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Gift Acceptance Guidelines

Date: 10.18.19



Santa Clara University (the “University”) is grateful for the generosity of alumni, parents, friends, and organizations who support our Jesuit educational mission through their philanthropy. Donors are critical partners in advancing institutional priorities to provide a transformative Santa Clara education fashioned by Jesuit social consciousness and ethical character formation.

Santa Clara University is a nonprofit corporation organized under the laws of the State of California and exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. These Gift Acceptance Guidelines (the “Guidelines”) govern the acceptance and disposition of all gifts made to the University and any of its subsidiaries or affiliated organizations, whether such gifts are outright or from an estate. All persons soliciting gifts on behalf of the University are bound by these Guidelines and should consult with the Development Office in University Relations before soliciting gifts.

The purpose of these Guidelines are (1) to provide guidance to prospective donors and their advisors; (2) to ensure that all gifts accepted by the University will help further and fulfill its mission, priorities, and values and comply with IRS regulations and State and Federal law; (3) to prevent acceptance of gifts that may expose the University to liabilities or overly burdensome restrictions; and (4) to clarify that philanthropic gifts accepted in support of and consistent with the University’s mission, priorities, and values in no way represents an express or implied endorsement of the donor or related source of the gift.

The Guidelines have been written to ensure that the entire philanthropic process is mutually beneficial to Santa Clara University and the donor(s) and to ensure that donors are treated in a professional, ethical, and fair manner. Guideline objectives include:

  • guidance for conduct towards donors;
  • guidance regarding gift restrictions and required gift documentation;
  • guidance concerning the types of assets accepted by the University and gift acceptance procedures;
  • guidance when a gift is incompatible with the Santa Clara mission, values, or academic freedom; imposes an undue burden on the University; puts the assets or reputation of the University at risk; and/or gifts that are prohibited by law;
  • guidance for compliance with IRS regulations and acceptable business practices; and
  • guidance for persons involved in gift solicitation, gift recording, and gift management for the University.

These Guidelines do not anticipate all possible gift situations and will be amended periodically. Questions regarding Gift Acceptance Guidelines or particular gift cases should be directed to the Vice President for University Relations.

Companions to these Guidelines include the University’s Gift Agreement Procedures, which govern the creation and execution of formal gift agreements which document the mutual understanding between a donor and the University; and the Santa Clara University Naming Guidelines, which provide general guidelines for the approval of honorific and philanthropic naming opportunities at the University.

I. Conduct Towards Donors

The University encourages gifts through the generosity of donors that further the work of the University and align with donor interests. The University shall strive to provide appropriate information to donors and their advisors and shall seek to meet the needs of donors without pressure or undue influence, maintaining the highest ethical standards in all transactions. The University adheres to the Donor Bill of Rights developed by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), among others:

The University shall not give legal or financial advice to anyone and shall strongly encourage prospective donors to seek their own professional counsel. When communicating with prospective donors, the University may provide information regarding the benefits and limitations with respect to making a gift. The University shall exercise caution in encouraging prospective donors to take action and in providing prospective donors with income projections for specific planned giving vehicles, such as charitable remainder trusts. In encouraging and assisting donors with planned gifts, the University shall follow the Model Standards for the Charitable Gift Planner approved by the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning found in Exhibit A of these Guidelines.

The University shall hold in strict confidence all information regarding donors and prospective donors. Information regarding the donor’s identity, amount, and description of the gift, and special conditions governing the use of the gift shall not be made public if the donor indicates that such information shall remain confidential.

II. Restrictions on Gifts

  1. Charitable Contributions. To qualify as a charitable gift or donation to Santa Clara University, the following conditions must be met:
  • The transfer of cash or other assets must be unconditional, except as defined by the general terms agreed to by the University and the donor regarding the purpose of the gift in an executed gift agreement;
  • The transfer must further Santa Clara’s mission, priorities, and values;
  • Once the University has accepted and received a gift, it must have sole discretion related to the academic, financial, and administrative use of the funds in accordance with original donor intent as outlined in the gift agreement;
  • The transfer must not inhibit the University from seeking gifts from other donors;
  • The transfer must not limit academic freedom and, beyond a general definition of subject area, the educational curriculum or research that a faculty member, staff, or student can perform;
  • The transfer must be non-reciprocal, meaning that there must be 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.

    If a donor receives benefits in return for his or her gift to Santa Clara, the amount of the benefit that he or she receives is deducted from the gift in any receipting, reporting, and gift crediting in accordance with IRS regulations.

  1. Types of Gifts. Subject to the limitations set forth in Part IV below, the University will accept the following types of gifts:

    1. Unrestricted Gifts. The University accepts unrestricted gifts. When unrestricted gifts are received, the President of the University shall determine the direction and use of the gift.

    2. Restricted Gifts. The University will accept a gift restricted for a specific program or purpose, provided that all of the following conditions are met:

      1. The gift is consistent with the University’s mission, priorities, and values.

      2. The gift is written in reasonably broad and flexible terms to maximize its usefulness to the University. Gifts should not be so narrowly restricted as to pose an undue administrative burden on the University; impose limitations inconsistent with the University’s policies, priorities, or projected activities; illegally discriminate or violate jurisdictional law; or result in the administration of funds that cannot easily be used by the University.

