2200 Gifts to the University

Responsible Official: 
Controller
Responsible Office: 
Finance
Effective Date: 
November 1, 2000
Revision Date: 
December 14, 2021

Policy Sections

2200.1 Solicitation of Gifts

2200.2 Receipt of Gifts

2200.3 Valuation of Gifts

2200.4 Acknowledgement of Gifts

2200.5 Gifts from Yale Employees

2200.6 Administration of Gifts

2200.7 Quality Assurance

2200.8 Tax Matters

Scope

This policy covers the rules, expectations, and processes applicable to contributions made to the University, including the solicitation, acceptance, transmission, recording, acknowledgement, management, reporting and disposition of Gifts.  This policy applies to all University units (i.e., schools, departments, units, or other organizational entities) and individuals involved in the processes applicable to Gifts.

This policy does not apply to sponsored awards.  Procedure 1304 PR.02 Distinguishing Between Gifts and Sponsored Awards discusses the distinction between Gifts and sponsored awards.

Policy Statement

Yale only accepts Gifts that can be administered compatibly with applicable federal and state laws and regulations, the University’s mission and policies, and the donor’s stated intentions.  University units and individuals involved in the processes applicable to Gifts must perform their responsibilities in a manner consistent with applicable laws and regulations, the University’s mission and policies, and the donor’s stated intentions.

University units and individuals involved in the financial management of Gifts must adhere to the requirements of Policy 2100 Revenue Principles, General applicable to Gifts.

Reason for the Policy

This policy seeks to ensure that Gifts to the University are properly received, recorded, and administered using appropriate internal controls and financial business practices, and that the University’s acceptance and management of Gifts are in compliance with external regulations and the University’s fiduciary obligations to donors.

Definitions

Endowment Gift

A Gift that requires the corpus of the Gift to be held in perpetuity, and that permits the expenditure of a portion of the investment return on that corpus in accordance with the University’s endowment spending policy (see Gift Policies).

Gift

A voluntary transfer of property made without consideration.  A Gift may or may not be restricted as to its use.

Gift-in-Kind

A Gift to be used in the form in which it was given, such as works of art, books, and equipment.

Non-Cash Gift

A Gift that is readily sold, such as securities (e.g., stocks and bonds), real estate, and salable personal property.

Pledge

A written statement of promise by a donor to give a Gift to the University.

Spendable Gift

A Gift that should be spent in its entirety.

Policy Sections

2200.1 Solicitation of Gifts

The Office of Development, including its affiliated offices embedded in certain schools and departments, is responsible for soliciting Gifts from donors on behalf of the University.  Units and individuals outside the Office of Development are expected to coordinate in advance with their appropriate Office of Development contact(s) for all Gift solicitation activities.

2200.2 Receipt of Gifts

Yale only accepts Gifts that can be administered compatibly with applicable laws and regulations, the University’s mission and policies, and the donor’s stated intentions.  Authority to accept Gifts on behalf of the University rests with the Vice President for Alumni Affairs & Development.  The Vice President for Alumni Affairs & Development (or designee) consults with other offices (e.g., Provost’s Office, Office of General Counsel), as appropriate, in determining whether to accept a Gift.

The Office of Development or the director (or equivalent) of the receiving collection/department must fully review all non-standard contributions before acceptance.  Non-standard Gifts that may expose the University to liability or that obligate the University must also have legal review by Office of General Counsel.

The Office of Development is the University’s preferred receiver of Gifts.  Yale strongly discourages receipt of Gifts by units and individuals outside the Office of Development.  In the event a University unit or individual outside the Office of Development receives a Gift, they must do so in accordance with Procedure 2200 PR.01 Gift Receipt and Processing.

2200.3 Valuation of Gifts

Yale assigns a value to all Non-Cash Gifts it receives for internal financial reporting purposes.  The Director of Special Assets assigns such values according to guidelines established by the Controller’s Office.  The Controller’s Office performs quality assurance on Gift valuation to verify the value that is ultimately recorded once the Non-Cash Gift is liquidated and available for expenditure or investment.

Yale does not assign a value for internal financial reporting purposes for Gifts-in-Kind.

