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 acknowledgement 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
To qualify as a gift to Florida Institute of Technology, the following conditions must be met:
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:
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.
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:
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 agreements must include the following provisions
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Processes for Securing Gift Acceptance Procedure
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.
|Policy Owner||Gary Grantfirstname.lastname@example.org|