   612-625-5511    
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Foundation Susan Taylor 952-443-1400
Accounting Contacts
Subject Contact Phone Email
University of Minnesota Accounting Services 612-624-1617
University of Minnesota Foundation Finance Department 612-624-3333
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Foundation Finance Department 612-301-1271
Other Contacts
Subject Contact Phone Email
University of Minnesota Foundation (Corporate and Foundation Relations)   612-624-3333
Gift, Grant or External Sales Classification Group     


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.
Donor Agreements
A document signed by a donor, a Foundation, and the University that specifies the donor intent for gift(s) in a purpose statement and how it will be administered.  The donor agreement may be referred to by various names such as Gift Agreements, Fund Agreements, Memorandum of Agreements (MOA), or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
Donor Intent
The Donor’s defined purpose or wishes regarding the use of their charitable donation.  Often Donor Agreements are used to document the donor intent.  The Foundations are legally obligated to ensure that donor intent is met.
Development Officers
Persons, recognized by the Foundations that specialize in soliciting, accepting, and/or managing gifts. They work in partnership with University leadership to determine if the University will be able to utilize the gift for the donor intent.
Amount established for a specific time for investment purposes or due to the requirements of a gift. Types of endowments are:
  • Endowments – a fund where the Donor’s gift is held in perpetuity and not expended
  • Quasi-Endowments – a fund where the Donor’s gift is held but may be expended
A charitable donation made by a donor (individual or organization) for the benefit of the University to be used in accordance with donor intent.  Gifts may be transfers of money or property (i.e., equipment, land, etc.) for which the donor will not receive a direct economic benefit or any other tangible compensation (i.e., goods or services). Gifts may be in the various forms listed below:

Cash Gifts

  • Cash
  • Check (Foreign, 3rd Party, etc.)
  • Credit Card
  • Wire Transfers/ Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT)
  • Payroll Deductions

Deferred Gifts

A future planned gift that can minimize the donor's income and estate taxes.

  • Trusts
  • Gift Annuities
  • Retained Life Estates
  • Life Insurance
  • Life Income Gifts
  • Bequests

Non-Cash Gifts

A gift made through formats other than cash gifts or deferred gifts.

  • 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

An award made to the University from another entity that is used as additional resources to support instruction, research or public service and has specific terms and conditions. The terms of an award determine how that grant is processed.
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.
Memberships (set fees) that provide access to faculty, students, labs, experts, committee involvement, or academic programming that is specific to the membership population or is individual in nature dependent on the need/discipline. The membership group typically is formed to undertake an enterprise beyond the resources of any one member and is a relationship building activity typically for a longer duration of time (for example; annual membership).
Pledge Commitment
A statement of intent by an individual or organization to give a Foundation a gift within a specified period.
Sponsorships/Sponsorship Package
A program where the expectation of return benefits becomes an incentive for the entity to make a payment for an event/activity.  Examples of return benefits include any item of value, such as, a booth or table at an event/activity; tickets to an event/activity; advertising; and name and logo recognition.
Tribute Gifts
Gifts received by the University in memory of or in honor of someone.


Board of Regents
  • Approve recognized foundations.
  • Review and approve all gifts with a value of $5,000 or more.
College and Campus Development Officers
  • Partner with University and Foundation leadership to develop programs that meet fundraising objectives.
  • Coordinate fund-raising efforts with the appropriate Foundation.
  • Identify, cultivate and solicit prospective donors.
  • Provide ongoing stewardship with donors.
Controller’s Office
  • Monitor gift funds.
  • Centrally review and final approve any deposits into or from University endowments, including Permanent University Funds (PUF) matching dollars.
  • Accept gifts for the benefit of the University using established procedures.
  • Keep track of gift sources.
  • Coordinate with SPA on philanthropic grants and proper grant classification.
  • Transfer gift money to University Chartfield String(s) in accordance with appropriate procedures.
  • Provide reports on distributions to University units.
  • Coordinate fund-raising efforts.
  • Process IRA Form 8283 for non-cash gifts received and Form 8282 when gifts are sold within three years of having been accepted by the Foundation.
  • Facilitates the processing of IRS Forms 8283 and 8282 for non-cash gifts received by the University.
  • 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.
Office of Internal Audit
  • Monitor total expenditures and individual transactions for accountability and stewardship in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the Foundation and the University. See Board of Regents Policy: Gift Solicitation and Acceptance.
Real Estate Office
  • Review all gifts of real estate to the University.
  • Obtain environmental analysis of all University real estate gifts.
SPA (Office of Sponsored Projects Administration)
  • Process sponsored contracts and grants to the University using established procedures.
  • Keep track of grant sources.
Tax Management Office
  • Process IRA Form 8283 for non-cash gifts received and Form 8282 when gifts are sold withing three years of having been accepted by the University.
University Departments or Units
  • Coordinate fund-raising efforts with the development representatives or appropriate Foundation.
  • Responsible for using the gift in accordance with the donor intent.
  • Complying with associated University policies and procedures.
  • Providing sufficient detail and reference on authorizing documents to permit a compliance review (e.g., the University, the Foundations, the donor).
University of Minnesota Foundation (UMF)
  • Responsible for reporting to the Board of Regents all gifts made to recognized Foundations; 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 intent.
University Services, University Relations
  • Review and approve proposed signage on buildings and other significant assets associated with a gift or sponsorship prior to acceptance of the gift.





April 2018 - Comprehensive Review, Minor Revisions. Standardized wording throughout, and eliminated duplicate statements where possible. Integrated the FAQs, the procedures on soliciting and monitoring the gifts into the policy. Eliminated a processing flow chart as it was no longer applicable. And lastly, we updated the policy and procedures to reflect the dissolution of the 4-H Foundation.
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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