      3. The terms of the gift do not limit or interfere with the University’s discretion and use of the donated funds. The terms of a gift interfere with the University’s discretion and use if: (a) the gift is earmarked for the benefit of any specific individual(s); (b) the University would be required to obtain the donor’s approval regarding the specific use of funds; or (c) the gift is subject to a restriction on the University’s ability to use, sell, or otherwise deal with the property as it deems appropriate.

      4. Establishment of new gift funds:

        1. In the process of discussions with a prospective donor(s) about the creation of a new academic or athletic program or position, the Provost or his or her designate and the Dean or other university administrator with budget authority must be consulted prior to the creation of a gift or pledge agreement. For gifts outside of academia, the Vice President with budgetary authority must be consulted.

        2. Restricted gift or pledge agreements requiring the establishment of a new gift fund must be reviewed, prior to sharing with the donor, by the Director of Gift Processing, the Director of Donor Relations, and the Controller’s Office before being accepted by the University to ensure that the terms of the gift agreement are consistent with the University’s mission and can be effectively implemented and maintained. All new Charitable Gift Annuities or Charitable Remainder Trusts, or any new planned gifts, must also be reviewed by the AVP for Development before sharing the gift documentation with the donor.

    3. Anonymous Gifts. The University will not accept completely anonymous gifts. The donor’s identity must be disclosed to the Vice President for University Relations and the President, who shall endeavor to maintain the donor’s anonymity (except upon a request from the University’s Board of Trustees or as required by law). Partially anonymous gifts that maintain a donor’s anonymity for recognition purposes are acceptable.

III. Gift Documentation

The following gift/asset types must be accompanied by an appropriate written gift or pledge agreement that details the purpose, impact, and terms of the gift:

  • Expendable gifts where a new fund must be created
  • Multi-year pledge commitments
  • Gifts raised from multiple donors to create a new fund
  • Endowment gifts
  • Some real or personal property gifts may require a gift agreement, excluding publically traded stocks or bonds for unrestricted purposes. Please consult with Planned Giving.
  • Deferred Gifts
  • Gifts with associated naming opportunities

In accepting a gift, the University also accepts the responsibility to the donor to steward the gift, i.e., administering the gift in accordance with the donor's wishes; providing the donor with appropriate annual financial information about the gift's investment and expenditure; and reporting the actual use of the gift to the donor, unless otherwise requested by the donor.

  1. Gift Agreements. Written gift or pledge agreements should identify or clarify the following matters:
  • Identification of the donor(s) and their relationship to Santa Clara University;

  • Total amount of the gift and associated donor amounts that the donor will give or cause to give;

  • Where appropriate, whether a pledge commitment is intended to be binding on the donor and enforceable against the donor’s estate;

  • Provision of a payment schedule if the commitment will not be paid in full at the time of executing the agreement, and a description of any condition or contingency to payment;

  • For endowment funds, clarification on how the gift will be invested and distributed, including a statement on how unexpended income will be handled;

  • Whether funds are restricted to a specific purpose(s) and whether there are any restrictions around the sale of real or personal property;

  • For naming rights with respect to University facilities, programs or other operations, the gift should be made subject to University policy and the specific name desired by a donor identified, if known;

  • In the case of deferred gifts requiring future reporting, the donor’s designee to receive reports should be identified, if known;

  • Options in the event of inadequate funding to support the stated purpose and/or minimum endowment thresholds;

  • Clarification that gifts donated to support the construction of a long lived (capital) asset will be classified as temporarily restricted based on the donor restriction, pending completion of the capital facility. Should the facility not reach completion, the University will renegotiate the gift restriction with the donor(s).

  • In the case of long-term endowment gifts with a donor deceased or heirs unavailable, clarification on the authority of the Board of Trustees to approve a closely-related purpose if the original purpose becomes obsolete or precluded because of changes in the law or other good cause;

  • Requirements for new, signed agreements in the event original gifts are amended;

  • Authorized signatures of all parties. Where someone signs on behalf of the donor or is making a corporate gift, verification that the person signing is authorized to commit the donor or corporation. General Counsel should be consulted when in doubt, or when a limited partnership or other legal entity may be making the gift.

  1. Gifts Raised from Multiple Donors. A group of donors may decide to coordinate efforts to raise gifts for a specific purpose that requires a minimum funding amount, such as an endowed memorial scholarship. Santa Clara may create a fund that will hold contributions for such purpose, and the terms of the fund will include a date by which the fundraising goal must be met. Each donor who makes a gift to the fund will understand that the gift will only be used for the stated purpose if the goal is met by the deadline, and will provide an alternate use of the gift if the goal is not met.

  2. Historic Documentation. Written gift agreements for endowed funds, capital projects, named commitments, and other gifts requiring historic documentation to preserve the integrity of original donor intent shall be maintained in perpetuity by the Development Office.

IV. Types of Assets Accepted

 The University is authorized to accept the following assets, subject to these Guidelines:

  1. Cash or Cash Equivalents. Cash gifts may take the form of currency, check, money order, or credit card contribution. Cash may be delivered by mail, by private commercial carrier, by hand, by electronic funds transfer (EFT), or by wire transfer.

  2. Charitable Pledges. Promises to make outright gifts to Santa Clara within 5 years based on a defined payment schedule. Any exceptions to the length of the pledge must be approved by the Vice President for University Relations or his or her designate in consultation with the Vice President for Administration and Finance or his or her designate.

