Gift Acceptance, Management and Disposition

Effective Date Jan 18, 2018


In keeping with the objectives of Florida Institute of Technology, the following guidelines regarding gifts to the University were adopted on [8-30-2017] and last modified on [8-30-2017].

Charitable donations help ensure that Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) maintains and builds upon its reputation for excellence in higher education and allow the University to fund programs, scholarships, fellowships, professorships, research and facilities in furtherance of the overall mission.

The term “gifts” will be used to define all charitable donations, including gifts from private individuals, organizations and corporations and all grants from charitable foundations as defined by IRS regulations.

This policy governs both the acceptance of unsolicited gifts and the proposal or solicitation of a gift by staff or faculty of FIT.

All gifts must be accepted by FIT to ensure that they are appropriate to the mission and needs of the University and impose no undue financial, legal, or other risks or burdens on the University. The university is committed to honoring donor intent for every gift. Consequently, the University reserves the right to decline gifts which are too restrictive in purpose, create undue risk, are too difficult to administer, or are for purposes outside of its mission.

The President has ultimate approval authority for accepting gifts and has sole authority for creating exceptions to these guidelines. The Vice President for Development has general authority to accept gifts, providing they meet the guidelines defined below. Any gifts requiring special commitments on the part of any other department, must also be verified by the Dean or Vice President of that Department and any of these above $250,000 must be approved by the President. Gift acceptance is indicated by the provision of a receipt or acknowledgment to the donor constituting their documentation for tax purposes. Regular gifts are routinely accepted by FIT by the Development Office gift processor.

Types of Gifts

  • Outright gifts that are current and irrevocable (assignment of income; cash, checks and credit cards; securities – privately traded stocks; securities – publicly traded stocks; publicly traded bonds; mutual funds; partnership interests; real property; tangible personal property; intellectual property; life insurance; retirement plan distributions
  • Matching gifts) (it is a charitable donation by a corporation that matches an employee's donation, where employee only gets soft credit of that gift in Development database)
  • Gifts-in-Kind (Goods that are either liquidated to cash or used by the University as if purchased)
  • Partial Interest gifts (gift subject to life estate or a remainder interest in a home/farm; transfer of an undivided interest in an asset; bargain sales/deep discounts; oil, gas, water and mineral interests; timber; and qualified conservation contributions);
  • Split-Interest gifts (charitable remainder trusts; charitable gift annuity; pooled income fund; and charitable lead trust):
  • Deferred gifts (bequests; life insurance beneficiary designations; retirement plan beneficiary designations; and payable-on-death/transfer-on-death forms);
  • Commitments (pledges; statements of intent); and
  • Gifts with Associated Benefits

To qualify as a gift to Florida Institute of Technology, the following conditions must be met:

  • The transfer of cash or other assets must be unconditional;
  • The gift does not create a conflict of interest
  • The transfer must be in furtherance of FIT’s charitable mission and does not jeopardize the University’s tax-exempt status; and,
  • The transfer must be non-reciprocal
    • No implicit or explicit statement of exchange, purchase of services, or provision of exclusive information to the donor in exchange for his or her gift.
    • Acceptable if benefits to the donor are incidental, tangential, and indirect as described by Case Standards.
    • And must be in compliance with Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, and other federal statutes and regulations.


Donors may contribute real estate, property, or other goods or materials for use by the University. All gifts-in-kind must be reviewed by the Vice President of Development due to the special obligations raised and possible liabilities they may pose. Gifts-in-Kind over $5,000 must also have the approval of the Finance Office.

Prior to accepting a gift-in-kind, the Vice President must evaluate the following criteria:

  • Can the gifted item be sold? As a general rule, real estate and other goods that can be liquidated should be liquidated as soon as practical
  • Does the gifted item qualify as a budget relieving gift?
  • Does the gift represent an acceptable budget additive purpose? If so, then approval from the Dean, CFO, President, or other appropriate leader is required to accept.
    • Such gifts-in-Kind, if valued above $250,000, must have approval from the President.
  • Gifts-in-Kind otherwise follow CASE Standards for donor recognition and fundraising credit.

Gifts-in-Kind are to be recorded at Fair Market Value (FMV). If FMV is not available, the University may provide an estimate. If no FMV or estimate is provided, a Gift-in-Kind may be recorded as a $1 contribution.

Stock/Securities Gifts

  • The university broker (Wells Fargo) will liquidate gifts within three business days. The value of the gift is determined and recorded as the value on the date received.


