St. Cloud State University Foundation

Gift Acceptance Policy

Gift Acceptance Policy (pdf)The purpose of the Gift Acceptance Policy is to provide a set of standards by which gifts are reviewed, accepted or declined, processed and receipted by St. Cloud State University Foundation. While this document is intended to provide guidance to all University personnel regarding acceptance of prospective gifts, donors are ultimately responsible for ensuring that the proposed gift furthers their charitable, financial, and estate planning goals.  Neither the Foundation nor the University provide legal, accounting, tax, or other advice to prospective donors. Therefore, each prospective donor is urged to seek the advice of independent counsel in the gift planning process.


    The St. Cloud State University Foundation, Inc. (the “Foundation”) is a nonprofit corporation exempt from Federal Income Tax liability by Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c) 3 and qualifies as a public charity under Internal Revenue Code Section 509. The Foundation exists to secure and manage private gifts for the benefit of St. Cloud State University (the "University").

    The purpose of the Gift Acceptance Policy is to provide a set of standards by which gifts are reviewed, accepted or declined, processed and receipted by St. Cloud State University Foundation. While this document is intended to provide guidance to all University personnel regarding acceptance of prospective gifts, donors are ultimately responsible for ensuring that the proposed gift furthers their charitable, financial, and estate planning goals. Neither the Foundation nor the University provide legal, accounting, tax, or other advice to prospective donors. Therefore, each prospective donor is urged to seek the advice of independent counsel in the gift planning process.

    The gift acceptance policies of St. Cloud State University Foundation shall be interpreted in
    light of these overriding principles:
    • Principle 1: A gift shall not be accepted by the Foundation unless there is a reasonable expectation that acceptance of the gift will benefit the University by supporting its missions of learning, discovery, and engagement.
    • Principal 2: The Foundation shall not encourage or accept any gifts that are inappropriate in light of the donor’s disclosed personal or financial situation.
    • Principal 3: Gifts that potentially expose the Foundation or University to adverse publicity or involve out of the ordinary conditions shall be referred to the Gift Acceptance Committee for resolution. The Foundation cannot accept gifts for the benefit of the University which involve unlawful discrimination on any basis prohibited by federal, state and local laws and regulations. In addition, the Foundation cannot accept gifts which obligate it or the University to violate any other applicable law or regulation, or that violate the Foundation’s articles of incorporation or bylaws. If at any time the donor or his or her name may compromise the public trust or the reputation of the University, including acts of moral turpitude, the University with the approval of the Foundation’s board of trustees has the right to remove the name or return the gift.

    All fund-raising and constituent engagement activities on behalf of the University will be conducted and coordinated by the University’s Office of Advancement (“Advancement”), to protect the interests of the donor and to avoid an excessive number of solicitations in the
    name of St. Cloud State University. All fund-raising efforts must have the approval of the Vice President for University Advancement. All philanthropic commitments to the University must be processed by and credited to the donor through the Foundation’s gift processing and data managementsystem.

    Special funds to be solicited and held by deans, campus directors, departmental chairpersons, etc., outside normal accounting and acknowledgement procedures are in violation of 501(c)(3) regulations which classify the Foundation as a not-for-profit organization and are strictly prohibited.

    1. Gift Acceptance Committee
      The Foundation will have a Gift Acceptance Committee (GAC) consisting of the Vice President for University Advancement, the Foundation Director of Finance and one Senior Development Director.

      The role of the GAC is to review proposed gifts of $25,000 or more. The committee will represent the University’s interest in evaluating the use and purpose of the gift related to the University’s mission.

      The GAC will also review unusual, questionable or potentially burdensome proposed gifts valued under $25,000.

      The GAC shall meet on an as needed basis. The GAC must have a quorum (at least 2 members) in attendance in order to vote to approve or decline a gift. Attendance may be considered to be in person, via conference call or via email, if the aforementioned meeting is held in an email format. Decisions of the GAC must be made by a majority vote. The GAC may, in its discretion, determine whether a proposed gift should be forwarded to the Foundation for review.