  3. Real Property or Real Estate. Real estate should be readily marketable and not expose the University to significant liabilities. Prior to accepting a gift of real estate, the University shall consider such factors as: (1) sale costs and holding costs prior to sale; (2) current and expected future value; (3) encumbrances and title restrictions; and (4) liabilities, including potential environmental issues. As part of this review, the University shall generally require, at the donor’s expense, an independent appraisal of the property’s fair market value, proof of title, as well as a Phase I environmental study to ensure that the property has no environmental damage or other environmental issues that would expose the University to liability. This appraisal will also serve the donor’s need to provide a valuation to the IRS.

    The following steps will generally be taken to inform a written opinion regarding acceptance of the proposed real estate donation by the Vice President for University Relations or his or her designate and the Vice President for Administration and Finance or his or her designate for use by the Gift Acceptance Committee in its review.

    • Obtain a copy of the current deed, any legal descriptions of the property, encumbrances, leases, and current tax bill.

    • Obtain a title report.

    • Inspect the property.

    • Consult with a real estate advisor as to marketability.

    • Obtain an independent, third-party qualified appraisal of the property.

    • Evaluate the costs of maintaining insurance on the property.

    • Copy of Property Insurance Policy.

    • Copy of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R) and Association agreements (if applicable).

    • Copy of Landowner Liability Insurance.

    • Consideration if the property is subject to debt.

    • Consideration if the property is subject to unrelated business income tax.

    • Evaluate the potential for any environmental liabilities. Consult with an environmental engineer or comparable advisor if necessary.

  1. Tangible Personal Property. Tangible personal property is acceptable, provided that the University, at its discretion determines (1) it may practically use the property in carrying out its mission or sell the marketable property to generate revenue; (2) any restrictions on the use, display, or sale of the property; (3) the gift will not entail substantial storage, insurance, or transportation costs; (4) any carrying costs or potential liabilities associated with the ownership of the property; and (5) for gifts with an estimated value of $ 5,000 or more, the donor signs a statement of ownership and assignment, discloses any liens on the property and provides a qualified, independent third-party appraisal of the property. Gifts of this type may include art, furniture, coins, stamps, and vehicles.

    1. Software, Hardware and Equipment. Gifts of software and hardware that have value to the University qualify as a charitable donation under the laws of the appropriate tax authority, and with an established retail value, may be accepted as gifts at the educational discount rate (if one exists) or the fair market value as documented by the donor. Licenses may be counted at the number of licenses required by the area, or at the site license purchase level (if one exists). Software given through corporate/university education programs (or mega gifts of software) where all software is provided to all educational institutions are not considered gifts, however the corporation may receive recognition. Software given for beta testing or with no established fair market value will not be counted as a gift. Maintenance agreements, service agreements or web-based subscriptions are contributed services and not goods, and are therefore not counted as gifts.
  2. Publicly Traded Securities. The University shall promptly sell any contributed securities, unless holding the securities is deemed appropriate by the University’s investment advisors. The University shall determine, prior to accepting securities, whether the securities, in the hands of the University, are in any way restricted as to sale. If there are any legal restrictions on sale, the University will consult with Counsel before accepting the gift.

  3. Intangible Assets That Are Not Publicly Traded. These assets include stock, bonds, debentures, partnership interests, and LLC interests that are not publicly traded, as well as patents, copyrights, royalties, oil, gas or mineral rights, and other intangible assets. Gifts of intangible assets that are not publicly traded are acceptable, provided that the University shall not accept such assets that have an insignificant present value or could expose the University to liabilities, including but not limited to significant carrying costs or negative tax consequences.

    Prior to accepting gifts of intangible assets that are not publicly traded, the Vice President for University Relations or his or her designate, the Vice President for Administration and Finance or his or her designate, and the University General Counsel shall review the proposed gift and consider among others the following factors: (1) the unrelated business income tax consequences of holding the asset; (2) any potential costs or liabilities associated with owning the asset, including any current or potential exposure to environmental liability or cleanup or restoration obligations under relevant law; (3) any transfer restrictions on the asset; and (4) the likely cash flow arising from the asset considering both any income generated by the asset and proceeds from its potential sale. The University may obtain an independent, third-party appraisal of the property to determine its value when appropriate.

  1. Bargain Sales. A bargain sale is an agreement in which a donor sells securities, real estate, tangible personal property, or other assets to Santa Clara for less than their current fair market value. The difference between the fair market value of the property and the sales price is the gift portion, for which a donor may qualify for a charitable income tax deduction.

  2. Cryptocurrencies. U.S.-based donors can easily make charitable contributions of Bitcoin to Santa Clara University. Due to lack of regulatory clarity currently surrounding most cryptocurrencies, the University will only accept electronic transfers of Bitcoin.

    As part of the gift acceptance process, the University may research valuation of Bitcoin, fluctuations in its market value, if markets are readily available to liquidate the Bitcoin, and the speed with which such liquidation can take place. Generally each of these questions is addressed through review of the market price of Bitcoin with easy access to an exchange for liquidation.

    Bitcoin gifts will be converted to U.S. dollars, not held for investment purposes. Bitcoin donations will not be accepted for the purpose of funding charitable gift annuities or remainder trusts, without express written approval from General Counsel and the VP for University Relations.

    SCU will provide a unique Bitcoin receiving wallet address to each donor so that the University does not receive anonymous Bitcoin gifts.