Pledges of up to five years may be accepted for major gifts of $10,000 or more. Exceptions below this may be made by the Vice President of Development. Exceptions for extraordinary gifts may be made with the approval of the President. For example, the University may wish to accept a $10 million pledge payable over ten years.

In keeping with IRS rules, matching gifts may not be pledged or used to fulfill a pledge.

An exception to the above is routinely made for Bequests. Please see below for further information.

Bequests, Estates, Life Income, Life Insurance

As noted, bequests are indefinitely long pledges that are routinely accepted. The reasons for this exception include the desire to; (1) recognize donors during their lifetime; (2) celebrate and encourage bequest giving from others; (3) formalize the pledge to strongly discourage changes; (4) ensure that documentation is provided so that wording can be clarified if needed and avoid unresolvable confusion regarding the intent later.

If a gift is received from a donor after their death, the University will work with the executor and/or family regarding gift acceptance. Gift restrictions will be subject to the same acceptance process as other gifts.

From time-to-time family will express a desired restriction for an estate gift that is not part of the will or otherwise indicated by the deceased. The University may consider honoring this so long as it does not undermine the known desires of the donor.

If the University receives an unrestricted major gift through a donor’s will, it does not have to presume the gift is expendable. The University may wish to consider utilizing the gift for an endowment or facility naming in order to honor the donor’s memory. This will require approval by the President. The Vice President for Development may recommend programs based on the donor’s known interests, career, history of giving, or other evidence of their personal areas of interest.

In order to record an estate gift, the University must receive:

  • A copy of the will (or the portion needed) indicating the amount of the Estate committed to FIT.
  • If the will states a percentage of the estate designated to FIT, then it should be accompanied by a written statement of the good-faith estimated amount this percentage would be.
  • The President may approve if a donor alternatively provides a signed letter of gift indicating that their will designates a specific amount to be given to FIT.

The University may accept a gift of life insurance provided that the policy has a positive cash surrender value and the University has been named both beneficiary and irrevocable owner of the policy. The minimum age of the donor shall be 45 years at the start of the policy coverage.
Estate gifts for endowments must meet the minimum required level for an endowment at the time the estate was documented.

Endowment Gifts

Endowment agreements must include the following provisions

  1. The gift amount and date of gift
  2. The detailed explanation of how the endowment will be managed and the funding implemented, including the date it will be launched. Wouldn’t we just refer to an endowment policy
  3. The name of the fund and how the naming will be publicly treated. For example, “The John A. and Mary C. Smith Scholarship Fund” and recipients will be named "John and Mary Smith Scholars"
  4. A complete and detailed expression of the donor's intent and purpose for establishing the fund and provision that allows the University to use the funds for the nearest purpose possible if the stated purpose can no longer practically be implemented. If no such statement is included in a gift agreement, it will be presumed unless otherwise stated.
  5. Any commitments for stewardship.
  6. Permission to publicize the gift, including in print, news, and social media.
  7. Signatures with dates. Include the donor and signers for the University authorized to accept the gift, typically the VP for Development.

The typical practice is to provide the donor with two copies of the letter of gift (or gift agreement) and to request that they sign first. When returned the authorized signer for FIT will sign and one original is mailed back to the donor with the second kept for our records. In the case of more complex gift agreements, a “memo of understanding” may be attached to provide details of the fund.

The minimum gift to establish a new endowment or to name an endowment is $25,000. Gifts less than that may be used for general or other existing endowments.

Holding Accounts—Post Gift Designations

From time-to-time, the University may accept a gift that the donor intends to restrict or designate later. The documentation of this gift should include language that the ultimate restriction or designation must be within the scope of the University’s mission and other aspects of this gift acceptance policy and that it is, in good faith, not refundable. Such gifts should be maintained in an appropriate holding account. Only if the gift is non-refundable may it count for fundraising in that year. If a donor does not designate the use of a fund within a reasonable time, the university will, with notice to the donor, make the fund available for unrestricted uses.

Fundraising Campaigns

In order to protect FIT’s gift acceptance authorization responsibility, no department or program may launch or implement a fundraising campaign for the University without the agreement of the Vice President of Development.

Fundraising consultants, firms, or agents must be approved for hire by the Vice President for Development prior to working on behalf of any college, center, program, or other University entity.

Funding Facilities

Gifts in support of construction should not be accepted until after the University is committed to the construction of the facility. It is preferred that contingent pledges be secured prior to this unless the donor accepts that the gift may be used for other purposes.

