Processing Gifts

Is it a gift?

The differences between a gift and a grant can sometimes be subtle but each is processed differently. Grants and contracts are processed by SPA while gifts are processed by the appropriate foundation and reported by the University of Minnesota Foundation. See the Definitions section of the policy for more information about the differences between gifts, grants and contracts. When SPA receives a grant for review, the reviewer will process it according to SPA guidelines if it is a grant. If it is more appropriately classified as a gift, SPA must forward it to the appropriate foundation. If there is a question whether or not this is a gift or grant, or which foundation is appropriate, call the University of Minnesota Foundation at 612-624-3333.

What kind of gift?

Gifts can be given to the University in the form of cash (including memorial, honorarium and matching gifts), securities, real estate, equipment, supplies, collectibles, personal property, intangibles, deferred trusts & annuities, pledges, etc.

All checks, money orders or transfers should be made out to the appropriate foundation. Avoid accepting currency. If it is necessary to accept currency, provide the donor with a receipt and contact the appropriate recognized foundation.

University of Minnesota Foundation accepts gifts for all colleges. Gifts designated for the 4H Foundation and Minnesota Landscape Arboretum should be directed appropriately.

Submitting Gifts to the University of Minnesota Foundation

  1. Complete an online Gift Transmittal (*requires access to DMS)
  2. Attach check and appropriate supporting documentation to the transmittal. (New Gift/Pledge Form, Statement of Donor Intent, envelopes etc.).
  3. Ensure that the donor's intentions are recorded on the transmittal or included in an attached letter.
  4. Follow the instructions on the transmittal, and send all documents to:

    University of Minnesota Foundation
    PO Box 860266
    Saint Paul, MN 55486-0266

  5. Checks should be payable to the University of Minnesota Foundation. DO NOT ENDORSE CHECKS or hold them for more than 24 hours.

*If you do not have access to DMS, go to and complete the access request form or contact the University of Minnesota Foundation at 612-624-3333.

Recording Cash to Other Foundations

Special transmittal forms have been developed for both cash and non-cash gifts. When completed, these forms contain the information needed to process a gift.

If the gift is cash:

  1. Compile information on the donor, gift and donor's intended use.
  2. Attach appropriate forms and supporting documentation to the gift
  3. Ensure that the donor's intentions are legibly recorded or included in an attached letter.
  4. Retain a copy of all documents, including checks, for your records.
  5. Checks should be payable to the appropriate Foundation. DO NOT ENDORSE CHECKS. Cash should be hand-delivered to the University of Minnesota Foundation.

Recording Non Cash to Other Foundations

If the gift is securities, real estate or personal property:

  1. Contact the appropriate foundation.

It is important to do this immediately due to fluctuations or sudden changes in the value of securities and real estate.

Accepting and Approving Gifts

  1. The appropriate recognized foundation will review the transmittal forms and associated information to see if the gift meets the University’s criteria and if further approvals or appraisals are needed.
    1. The University and foundations will not accept:
      1. Gifts which obligate them to break the law or other University policies.
      2. Gifts which limit, beyond a general description of the subject area, the research or work of a faculty member, staff member, or student.
      3. Gifts which inhibit them from seeking gifts from other donors, be they similar or different, foreign or domestic.
      4. Gifts that expose the University to potential environmental liability.
      5. Real estate subject to debt exceeding 50% of its value.
    2. The foundation will require appraisals on non-cash gifts and must have appraisals that are accurate, reasonable and certifiable.
    3. Gifts of real estate must have an environmental evaluation of the donated property.
  2. Gifts that meet the criteria must be approved by:
    1. the Real Estate Office (if gifts of real estate to the University).
    2. the appropriate foundation, if the real estate is given to a particular foundation.
    3. the appropriate recognized foundation (all other gifts).
    4. further approval may be required by the Board of Regents.
  3. The University of Minnesota Foundation will flag gifts that fall outside of the criteria specified above, and conduct a follow-up with the department to determine next steps.

Note that gift transmittals that lack necessary attachment may be held up for approval.

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