    For gift recording purposes, the University will use the average of the marketplace auction prices immediately prior to and after the date/time that SCU received the Bitcoin gift. For receipting, the donor acknowledgement letter will only list the number of Bitcoins gifted, not a dollar value.

    The IRS considers Bitcoin contributions to be gifts of property for federal income tax purposes. Donors who wish to take a tax deduction should consult with their own legal and tax advisor for professional advice regarding any tax and legal implications. For more detailed information, refer to the IRS guidance regarding Virtual Currencies.

    If the donor provides form 8283, SCU will sign and return it to the donor. By signing the form, SCU simply acknowledges that the gift was received. The signature does not attest to the value of the gift being claimed on the form.

  1. Honoraria and Awards. A Santa Clara faculty or staff member may receive an honorarium for a speaking engagement or a cash award. As these payments are taxable income, the faculty or staff member may work with the sponsoring organization to waive the honorarium and instead issue a check from the organization to Santa Clara as a gift. The organization will receive credit for the gift, and the faculty or staff member will receive “soft” credit. In some circumstances, a faculty or staff member may gift the honorarium or award to the University directly by endorsing the check to Santa Clara University or making a gift to the University in the same amount. In most cases, this gift will allow the donor to deduct an amount equal to the taxable income. The rules pertaining to honoraria apply equally to awards received by faculty members.
  1. Third-Party Entities. Santa Clara receives gifts from private foundations or donor-advised funds at community foundations or private companies at the advice or direction of third-party friends. Although these gifts would not come to Santa Clara without that direction or advice, Santa Clara books these gifts (“hard credit”) on the record of and issues a receipt to the legal entity issuing the gift. Santa Clara provides recognition or “soft” credit to the party who advocated for the gift on SCU’s behalf.

  2. Corporate Matching Gifts. Gifts received in cash from organizations or corporations to match gifts of cash or securities by individuals associated with that organization or corporation will be credited to the individual donor’s gift record (“soft” credit) and allocated to the same purpose as the donor’s gift, unless corporate rules specify otherwise. SCU books these gifts on the record of the company (“hard credit”) and issues a receipt to the company. Matching gifts will not be counted towards a donor’s pledge.

  3. Foreign Currency or Foreign Securities. The University reserves the right to accept foreign currency or securities on a case-by-case basis. In cases where foreign securities are accepted, policy applicable to gifts of marketable domestic securities will apply.

  4. Unreimbursed Expenses. A donor may deduct as a charitable contribution reasonable unreimbursed expenses incurred while performing some service previously authorized as a gift by the Vice President for University Relations (for which the University would have otherwise paid for itself). These gifts-in-kind may include the costs of transportation, meals and lodging, or out-of-pocket expenses incurred when donors use their homes for fundraising purposes.

  5. Services. Gifts-in-kind of service are not generally recognized by the IRS as charitable contributions.

  6. Non-Standard Contributions. A non-standard contribution includes assets:

    • that are not reasonably expected to be used to satisfy or further > the University’s exempt purpose (aside from the need for income or > funds);
    • for which there is no ready market to which the University may go to > liquidate the contribution; and
    • whose value is highly speculative or difficult to ascertain.

      Prior to accepting a non-standard contribution, the University shall review the proposed gift and consider among others the following factors: (1) the unrelated business income tax consequences of holding the asset; (2) any potential costs or liabilities associated with owning the asset; (3) any transfer restrictions on the asset; (4) the likely cash flow arising from the asset considering both any income generated by the asset and proceeds from its potential sale; and (5) current and expected future value. The University may obtain an independent, third-party appraisal of the property to determine its value when appropriate.

V. Deferred Gifts

The University will accept deferred gifts of assets acceptable under, and subject to the limitations of, Section IV above and made through the following vehicles:

  1. Testamentary Bequests. A bequest is a gift of any asset made in a donor’s will or trust. Donors will be advised to name the legal entity of “The President and Board of Trustees of Santa Clara College” specifically in their wills and trusts in order to clearly indicate the recipient of their bequest. Bequests may be given as unrestricted gifts or gifts designated to a purpose of the donor’s preference.

  2. Retirement Plan Beneficiary Designations. Donors are encouraged to name the legal entity of “The President and Board of Trustees of Santa Clara College” as primary or secondary beneficiary of their retirement plans, including 403(b), 401(k), Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and qualified pension and profit-sharing plans. Gifts from retirement plans may be established by sending a new beneficiary designation to the donor’s plan administrator.

  3. Charitable Remainder Trusts. A CRT is a trust which makes annual payments to a designated individual(s) for a defined period of time, and then distributes the remainder of the trust in whole or in part to the University. The University will accept a remainder interest in a CRT at a minimum threshold of $100,000. The University may serve as trustee for a CRT, subject to the restrictions set forth in Section VII.A.

  4. Charitable Lead Trusts. A CLT is a trust which makes annual payments to the University for a defined period of time, and then distributes the remainder of the trust to a designated individual(s). The University will accept an income interest, for any amount, in a CLT if it is managed by the Donor or third party. The University may serve as trustee for a CLT, subject to the restrictions set forth in Section VII.A. The minimum amount of gift value acceptable to fund a CLT is $1,000,000.

  5. Charitable Gift Annuities. The University accepts gifts to fund immediate, deferred, and flexible deferred charitable gift annuities.