While most pledges are non-binding, pledges for construction may create a reliance obligation on a donor to complete their pledge. For this reason, great care should be taken before beginning construction that is dependent on a donor’s pledge.

Funding Research

Gifts and grants in support of research will be subject to management and oversight from the Office of Research according to that office’s policies. For this reason, the Office of Research must be part of the gift acceptance process for any gifts and grants involving deliverables.

Physical Acceptance of Funds

Staff, faculty, coaches or other FIT employees must physically transmit to the Development Office checks, cash or other gifts given to FIT within 24 hours of receipt. Development or other staff who are traveling must do so at the earliest convenience and should consider express mail if they will be away more than three days.

Development staff must store checks in a safe until the earliest possible date when they can be deposited.

All gifts must be sent to Development. Development will accept, deposit, receipt and acknowledge all gifts in accordance with IRS policies and the documented wishes of the donor. No other department should attempt to receipt a gift prior to this. A gift may be acknowledged by others, but not before Development has been notified and accepted the gift.

Gifts from Faculty and Staff

Faculty and staff gifts may not be restricted to accounts that the donor manages. However, faculty and staff may contribute to their own department or even their own research, so long as someone else has control of the funds and provided the donor does not benefit personally. For example, a donor may not fund their own travel or professional development.

Administration of Gifts

The Finance Office will record all gifts accepted in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, policies, laws and regulations that guide their department.

The development office will “count” for purposes of gift credit and fundraising reporting, the value of all philanthropic gifts, adhering to the most current CASE Reporting Standards & Management Guidelines for Educational Fundraising. This includes following accepted practices for valuation (or deferring to the donor to seek their own counsel for valuation of gifts used for tax deductions).

All philanthropy to the University will be counted for internal or external annual fundraising or campaign reporting. However, the Development Office must clearly distinguish between current cash value and budget relieving impacts and the future impacts of long-term pledges, deferred gifts, and gifts-in-kind as well as budget additive gifts and grants.

Gifts should not be accepted if they contain contingencies. If a pledge contains a contingency, it may be accepted provisionally, but will not be counted as either revenue or for ift credit until the contingency is met.

Conflict of Interest

While Development staff may discuss the possible tax benefits and other advantages of philanthropic giving, they may not serve as the donor’s financial or legal advisor. Donors who seek or may need such advice should be strongly urged to obtain their own professional counsel to avoid a conflict of interest.

Ethical Commitment

Florida Institute of Technology is committed to ethical fundraising practices. All solicitations on behalf of the University shall comport with the standards in the Donor Bill of Rights, as developed by Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). Donor intentions must always be adhere to. Additionally, all fundraising staff shall adhere to the Model Standards of Practice for the Charitable Gift Planner, as adopted by the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning, when soliciting planned gifts.


Anonymous gifts may be accepted where:

  1. The donor prohibits the University from publishing their name and/or the amount of the gift.
  2. The donor wishes to restrict awareness of the donor’s name to the gift processor, the Vice President of Development and the President. To protect the University, and its reputation, no gift should be accepted without the President’s knowledge of the donor’s identity.

Processes for Securing Gift Acceptance Procedure

  • Standard gifts or responses to annual or special appeals may be accepted by deposit and acknowledgment through the gift processor.
  • Major gift officers should, whenever practical, obtain appropriate approval from the Vice President for Development for any new major gift proposal prior to its presentation to a donor.
    • All proposals should be signed by the Vice President or the President of the University.
    • All proposals that involve commitments for management outside of regular practices should also be signed by the Sr. VP Finance/CFO.
    • All proposals that involve commitments on the part of other units may be either signed by the Dean or appropriate faculty or staff leader, or have official agreement for the project details attached for the files.
  • Some private foundation grants may be applied for and accepted without the VP for Development’s approval provided they obtain appropriate approvals through the Office of Sponsored Programs.
    • All faculty grants must be reported for counting purposes.
    • We do not count any contracts or government grants, even if development staff assist.
  • Gifts-in-kind are deemed accepted after the appropriate approvals are secured, documents are completed, and the gift is booked in the database for reporting purposes.

Writing off a Commitment

If a donor has pledged and either expresses that they will not fulfill their pledge, or by their actions appears that they will not, the Sr. VP Finance /CFO may approve writing off the commitment. The President must be consulted on large gifts written off.

The University is committed to honoring all donor designations and is prepared to return gifts where it, for whatever reason, cannot.

Contact Information
Subject ContactPhoneEmail
Policy Owner Gary Grant 321-674-6160

Revision History

Ali Faisal/Gary Grant            8-30-2017