The Catholic University of America

Gift Acceptance Policy

Archived 4/6/17

I. Introduction

The Office of Institutional Advancement seeks to further the mission of The Catholic University of America through the solicitation, acceptance, and administration of gifts of various kinds. In pursuing and facilitating such gifts, the Office of Institutional Advancement shall maximize the benefit to CUA by acting in accordance with the policies established herein, and shall foster and steward relations so as to make the experience of donors and prospective donors as pleasant and rewarding as possible. 

II. General Policies

  1. The Office of Institutional Advancement is composed of the offices listed and defined below:
    1. Office of Development - the Office of Development seeks to further the University's mission through fundraising, as pursued in accordance with the policies contained herein.
    2. Office of Development Services - the Office of Development Services assists the Office of Development, as well as other University offices, through the management and distribution of data, and through the appropriate receipt and administration of gifts received. The policies of this specific office are outlined in Development Services Policies.
  2. All fundraising programs shall be conducted in a manner that does not conflict with any academic or administrative policies, and that protects the interests of The Catholic University of America University ("the University"). Concurrently, the interests of each donor shall be protected, and the University shall not knowingly enter any arrangement which would jeopardize the donor's interest or contradict the donor's intent. In accordance with the Philanthropy Protection Act of 1995, all staff members of the Office of Institutional Advancement are salaried, and shall not receive commissions or any incentive of personal benefit in any gift arrangement.
  3. In accepting gifts which clearly fall within the Gift Acceptance Policies, the Vice President of Institutional Advancement, and his or her designees, shall endeavor to protect the interests of both the donor and the University by consulting with other University offices where appropriate and as stated in the Gift Processing Procedures. Gift Acceptance Policies is created in conjunction with the Gift Processing Procedures, which governs gift administration for the Office of Institutional Advancement. The former document will make reference to the latter where appropriate.
  4. A Gift Acceptance Committee (GAC) shall be relied upon to evaluate proposed gifts which do not clearly fall within the Gift Acceptance Policies, but which do merit consideration and further clarification. Determination of which proposals warrant review by the GAC, and determination of the composition of the GAC in each particular case, shall be made at the discretion of the Vice President of Institutional Advancement or his or her designees, except for certain assets which as noted herein shall be subject to GAC review as a matter of policy. The GAC shall operate as outlined in Gift Processing Procedures.
  5. Gifts currently accepted by appropriate University employees, as defined in Gift Acceptance Policies and Gift Processing Procedures, and explanatory details regarding their administration, are listed below and in other referenced policies and procedures. Limitations, restrictions, and minimum amounts are included, where appropriate, in the explanation of the particular vehicle. Such guidelines have been established based upon current University resources and needs, and current economic conditions, and do not account for specific circumstances which may justify deviation through approval of the Gift Acceptance Committee.
  6. The Vice President for Institutional Advancement, and by extension staff members of the Office of Institutional Advancement, shall, to the extent appropriate and legal, provide prospective donors with information regarding the benefits and limitations of proposed gifts. All such disclosures shall be in compliance with University policies, and with the Philanthropy Protection Act of 1995. Donors shall be advised to seek independent tax counsel with regard to their proposed and executed gifts.
  7. All University employees engaged in development activities shall make every effort to hold in confidence all information obtained from or about donors or prospects. Information about a gift shall not be published without the prior approval of the donor and where relevant, the donor's representative.
  8. The Office of Institutional Advancement, in the management and reporting of gifts to the University, shall be guided by the standards of accounting and reporting established by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), as printed in the "Case Management Reporting Standards for Annual Giving and Campaigns in Educational Fundraising." Annual fundraising reports, produced by the Office of Development Services, shall report total fundraising on a cash basis, shall conform to the format used in the Council for Aid to Education's annual Survey of Voluntary Support of Education (VSE), and shall be reconciled with University accounting totals as approved by the Vice President for Finance and Administration. The Office of Institutional Advancement shall operate on the University's fiscal year, and shall prepare subtotals on a quarterly basis, which the Vice President for Institutional Advancement shall use to report to the President and the Board of Trustees regarding the types and amounts of gifts accepted by the University.
  9. The guidelines herein contained shall be subject to periodic review, and may be amended as necessary. Such review and amendments shall be initiated at the discretion of the Vice President for Institutional Advancement or his or her designees, and final approval of such amendments shall be obtained in accordance with the University Policy on Policies.