    The minimum amount for an initial CGA is $10,000, but the University will accept additional CGAs for amounts starting at $5,000 from donors with previously established CGA agreements. For CGAs for amounts between $5,000 and $10,000, only annual annuity payments will be made. The initial minimum gift amount for faculty and staff is $7,000.

    All CGAs must comply with the University’s charitable gift annuity license and policies. The University will only accept cash, cash equivalents, publicly traded securities, and real estate in exchange for CGAs. The University is also a member of and is guided by the annuity rate guidelines established by the American Council on Gift Annuities.

    The minimum age to establish a current CGA is 55, and for a deferred or flexible deferred the minimum age is 50.

  1. Remainder Interests in Real Property. Remainder interest will be accepted only if the donor and the University enter into an agreement to clarify the rights and responsibilities of both parties. In particular, all taxes, debts, repairs, improvements, and insurance expenses must be paid by the life tenant.

  2. Pooled Income Fund. The minimum initial contribution shall be $10,000. The minimum additional contributions shall be $5,000. There shall be no more than two beneficiaries and the minimum acceptable age of beneficiaries is age 50. The University will only accept cash, cash equivalents, and publicly traded securities (other than tax-exempt securities) as a contribution to the pooled income fund.

  1. Life Insurance Policies. Life insurance policies are acceptable, provided that: (1) the University is the owner and the irrevocable beneficiary of the policy; and (2) if the policy is not fully paid-up, the donor pledges in a written agreement to make annual gifts sufficient to cover additional premiums (unless the University, at its discretion, decides to pay them), or the University is able to sell the policy to generate revenue. For policies that have been assigned to the University, the University shall have the right to exercise any option, including, but not limited to, retention of the life insurance policy, continued premium payments, cash surrender, reduced paid-up insurance, extended term insurance, or convert the policy.

    The University may also be named as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy for a specified percentage of the policy, or as a contingent beneficiary of the policy.

VI. Acceptance Procedure

  1. Approval by the Vice President for University Relations or his/her Designate. Except as provided below, gifts that comply with these guidelines may be accepted by the Vice President for University Relations or his/her designate. If the Vice President for University Relations determines that a proposed gift does not comply with these guidelines or is otherwise not in the best interests of the University, the Vice President for University Relations shall refer the gift to the Gift Acceptance Committee for review, and a recommendation shall be made by the Gift Acceptance Committee for a final decision by the President on whether to accept the gift and/or refer it to the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.

  2. Approval by Gift Acceptance Committee. The Gift Acceptance Committee shall include, but not be limited to, the following: (1) Vice President of University Relations, (2) Vice President for Administration and Finance, (3) University General Counsel, (4) Provost, (5) a Faculty Member appointed by the President, and (6) a current Student appointed by the President.

    Gifts meeting the following criteria may be referred to the Gift Acceptance Committee for review and approval at the request of the Vice President for University Relations or the University General Counsel:

    1. Any contribution that does not conform to the Gift Acceptance Guidelines.

    2. Planned giving agreements where the University serves as Trustee.

    3. Any gift of tangible personal property with an estimated value of $100,000 or more, or gifts of art.

    4. Real estate gifts.

    5. Intangible assets that are not publicly traded, and

    6. Any gift that triggers the escalation indicators noted in Exhibit B.

    The Gift Acceptance Committee will consider any legal and ethical concerns, applicable federal and state regulations, questions related to academic freedom, and the University’s mission, policies, priorities, and values.

  1. Conditions for Declining a Gift. The University will make every effort to accommodate and accept charitable contributions from donors. However, the Gift Acceptance Committee reserves the right to decline any gift for any reason at its discretion. Following is a representative list of types of gifts that the University will not accept:

    1. Gift restrictions that are inconsistent with the University’s mission (and tax exempt status) and values, or that attempt to limit academic freedom;

    2. Gift restrictions that necessitate illegal (e.g., in violation of any federal, state, or local law, statute, or ordinance) use of funds;

    3. Gift restrictions that violate the University’s non-discrimination policies;

    4. Gift restrictions that present a strong likelihood that changed circumstances may render the use of the gift extremely difficult or impossible (in such cases, donors are encouraged to include language in the gift agreement that will permit an alternative use);

    5. Gift restrictions that could damage the reputation of the University;

    6. Restrictions on the use or administration of a gift linked to the incumbency of a specific individual (scholarships, fellowships, professorships, etc.);

    7. Gifts whose administration and use are to be directed by donors or other third parties;

    8. Gifts that obligate the University to name a faculty, program, endowment, or capital fund that is revocable by the donor in any way;

    9. Gifts that contain unreasonable conditions (e.g., a lien or other encumbrance) on gifts of partial interest and property;

    10. Gifts that are financially unsound, fail to provide a positive net present financial value, or which, in the University’s sole judgment, could reasonably expose the University to unacceptable liability;

    11. Gifts where the costs or time involved with the administration or liquidation of a gift make it financially undesirable;

    12. Gifts that violate SCU’s Conflict of Interest Policy; and

    13. Gifts that provide a donor with goods or services of financial value in exchange for the donor’s gift, unless such value is fully disclosed in the time and manner as required under federal and state law and regulations.

  1. Conditions for Returning a Gift. In most cases, returning a gift to a donor is prohibited. A charitable contribution is a gift to a nonprofit organization and an irrevocable transfer of a donor’s interest in the money used to further the public interest. Returning a donor’s gift could be designated as contrary to the public interest. Any circumstances that trigger discussions about returning a donor’s gift should be referred to the Gift Acceptance Committee who will make recommendations to the president based on the University and public interest, as well as any legal, tax, or other relevant implications.