The Office of Development records contributions receivable/pledge(s), pledge payments, and adjustments according to guidelines established by the Controller’s Office.  The Office of Development issues installment reminders and performs collection efforts, as may be appropriate.

2200.4 Acknowledgement of Gifts

Contribution Processing, a unit within Gift and Record Services (hereinafter, “Contribution Processing”), acknowledges Gifts on Yale’s behalf, by sending a contemporaneous written acknowledgment to the donor.  Accordingly, in the event a University unit or individual outside the Office of Development receives a Gift, they must immediately forward all pertinent Gift information to Contribution Processing, in accordance with Procedure 2200 PR.01 Gift Receipt and Processing.

The contemporaneous written acknowledgment issued by Contribution Processing satisfies the IRS substantiation requirement for contributions with a value of $250 or greater. 

The IRS also requires the University to provide a written disclosure statement to donors of a quid pro quo contribution in excess of $75.  A quid pro quo contribution is a payment made to a charity by a donor partly as a contribution and partly for goods and services provided to the donor by the University.

  • Example: if a donor gives a charity $100 and receives a concert ticket valued at $40, the donor has made a quid pro quo contribution.  In this example, the charitable contribution portion of the payment is $60.  Even though the part of the payment available for deduction does not exceed $75, a disclosure statement must be filed because the donor’s payment (quid pro quo contribution) exceeds $75.

Deans, department chairs, lead administrators, and other individuals with an interest in a Gift are encouraged to thank donors directly.

2200.5 Gifts from Yale Employees

Yale employees and members of their immediate families (i.e., spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, or sibling) may make tax-deductible Gifts to the University only when the following three conditions are met:

  • The employee has no direct control over the use of the Gift;
  • The Gift is not directed for the use or benefit of any specific individual; and
  • Neither the employee nor his/her immediate family members will derive any personal benefit (direct or indirect) from the use of the Gift.

Gifts exceeding $25,000 require a written Gift agreement and prior approval by the applicable department chair, dean, and the Vice President for Alumni Affairs & Development.  In certain circumstances, Yale may also require approval by the Provost.

Gifts made by Yale employees or members of their immediate families that do not meet the three criteria described above require prior approval by the applicable department chair and dean.  In certain circumstances, Yale may also require approval by the Provost.  These Gifts may be subject to additional oversight and limitations.

Yale employees and members of their immediate families making a Gift to Yale must do so in accordance with Procedure 2200 PR.01 Gift Receipt and Processing.

2200.6 Administration of Gifts

Gift Administration is responsible for setting up all new Gifts, assigning the appropriate purpose codes, and codifying the restrictions so that beneficiary units can administer the Gift in compliance with donor restrictions.  Gifts are classified as either Endowment Gifts or Spendable Gifts (which include Plant Fund Gifts that support the construction of new buildings and/or renovations of existing buildings).  The Provost (or designee) alone has the authority to assign Gifts that benefit a centrally-supported unit, including their recovery method (i.e., “direct charge” or “auto-recovery”).  For Gifts that benefit self-support units, the applicable Dean (or designee) is responsible for assigning Gifts and their recovery method (i.e., “direct charge” or “auto-recovery”).

Gift Administration monitors central Gifts for compliance with donor restrictions and serves as an expert resource to units regarding the appropriate use of their Gifts.  If necessary, Gift Administration consults with the Office of General Counsel.

University units and individuals involved in the administration of Gifts must do so in a manner consistent with applicable laws and regulations, the University’s mission and policies, and the donor’s restrictions.  Yale units and individuals involved in the administration of Gifts must administer Gifts in accordance with Procedure 2200 PR.02 Gift Stewardship.

2200.7 Quality Assurance

Contribution Processing maintains original Gift documentation in accordance with Policy 1105 Retention of University Financial Records.  Accordingly, in the event a University unit or individual outside the Office of Development receives a Gift, they must forward all original Gift documentation to Contribution Processing.

Yale units and individuals involved in the processes applicable to Gifts must adhere to the accounting and quality assurance principles described in Procedure 2200 PR.02 Gift Stewardship.