III. Gift Acceptance

  1. Authority to accept or refuse gifts offered to CUA shall lie with the President of the University, the Vice President of Institutional Advancement, or the designees of either, as detailed in Gift Processing Procedures.
  2. Prohibited Gifts - the University, through its authorized employees as defined in Gift Acceptance Policies and Gift Processing Procedures, reserves the right not to accept a proposed gift for reasons including, but not limited to, the following:
    1. the gift or gift transaction involves an illegality
    2. the gift or gift transaction in some manner conflicts with University policies or with the University's mission
    3. the benefit of the gift is outweighed by the potential of negative publicity for the University that would result from the transaction
    4. the gift or gift transaction inhibits the University from seeking gifts from other donors
    5. the benefit of the gift is insufficient to offset the extent of administrative and/or legal effort involved in its acceptance.
  3. Accepted Gifts - while the University reserves the right to decline any gift at its discretion, the following gifts may be accepted, by authorized employees as defined in Gift Acceptance Policies and Gift Processing Procedures, if they fall within University policy as described more fully below:
    1. Cash
    2. Marketable securities which are traded on a public stock exchange.
    3. Real Property, where acceptance is deemed in the best interest of the University by the GAC, as comprised for that purpose. Acceptance of real estate is considered in light of the University's aims to liquidate such property as soon as possible and to avoid carrying costs and extensive liquidation expenses. In addition, the process of negotiating, accepting, and administering gifts of real estate shall be dealt with as outlined in Gift Processing Procedures.
    4. Tangible Personal Property, where acceptance is deemed in the best interest of the University by the GAC, as comprised for that purpose. Acceptance of tangible personal property is considered in light of the University's aims to either identify a specific use for, or to liquidate such property, as soon as possible, and to avoid carrying costs and extensive liquidation expenses. Acceptance and administration of the various types of tangible personal property is detailed in Gift Processing Procedures.
    5. Intangible Property, where acceptance is deemed in the best interest of the University by the GAC, as comprised for that purpose. Acceptance of intangible property is considered in light of the University's aims to liquidate such property as soon as possible and to avoid carrying costs and extensive liquidation expenses. Acceptance and administration of the various types of intangible property is detailed in Gift Processing Procedures. All gifts accepted by CUA shall be acknowledged in accordance with the Internal Revenue Code charitable substantiation provisions, and details of receipt, acknowledgement, and processing of such gifts is detailed in Gift Processing Procedures. Where the costs of administration appear to exceed the benefit of gift acceptance, Office of Institutional Advancement staff members may, if appropriate, encourage the donor to dispose of the asset independently and donate the proceeds to CUA.

IV. Giving Channels

  1. Annual Operating Gifts - an ongoing fundraising endeavor designed to cover the University's current operating expenses such as financial aid, maintenance of the physical plant, and academic resources. The various means through which annual operating gifts are raised, channeled and administered are detailed in Gift Processing
  2. Procedures.
  3. Capital Campaign Gifts - an intensive fundraising endeavor, typically of a defined purpose and duration designed to facilitate identified projects or objectives through the attainment of predetermined financial goals. Contributions to capital campaigns are earmarked for the identified project or goal, and examples can include endowments, facility construction or renovation, and equipment acquisition, among other things. The various means through which capital campaign gifts are raised, channeled and measured are detailed in Gift Processing Procedures.
  4. Future Gifts - an ongoing fundraising endeavor designed to facilitate gifts of a deferred nature, which will enhance the long terms vision and strategy of the University through future benefits. The various means through which future gifts are raised, channeled and measured are detailed in Gift Processing Procedures, Gift Planning Policies, and Gift Planning Procedures.