  2. Negotiation and Approval of Planned Gift Agreements. The Gift Planning Director shall negotiate all planned gift agreements, unless otherwise directed and approved by the Vice President for University Relations. The Gift Planning Director will notify the Vice President for University Relations of all potential gifts that involve other members of the Gift Acceptance Committee. The Gift Planning Director may discuss the details of a potential gift with one or two members of the Gift Acceptance Committee or General Counsel. The Gift Planning Director or General Counsel will forward to the Vice President for University Relations a recommendation to accept or decline the gift based upon the information gathered. He or she will refer to Section VI A & B in making this decision.

    The persons authorized to sign planned gift agreements on behalf of the University are the President, the Vice President for Administration and Finance, the University General Counsel, and the Associate Vice President for Finance or their designees. All new CGAs or CRTs, or any new planned gift agreements over $100,000 must be signed by the President.

  1. University General Counsel. The University’s General Counsel shall review all matters pertaining to the acceptance of a gift that may have adverse legal, ethical, or policy consequences to the University. The General Counsel may use the services of outside legal counsel as appropriate. Review by General Counsel shall also be made in connection with:
    1. Closely held stock transfers that are subject to restrictions or > buy-sell agreements,

    2. Documents naming the University as trustee,

    3. Gifts involving contracts, such as bargain sales or other documents > requiring the University to assume a legal obligation,

    4. Gifts of patents and intellectual property,

    5. Transactions with potential conflict of interest.

  1. Estate Administration. The Gift Planning Director shall review unusual situations with the University General Counsel. During the administration of an estate, only the General Counsel, the Vice President of University Relations, the Gift Planning Director, and/or the University Finance Office are authorized to consult with the donors, estate attorney or personal representative of the estate or trust in question.

  2. Donor’s Legal Counsel. All prospective donors shall be urged to seek the assistance of personal legal and financial advisors in matters relating to their gifts and the resulting tax and estate planning implications.

  3. Additional Due Diligence.

    1. Compliance with Federal anti-money laundering requirements and the Patriot Act is required for individual gifts in excess of $100,000, for donors making smaller gifts totaling $250,000 in one year, and for gifts drawn on foreign bank accounts, sent from a foreign jurisdiction, or from a donor with a foreign address.

    2. SCU complies with Section 117 of the Higher Education Act requiring that institutions report to the federal government any gift or contract with a foreign source valued at $250,000 or more considered alone or in combination with all other gifts from or contracts with that foreign source within a calendar year.

    3. The University complies with federal laws regarding gifts of currency.

  4. Variances from These Guidelines. Any gift that does not comply with these guidelines may only be accepted after review and recommendation by the Gift Acceptance Committee or General Counsel and the approval of the President, who may refer such matters to the Board of Trustees Executive Committee. Any departure from procedures specified in these guidelines must be approved in advance by the Gift Acceptance Committee and the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.

    The Gift Acceptance Guidelines, as approved by the Board of Trustees, is the final authority of gift acceptance with Campus constituents, such as the School of Law, the de Saisset Museum, the Deans of the Schools and Colleges, and the Directors of the Centers of Distinction.

VII. Miscellaneous

  1. Serving as a Trustee of a Charitable Trust. With the approval of > the Gift Acceptance Committee, the University may serve as trustee > of a charitable remainder trust or charitable lead trust in which > it has a majority interest.

    As to both charitable remainder and charitable lead trusts, the University must have full discretion and control over the investment of the trust assets.

    The following restrictions apply to all charitable remainder trusts:

    1. The payout rate shall be limited to a percent approved by the Gift > Acceptance Committee, which takes into consideration the ages of > the beneficiaries and rates of return available in the investment > markets.

    2. The minimum amount of gift value acceptable to fund a charitable > remainder trust is $100,000. The minimum acceptable age of the > beneficiaries is age 50. However, the facts and circumstances > involved as determined by the Gift Acceptance Committee may > dictate higher limits than $100,000 and age 50. Minimum gift > value and acceptable age must meet IRS guidelines.

    The following restrictions apply to all charitable lead trusts if the University serves as trustee:

    1. The University shall serve as trustee only upon the approval of the > Vice President for University Relations and the University General > Counsel.

    2. The CLT is funded with cash or publicly traded securities.

  1. Donor Designated Funds. A Donor Designated Fund (DDF) provides a way for donors to make a charitable gift to SCU. SCU invests the gift, and the donor may recommend distributions for the benefit of the campus over time. Contributions to a SCU donor designated fund are irrevocable and are immediately tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

    1. Commitment threshold is $100,000 (see Office of Gift Planning for exceptions). The donor may also “build up” to the minimum amount over a period of no longer than three years and with an initial gift of $50,000. No distributions can be requested until the $100,000 commitment has been fulfilled.

    2. DDF term can range from two years to the donor's lifetime plus 10 years.

    3. Donors must recommend annual distributions from their DDF that total a minimum of $5,000 or 5% of the value of the DDF (whichever is greater) (exceptions can apply).

    4. Donors can make additional contributions of at least $10,000 to their DDF at any time.

    5. Donors can name successor advisors to the DDF who, under specified circumstances, will assume donor’s role in making contributions to the DDF and making recommendations for distributions during the remainder of the DDF term.