2200.8 Tax Matters

Yale University is a tax-exempt organization under Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3).  Yale is eligible under IRC §§ 170(c), 2055, and 2522 to accept contributions that are tax-deductible by donors for income, estate, and Gift tax purposes. 

In certain cases, a donor may request the University to complete an IRS form to acknowledge receipt of a non-cash contribution.  The University is not responsible for assigning or agreeing to a value, but merely for confirming receipt of the property.  The University is required to report to the IRS if it sells or disposes of noncash property within three years after the date of receipt.  In certain cases, and based on the nature of the Non-Cash Gift and holding, the University may be responsible for filing additional IRS forms.  Contribution Processing is responsible for monitoring and complying with these requirements.

The University is required to comply with federal and/or state disclosure or reporting requirements related to Gifts.

Yale does not provide tax advice to donors.  

Special Situations & Exceptions

Requests for exceptions to this policy must be approved as follows:

  • Exceptions regarding the appropriateness of Gifts and Gift vehicles require prior approval by the Vice President for Alumni Affairs & Development, who may also consult with the President, the Provost, or the Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer;
  • Exceptions regarding Gift valuation require prior approval by the Controller’s Office; and
  • Exceptions regarding standard Gift terms require prior approval by the Vice President for Alumni Affairs & Development, who may also consult with the Provost or the Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer, as appropriate.

Roles & Responsibilities

Controller’s Office

  • Develops guidelines for Gift valuation, including valuation of pledge receivables.
  • Performs quality assurance on valuation of Gifts and pledge receivables, per Section 2200.3, above.
  • Reviews and, as appropriate, approves exception requests regarding Gift valuation.
  • Responsible for ensuring federal and state Gift reporting/disclosure requirements (e.g., foreign Gift reporting) are satisfied, including compliance with Policy 1107 Reporting Foreign Gifts and Contracts.

Contribution Processing, a unit within Gift and Records Services

  • Records cash Gifts according to guidelines established by the Controller’s Office.
  • Prepares and sends contemporaneous Gift acknowledgments, including statements for quid pro quo contributions, to donors
  • Maintains original Gift documentation in accordance with Policy 1105 Retention of University Financial Records.
  • Responsible for completing IRS Forms 8283 and 8282 and other related tax filings, as appropriate

Dean of Self-Support Unit

  • Assigns Gifts and their recovery method (i.e., “direct charge” or “auto-recovery”) within their beneficiary self-support unit.

Department Business Offices

  • Receive Gifts in accordance with Procedure 2200 PR.01 Gift Receipt and Processing.
  • Administer Gifts in accordance with Procedure 2200 PR.02 Gift Stewardship.
  • Forward all original Gift documentation to Contribution Processing

Director of Special Assets

  • Assigns values to Non-Cash Gifts according to guidelines established by the Controller’s Office.

Gift Administration

  • Sets up new Gifts and assigns them to the beneficiary unit, as directed by the Provost.
  • Monitors central Gifts for compliance with applicable laws and donor restrictions.
  • Serves as an expert resource to units regarding the appropriate use of their Gifts.

Investment Accounting

  • Records the valuation of Non-Cash Gifts in the General Ledger, per valuation from the Director of Special Assets.

Office of General Counsel

  • Advises on the legal aspects of accepting Gifts.
  • Advises of the use of Gifts to ensure they are administered in accordance with donor restrictions.

Office of Development

  • Solicits Gifts on behalf of the University.
  • Records all Gifts to the University, issues Gift receipts, and is responsible for the production of stewardship reports as may be required by Gift agreement.
  • Records Gift pledge receivables, pledge payments and adjustments, and performs collection efforts as may be appropriate.

Provost

  • Assigns Gifts and their recovery method (i.e., “direct charge” or “auto-recovery”) to beneficiary centrally supported units.
  • Designates the purposes for which any unrestricted Gifts may be used.

Vice President for Alumni Affairs & Development

  • Responsible for the general oversight of Gifts to the University.
  • In consultation with the Provost’s Office and other offices, as appropriate, determines whether to accept Gifts.