The University of Minnesota Foundation (UMF) and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Foundation (MLAF) (collectively the “Foundations”) are the Board of Regents designated foundations for gifts made to the University of Minnesota (the “University”).
All gifts to the Foundations are subject to and administered in accordance with the provisions of the Foundations’ governing documents that relate to gift acceptance and administration. The University departments and recognized University Foundations shall exercise appropriate oversight to ensure that donor funds are managed and used in accordance with donor intent, as documented in the fund purpose. Supporting documentation and records must sufficiently demonstrate expenditures in accordance with donor fund purposes.
To ensure the most effective use of resources in seeking private support for the University, fundraising 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.
The Foundations follow gift guidelines as established by the Council for Support and Advancement of Education (CASE). When dealing with grants or sponsorships, the donor may have a charitable intent, but the terms of the grant or sponsorship may make it ineligible for the appropriate Foundation to accept and issue a charitable gift receipt. For grants, please consult the Gift, Grant or External Sales Classification Group as noted in the contact section of this policy. For sponsorships, please consult the Administrative Policy: Classifying and Recording Sponsorships for University-Hosted Events/Activities.
The Charitable Grant Resource Portal at https://umfgrants.umn.edu/ should be used for assistance in finding charitable grant funding and when using UMF’s or MLAF's 501(c)(3) status to apply for any charitable grant. Central coordination of charitable grant proposals is required by many corporate and philanthropic organizations as some restrict the number of submissions from any one organization or may restrict the number of total submissions during a given time period. Reference the “Managed Foundations” list in the portal for assistance in applying to centrally coordinated organizations.
Many states require registration prior to soliciting donations. The Foundations will ensure that they are in compliance with all state registration laws.
Acceptance of Gifts
The appropriate Foundation must approve all gifts given to the respective foundation. The designated Foundations are authorized to accept and record all liquid gifts (cash and other assets easily convertible to cash such as publicly traded stocks, cryptocurrency, etc.) utilizing development officers in departments, colleges, and the Foundations. Illiquid, complex gifts require special scrutiny and consideration before the Foundations will approve and accept such gifts. In addition, all complex gifts must go through the appropriate Foundation for review and approval. Gifts of real estate made to the University must be approved by the University’s Real Estate Office in addition to the appropriate Foundation. The Board of Regents may require further approval, for example for specific naming opportunities. The University and the Foundations will NOT accept:
- Gifts that are inconsistent with the mission and values of the Foundations or the University.
- 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 that inhibit the Foundations or University from seeking other gifts.
- Gifts that expose the University to certain potential liabilities or risk (e.g. environmental, reputational).
- Gifts that are incomplete or include a reserved interest by the donor other than those expressly provided for under IRS regulations.
- Gifts inconsistent with the University's policy on Equity, Diversity, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action.
Contact the respective Foundations for additional lists of gifts that will not be accepted.
On occasion, donors may desire to give in-kind gifts to the University for use in its work or collections. Such gifts are reviewed for acceptance by the appropriate Foundation and received directly by the University. In other instances, donors may desire to give in-kind gifts to the appropriate Foundation to be immediately liquidated, with the proceeds directed to a fund at the respective Foundation for the benefit of the University. The Foundation will accept and liquidate such gifts and acknowledge the donor accordingly.
The University will sell or otherwise dispose of all gifts or personal property, unless the items can be used by the University in a manner related to the University’s mission. This is communicated in writing at the time of accepting such a gift from a donor as it is an unrelated use and may reduce the charitable contribution deduction for the donor.
Gifts of services or use of space are not considered charitable contributions for tax purposes nor gifts for gift credit purposes.
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 and in compliance with University policies and procedures. The respective Foundation will review requests for disbursements from donor funds to ensure the use of funds complies with the donor gift purpose.
Once gift funds have been transferred to the University and recorded in the related University Enterprise Financial System (EFS) ChartField String, the University assumes the responsibility for the following:
- using the gift in accordance with donor intent;
- complying with associated University policies and procedures;
- complying with tax reporting requirements;
- providing sufficient detail and reference on authorizing documents to permit a compliance review (i.e., the University, the Foundations, the donor); and
- ensuring sufficient documentation exists to verify the funds were expended in accordance with donor intent.
See the Procedure: Managing and Expending Foundation Funds.
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 monitors the use of gift funds in compliance with the respective Memorandum of Understanding in effect between the University and the Foundations. 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 and Compliance Committee as part of the Office of Internal Audit’s audit plan.
Donor Intent Incapable of Being Fulfilled
Occasionally, the original purpose requested by the donor is no longer capable of being fulfilled, for a variety of reasons. All gifts given to the Foundations are subject to the State Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA) guidelines for repurposing when the original donor intent is no longer capable of being fulfilled. The process for such repurposing will depend on how and when the gift was received by the Foundation. For further information about fund repurposing, contact the appropriate Accounting contact listed below.
Appropriate recognition in any donor recognition group may be extended to donors, unless declined in writing by a donor. Any such recognition will be at the Foundations’ and University’s discretion and subject to University policy or guidelines.
The University and Foundations may share news of a gift with press releases, publications, websites, and other media sources, or will otherwise publicly acknowledge a donor by name. Donors who wish their gifts to be anonymous or do not want any such recognition must notify the University or Foundations in writing and all such donor records will be kept confidential to the extent allowed by law.
Neither the University nor the Foundations will provide legal or tax advice, nor financial planning services to donors. Donors are encouraged to seek such advice from their own counsel and professional consultants so that they are fully aware of all potential advantages or disadvantages of any particular gift as well as any documentation or reporting obligations that may be required of the donor (e.g., qualified appraisal or IRS Form 8283).
Reason for Policy
To implement Board of Regents Policy: Gift Solicitation and Acceptance.
To ensure gift acceptance by the Foundations is consistent with the respective Memorandum of Understanding between each Foundation and the University.
To provide the University and Foundations with the tools necessary to ensure:
- the gifts accepted are consistent with University policies and mission;
- the Foundations and University comply with federal and state tax laws;
- the Foundations comply with state solicitation laws and registration requirements;
- 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 fundraising efforts helps ensure the most effective use of resources in seeking private support for the University.