  2. Valuation of Gifts. The University shall not make representations to donors regarding the value of donated property. On its own books and records, the University shall record gifts at their fair market value on the date received, following generally accepted accounting principles.

  3. Payment of Fees.

    1. The University may pay for the preparation of gift documents under which it has an irrevocable beneficial interest and, where appropriate, control over the gift assets during the term of the gift instrument (e.g., control over selection of the trustee of a charitable remainder trust).

    2. The University may pay for its own due diligence costs, including the cost of title reports and environmental studies related to real estate gifts.

    3. The University will not pay or reimburse fees generated by a donor’s legal counsel.

    4. The University will not prepare documents relative to a donor’s estate plan, and will not pay finder’s fees relating to charitable gifts.

    5. The University will typically not pay for the costs associated with implementing a donor’s gift, other than fees to advisors retained by the University.

    6. If the University obtains an appraisal of donated property, such appraisal shall be used for the University’s purposes; donors are encouraged to obtain their own appraisals when required under charitable deduction rules.

  4. Responsibility for IRS Filings upon Sale of Gift Items. The University is responsible for filing IRS Form 8282 upon the sale or disposition of any asset sold by the University within three years of receipt. The University must file such form within 125 days of the date of sale or disposition of the asset. The Form 8282 will be prepared by the Director of Gift Processing and delivered to the donor(s).

  5. Written Receipts. The University shall provide a contemporaneous written receipt for all gifts of $250 or more that meet the requirements of Section 170(f)(8) of the Internal Revenue Code.

    The University shall provide a tax disclosure statement to any donor who makes a quid pro quo gift of more than $75 that meets the requirements of Section 6115 of the Internal Revenue Code. A quid pro quo contribution is a payment made to the University by a donor partly as a contribution and partly for goods or services provided to the donor by the University. For example, if a donor gives the University $100 and receives basketball tickets valued at $35, the donor has made a quid pro quo contribution. In this example, the charitable contribution portion of the gift is $65. Even though the part of the gift available for deduction does not exceed $75, a disclosure statement must be filed because the donor's gift (quid pro quo contribution) exceeds $75. The required written disclosure statement must:

    1. Inform the donor that the amount of the contribution that is > deductible for federal income tax purposes is limited to the > excess of any money (and the value of any property other than > money) contributed by the donor over the value of goods or > services provided by the charity, and

    2. Provide the donor with a good faith estimate of the value of the > goods or services that the donor received.

      The University must furnish the statement in connection with either the solicitation or the receipt of the quid pro quo contribution. If the disclosure statement is furnished in connection with a particular solicitation, it is not necessary for the organization to provide another statement when the associated contribution is actually received.

      No disclosure statement is required when:

    1. The goods or services given to a donor meet the standards for > insubstantial value set out in Revenue Procedure > 90-12, > 1990-1 C.B. 471, and Revenue Procedure > 92-49, > 1992-1 C.B. 987 (as updated);

    2. There is no donative element involved in a particular transaction > with a charity (for example, there is generally no donative > element involved in a discount for a visitor's purchase from a > bookstore).

  1. Gift Minimums for Endowments. The minimum gift to establish a new endowment fund is $100,000. Additional gift minimums for named endowments are detailed in the Santa Clara University Naming Guidelines.

  2. Gifts Solicited in States Requiring Registration. Certain states require registration in order to solicit residents of that state either via direct mail or telephone. The Development Office in coordination with the University General Counsel satisfy the registration requirements annually in compliance with each state’s guidelines.

  3. Amendments. These Guidelines may be amended by the Vice President for University Relations and the President with the approval of the Gift Acceptance Committee and the Board of Trustees Executive Committee. The Guidelines shall be reviewed annually to ensure that it reflects changes in IRS regulations, accounting standards, or other issues as needed and appropriate.


Santa Clara University Gift Agreement Procedures

Santa Clara University Gift Counting and Reporting Guidelines

Santa Clara University Naming Guidelines


Exhibit A: Model Standards for the Charitable Gift Planner

Exhibit B: Gift Acceptance Escalation Considerations


Kevin O’Brien, S.J., President

Lisa Kloppenberg, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Michael Crowley, Vice President for Administration and Finance

Jim Lyons, Vice President for University Relations

John Ottoboni, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Legal Counsel

Mike Sexton, Vice President for Enrollment Management


Origination Date: February 13, 2015

Last Amended Date: August 29, 2019

Approved by SCU Board of Trustees: October 18, 2019



Exhibit A: Ethics & Standards

Model Standards of Practice for the Charitable Gift Planner


The purpose of this statement is to encourage responsible gift planning by urging the adoption of the following Standards of Practice by all individuals who work in the charitable gift planning process, gift planning officers, fund raising consultants, attorneys, accountants, financial planners, life insurance agents and other financial services professionals (collectively referred to hereafter as “Gift Planners”), and by the institutions that these persons represent. This statement recognizes that the solicitation, planning and administration of a charitable gift is a complex process involving philanthropic, personal, financial, and tax considerations, and as such often involves professionals from various disciplines whose goals should include working together to structure a gift that achieves a fair and proper balance between the interests of the donor and the purposes of the charitable institution.


The principal basis for making a charitable gift should be a desire on the part of the donor to support the work of charitable institutions.


Congress has provided tax incentives for charitable giving, and the emphasis in this statement on philanthropic motivation in no way minimizes the necessity and appropriateness of a full and accurate explanation by the Gift Planner of those incentives and their implications.