    2. Gift Agreements
      The Foundation will set up a new fund to receive charitable contributions only when it determines that there is a need for said fund and that minimum funding requirements have been or will be met by the donor or department seeking to establish a fund (a written pledge and first payment have been received). A written fund agreement/memorandum of understanding will be signed and executed by the donor and the Foundation when a gift commitment has terms, restrictions or conditions for use that should be preserved.

      A donor (and the donor’s family or designee) who establishes a scholarship, award or fund may not participate in the selection of recipients or the administration of the award or fund. Final decision on the selection of scholarship and award recipients is the responsibility of the University. See Appendix for gift forms and current funding requirements.

    3. Use of Legal Counsel
      The Foundation will employ legal counsel at its discretion in interpreting, managing and conducting business in matters pertaining to gift acceptance and administration. The Foundation will bear the costs associated with counsel engaged on its behalf.

    1. Processing Gifts and Pledges
      It is the responsibility of the Foundation’s gift processing office to record and maintain a complete and accurate record of every pledge and gift (tangible and non-tangible) to the Foundation. All gifts and pledges will be processed and acknowledged in a timely manner as detailed below. Donor anonymity in publications will be protected when desired by the donor. University staff, including student-employees, shall be trained in the Foundation’s Confidentiality Policy.

      All gifts, along with their original correspondence, received by any college, school, department or administrative office are to be transmitted to the Foundation’s gift processing office at the earliest possible opportunity for processing.

    2. Receipting Gifts
      1. General Receipting Guidelines:
        1. Tax receipts are provided only to the legal donor.
        2. Receipts state the date and amount of the funds deposited and the Foundation account credited with the contribution.
        3. Receipts are produced, proofed and mailed in timely manner.
      2. Receipts for contributions that are not entirely deductible by IRS standards:
        1. Receipts state the total amount received, the tax-deductible gift amount and if applicable, the non-deductible amount considered “goods and services.”
        2. A description of the “goods and services” is provided, per IRS Publication 1771.
        3. The responsible University office or department conducting an event or activity whose fee includes a gift and a non-deductible amount shall be required to determine the fair market value of the “goods and services.”
        4. The responsible University office or department must disclose the fair market value of “goods and services” in advertising and promotion of the event or activity and on the tickets.
        5. If no portion of the transaction is determined to be tax deductible, no receipt will be issued.
      3. Gift receipts shall not be issued for:
        1. Establishment of a fund over which the transferor /donor has expenditure control.
        2. Contributions to provide compensation for or direct personal benefit for a named faculty or staff person of the University.
        3. Financial aid to a specific student.
      4. Receipts for tangible property (gifts‐in‐kind):
        1. Acknowledgements provide an accurate description of the property, as provided on the gift‐in‐kind transmittal form.
        2. No monetary value is stated in the acknowledgement, per IRS Publication 1771. The donor must determine the tax-deductible value of the property. (See Gifts-In-Kind under Types of Gifts Marketed and Accepted.)
      5. Receipts for gifts of securities
        1. The gift description includes the name of the security, the number of shares and the value based on the average of the high and low trading values for the security on the date it was received into the Foundation brokerage account.
      6. Receipts for donor‐advised gifts:
        1. No gift receipt is provided for gifts made through donor‐advised funds.
        2. As a courtesy to the donor, the Foundation will acknowledge donor-advised gifts by letter, phone or email. The University’s Advancement Staff will ensure that notifications contain appropriate recommended verbiage.
      7. Copies of gift receipts:
        1. Donors may request a copy of a gift receipt at any time by contacting the Foundation.
        2. The receipt will clearly state that it is a copy.

