University of Minnesota  FAQ

Accepting and Managing Gifts


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Please use the contact section in the governing policy.

  1. I received a cash gift for a student organization; do I send it to a recognized Foundation?

    Determine whether the student organization is an approved campus life program or registered student organization by going to the Organizations section of the GopherLink website.

    If the student organization is an approved campus life program, you should forward the gift to the appropriate Foundation for processing.

    If the student organization is a registered student organization, gifts should be made payable and sent directly to the registered student organization. The Foundation does not accept gifts for registered student organizations. The gifts may not qualify as a charitable contribution for tax purposes depending on the status of the registered student organization.

  2. Can gifts of securities or payments from a donor-advised fund be used for partially deductible donations?

    No. All gifts of securities and payments from donor-advised funds must be 100% tax deductible. Contact the UMF Policy Owner for guidance. Refer to the contacts section of the policy for contact information.

  3. Can a faculty or staff member make a gift to a recognized Foundation?

    Yes, faculty and staff are encouraged to give to support programs at the university. However, they should consult with their tax advisors on any implications to their personal taxes.

  4. Can a faculty or staff member contribute to a specific fund at the University or Foundation?

    Yes, however under IRS regulations, a donor must relinquish all control over a gift for it to be treated as a completed gift to charity. Faculty or staff should not give to funds over which they have signing authority. In order to protect the donor's charitable contribution, employee donors should not serve as authorized signers, nor retain control over the assignment of authorized signers, on funds to which they personally donate. If an employee donor remains an authorized signer on a fund, the dean, department head, or their designee must ensure proper approvals are obtained to avoid donor control of the gifted funds.

  5. Can a faculty member direct honorarium or consulting payments to the University as a gift?

    Generally, no. If the consulting agreement is between the faculty member and the payor, the faculty member may make a charitable contribution to a University Foundation after receiving the payment as personal income. There may be an option for structuring the consulting agreement between the University and the payor. See the Constructive Receipt of Income tax guide (Tax Management Office Guide (TMOG) #7) located at the University’s Tax Management webpage. 

  6. Can a donor earmark a charitable gift to be directed to a specific individual?

    No, a charitable gift must benefit the University of Minnesota and a payment directed to a specific individual does not qualify as a charitable contribution. This applies to gifts and charitable grants for specific research. Control of the gift/charitable grant must be with the University and may not specify the researcher, only the research “as currently conducted by [the researcher]."

  7. The University is sponsoring a conference. It is funded through registration fees, funding from University departments, and individual sponsorships or grants from outside sources. Are the sponsorships or grants from outside sources a gift? Do they need to be reported to a recognized Foundation?

    The recognized Foundations can accept sponsorship or grants from outside sources depending on the terms of the sponsorship or grant. Review the Administrative Policy: Classifying and Recording Sponsorships for University Hosted Events/Activities or the Gift, Grant or External Sales Classification job aid (PDF) to determine next steps based on the terms of the sponsorship or grant.

  8. Each year we get $20,000 from several corporations to belong to our corporate affiliates program. It allows them to interview graduate students first, send three people to our annual conference, and get advance releases of articles and theses. Do these funds need to be sent to a recognized Foundation?

    No, these are considered by the University to be memberships or consortiums and should be processed through the University as an external sale or sponsored project.

  9. A company gives the University $5,000 to pay for a summer internship for a graduate student. The student works at the corporation and earns $4,000 over the summer. Should any part of this $5,000 be considered a gift?

    No, this is not a gift as the company is receiving services in return for the funds. The money should be deposited to a University EFS ChartField String and the person should be paid on the University payroll unless approved otherwise by Payroll Services.

  10. Our department Head received $10,000 from a corporation to have three faculty members review a proposal for the development of a new product. A four-page written report was produced. Should these funds be sent to a recognized Foundation?

    This is not a gift. Before any agreement is signed, contact SPA to determine if this is a sponsored project or is a fee for services (external sale).

  11. Do all federal grants regardless of size need to be reported to SPA?

    All sponsored projects (grants, projects, sponsored agreements) except directly awarded fellowships should be processed by SPA regardless of size. However, University personnel who consult for the federal government should do so as private individuals, not as agents of the University of Minnesota. Such personal transactions should be between the individual and the federal department or agency.

  12. Board of Regents Policy: Foundations states that the University of Minnesota Foundation and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Foundation are the recognized foundations for receiving gifts to the University. Where should I deposit gifts directed to an existing University endowment account established within the University system?

    Please contact the University of Minnesota Foundation to discuss how it may be possible for the Foundations to accept the donations and direct them to be deposited in the University endowment.

  13. A Donor contacted me and needs a W-9 form, which W-9 should I send?

    Please contact the appropriate Foundation for instructions. It is important to understand where the funds will be going (University or a Foundation) prior to sending or completing a W-9 form. The Foundations and the University have different Tax IDs and remittance addresses and it is important that the correct information is provided to the donor based on the reason for the W-9 request.