It is essential to the gift planning process that the role and relationships of all parties involved, including how and by whom each is compensated, be fully disclosed to the donor. A Gift Planner shall not act or purport to act as a representative of any charity without the express knowledge and approval of the charity, and shall not, while employed by the charity, act or purport to act as a representative of the donor, without the express consent of both the charity and the donor.


Compensation paid to Gift Planners shall be reasonable and proportionate to the services provided. Payment of finders fees, commissions or other fees by a donee organization to an independent Gift Planner as a condition for the delivery of a gift are never appropriate. Such payments lead to abusive practices and may violate certain state and federal regulations. Likewise, commission-based compensation for Gift Planners who are employed by a charitable institution is never appropriate.


The Gift Planner should strive to achieve and maintain a high degree of competence in his or her chosen area, and shall advise donors only in areas in which he or she is professionally qualified. It is a hallmark of professionalism for Gift Planners that they realize when they have reached the limits of their knowledge and expertise, and as a result, should include other professionals in the process. Such relationships should be characterized by courtesy, tact and mutual respect.


A Gift Planner acting on behalf of a charity shall in all cases strongly encourage the donor to discuss the proposed gift with competent independent legal and tax advisors of the donor’s choice.


Although Gift Planners frequently and properly counsel donors concerning specific charitable gifts without the prior knowledge or approval of the donee organization, the Gift Planners, in order to insure that the gift will accomplish the donor’s objectives, should encourage the donor, early in the gift planning process, to discuss the proposed gift with the charity to whom the gift is to be made. In cases where the donor desires anonymity, the Gift Planners shall endeavor, on behalf of the undisclosed donor, to obtain the charity’s input in the gift planning process.


The Gift Planner shall make every effort to assure that the donor receives a full description and an accurate representation of all aspects of any proposed charitable gift plan. The consequences for the charity, the donor and, where applicable, the donor’s family, should be apparent, and the assumptions underlying any financial illustrations should be realistic.


A Gift Planner shall fully comply with and shall encourage other parties in the gift planning process to fully comply with both the letter and spirit of all applicable federal and state laws and regulations.


Gift Planners shall, in all dealings with donors, institutions and other professionals, act with fairness, honesty, integrity and openness. Except for compensation received for services, the terms of which have been disclosed to the donor, they shall have no vested interest that could result in personal gain.

Adopted and subscribed to by the National Committee on Planned Giving and the American Council on Gift Annuities, May 7, 1991. Revised April 1999.



Exhibit B: Gift Acceptance Escalation Considerations

Standard University gift agreement templates should be used for all gift agreements. Any other forms of agreement language that varies from the standard template language must be reviewed by University Relations and potentially by the General Counsel and/or Gift Acceptance Committee. Please contact the Development Office in University Relations with questions.

Clauses in proposals, gift agreements or solicitations that discriminate in favor of or against any race, color, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, or national origin may violate SCU’s nondiscrimination policies. Donors may specify a preference for a federally-protected class where consistent with SCU’s nondiscrimination policies using language similar to the following:

In accordance with University Policy on nondiscrimination, the only way that a donor may indicate a preference based upon a federally-protected class is to use language similar to the following clause: “While the ____ Scholarship may be made available to all students, it is the donor’s desire that particular attention be given to enhancing the social, economic, and cultural diversity of the student body by giving preference where possible to students who ____.”

Following is a representative list of escalation indicators that trigger additional review of a potential gift by the Gift Acceptance Committee:


  • Are there clauses in gift agreements that preclude the University from disclosing the very existence or purpose of the agreement? (e.g., gift existence or use confidentiality, not external donor anonymity)

  • Does the gift include high profile naming or create a possible reputational issue?

  • Does the gift create any possible conflicts of interest?

  • Is the gift inconsistent with the University’s mission or values, or necessitate an ethical or legal violation?

Academic Freedom

  • Does the gift attempt to prescribe or limit, beyond a general definition of subject area, the educational curriculum or research that faculty, students, or staff can perform?

  • Does the gift outline what the University can/cannot include in a program?

  • Does the gift attempt to alter or restrict the University’s mission?

  • Does the gift advocate for, endorse, or support a certain aspect of an issue?

  • Does the gift support a particular result or conclusion of scholarly work?


  • Does the gift attempt to restrict areas covered by the University’s equal opportunity/non-discrimination policy?

Outside Party Influence

  • Does the gift require the University to establish or govern an institute, center, program, department, or activity in a specific way (e.g., independent board, advisory board)?

  • Does the gift propose an advisory board with donor involvement or influence?

  • Does the donor wish to conditionally influence or control the administration of a gift?

  • Does the gift require the appointment or retention of a specific individual, or awarding scholarships to specific students?

  • Does the gift commit the University to take action not in its control (e.g., required actions by a separate entity or partner)?

Financial Burden

  • Does the gift potentially create an immediate or future financial burden or liability for the University?

  • Does the gift obligate the University to create new faculty lines (e.g., to run an institute, staff an advisory committee, administer a program)?

  • Does the gift require spending by the University in excess of the amount the donor contributes?

  • Does the gift establish a named position endowment for a lower amount than the established threshold?

Intellectual Property

  • Does the gift permit use of the University logo or other trademark by the donor or other third party?

  • Does the gift require the University to give away or share anything created as a result of the gift?