V. Giving Opportunities

  1. Non-Endowed Gifts - individual gifts of less than $50,000.00 shall typically be added to the general investments of the University, under which earnings may be utilized at the discretion of the University. Gifts of a lesser amount may also, however, be added to a pre-existing endowed fund, as defined below.
    1. Unrestricted - available for use at the University's discretion.
      1. Archdiocesan collection
      2. The Fund for the Catholic University of America ("The Annual Fund") - the primary component of Annual Giving, which, as noted in IV.A. above, is designed to cover the University's current operating expenses. Administration is handled by the Office of Annual Giving, in conjunction with Development Services, and is detailed in Gift Processing Procedures.
      3. Unrestricted Major Gifts
      4. Unrestricted Memorial Funds - non-endowed Memorial Funds, in honor of a deceased alumnus or friend, shall be directed to the University's General Scholarship Fund, unless otherwise specified by the principal donor and agreed upon by the University.
    2. Restricted - designated for a specific school, department, or purpose
      1. Annual gifts restricted to a specific school or purpose including but not limited to library, memorial, or scholarship funds which do not meet the required minimum for endowed funds, as described below. Any restrictions must be in compliance with federal and local laws.
      2. Major gifts restricted to a specific school, department, or purpose including but not limited to library, memorial, or scholarship funds which do not meet the required minimum for endowed funds, as described below.
  2. Endowed Gifts - the University Endowment is that part of the institution's income derived from donations. The Endowment is composed of a series of endowed funds, established through gifts and named in perpetuity, under which earnings are administered in accordance with the governing terms for that particular fund, typically outlined in a Gift Agreement or legal document. Such terms provide for the use of earnings from the fund for either general or specific purposes, as detailed below:
    1. Unrestricted Endowment Funds - created by gifts donated for the general use of the University, allowing CUA flexibility in allocation. A minimum donation of $50,000.00 or more is required.
    2. Restricted Endowment Funds - created by gifts donated for a school, program, or purpose designated by the donor.
      1. Endowed Library Funds - created by gifts to fund the costs of books or other resources in a particular field or fields, in accordance with procedures established by the Associate Provost, University Libraries or other appropriate University official. A minimum donation of $50,000.00 or more is required.
      2. Endowed Memorial Funds - created by gifts to honor deceased alumni, faculty, students or other persons, and to assist the school, department, or program with which the deceased was affiliated. (An Endowed Memorial Fund may also be an Endowed Scholarship Fund) A minimum donation of $50,000.00 or more is required.
      3. Endowed Scholarships - created by gifts to fund the costs of tuition and fees to students of a particular school or program, in accordance with criteria established by the Office of Financial Aid and the President, Provost, or Dean as appropriate. A minimum donation of $50,000.00 or more is required.
      4. Graduate Fellowships - created by gifts to fund the costs of tuition and fees for graduate and professional students, in accordance with criteria established by the Office of Financial Aid and the President, Provost, or Dean, as appropriate. A minimum donation of $50,000.00 or more is required.
      5. Junior Faculty Endowment Funds - created by gifts made to support members of the faculty at the assistant professor or lecturer level in a given school, resting administrative discretion with the President, Provost, or Dean as appropriate. A minimum donation of $250,000.00 or more is required.
      6. Faculty Benefactor Endowment Funds - created by gifts made to support faculty members at all levels in a given school, resting administrative discretion with the President, Provost, or Dean as appropriate. A minimum donation of $500,000.00 or more is required.
      7. Endowed Chairs (Professorships) - created by gifts made to support and maintain a full professor in a given school, resting administrative discretion with the President, Provost, or Dean as appropriate. A minimum donation of $3,000,000.00 is required.
  3. Matching Gifts - the University accepts gifts from companies which sponsor matching gift programs for their employees or former employees. The categorization of the company gift, in terms of whether it is restricted or unrestricted, annual or capital, and endowed or non-endowed is typically determined by the intent of the gift from the underlying donor/employee. (exceptions may be made to accommodate limitations imposed by the matching gift policies of a particular company).