    The Foundation will accept and record written pledges in accordance with generally accepted Accounting Standards (GAAP) and Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) rules. No multi-year pledge of $5,000 or more will be recorded by the Foundation unless it is substantiated in writing via a Foundation-approved gift agreement signed by both the Foundation and the donor (see appendix for current pledge form). The agreement must include the gift amount and schedule of pledge payments. The agreement will also state the designation of the gift within the Foundation, indicating GAC-approved preferences and restrictions on the use of the funds. Single year pledges will be recorded in accordance with Foundation practices.

    Pledges may be “enforceable pledges” or “intent to give.” Conditional pledges will not be accepted.

    Capital pledges of more than five years must be approved by the GAC. Pledges for capital purposes of greater than 5 years will not be accepted.

    Enforceable pledges cannot be paid through a donor advised fund. (See IRS Form 4967) An “intent to give” is not recorded as a receivable at the time it is made nor is recognition provided at that time. An “intent to give” may be paid through a donor-advised fund.


    Endowed funds provide donors the opportunity to support scholarship and teaching on a variety of levels in perpetuity. Endowments may be designated for restricted use in a school/college, department or program within the University and may be named in honor of individuals. Endowments must be governed by a written agreement executed by the donor and the Foundation. The agreement must be approved by the GAC before it is presented to the donor.

    Endowments may be funded with outright contributions including pledges and must meet the required minimum as determined by the GAC. If gifts for an endowment fail to meet the required minimum after the maximum pledge period, the funds may be transferred to the Foundation’s general endowment or to another Foundation fund, as determined by the Foundation Board upon recommendation by the Gift Acceptance Committee.

    Endowments created by testamentary transfer shall be administered in accordance with the donor’s wishes as set forth in the relevant testamentary document, provided that the donor clearly intends to establish an endowment and the intended use is not prohibited by law or University policy. If the intended use does fall outside of the law and/or University policy, or if the gift fails to meet the prevailing required minimum for an endowed fund at the time it becomes available to the University, the Foundation will adhere to the laws and regulations of the State of Minnesota.

    The Foundation, reserves the right, in the document that restricts the use of the gift, to broaden or alter the purpose of the gift should the original purpose of the gift no longer meet the needs or serves the mission of the Foundation. The Foundation may exercise this right with the approval of its Board of Directors. Endowment contributions will be utilized for their intended purpose only when they are funded with cash (or cash equivalents) equaling or surpassing the Foundation’s required minimum for the establishment of an endowed fund.

    Endowment principals will be pooled and invested, and income expended, in accordance
    with the prevailing investment and spending policies of the Foundation.


    The Foundation must receive all philanthropic commitments to St. Cloud State University. Outright gifts to the Foundation shall be reported when assets are actually and irrevocably transferred to St. Cloud State University Foundation.

    Irrevocable deferred gifts shall be reported as a pledge at face value. Revocable deferred gifts documented by provisions in wills or other revocable instruments shall be reported for recognition purposes only and are not treated as charitable gifts for accounting purposes until the gift is received.

    For recognition purposes only, revocable gifts may be recognized in campaign totals at face value if reported separately from outright gifts and irrevocable deferred gifts.

    Total fundraising progress will be the sum of all new gifts (outright and irrevocable deferred) and new pledges against a stated goal. Verbal pledges or commitments may not be counted in gift totals. Non-gift revenue will not be reported in the Foundation’s reported fundraising progress.

    The following are assets accepted by the St. Cloud State University Foundation:

    1. Cash and Cash Equivalents
    2. Publicly Traded Securities
    3. Closely Held Securities
    4. Real Estate, Mineral Interests
    5. Personal Property
    6. Gifts-In-Kind
    7. Deferred Gifts (include bequests through wills or living trusts, retirement plan designations, life income plans, charitable lead trusts and retained life estates)
    8. Charitable Remainder Unitrusts
    9. Unitrusts
    10. Charitable Gift Annuities
    11. Charitable Lead Trusts
    12. Life Insurance
    13. Remainder Interest in Real Property
    14. Retirement Accounts
    15. Donor-Advised and Donor-Directed Funds
    16. Royalties
    17. Alternative Assets (with GAC approval)
    1. Cash and Cash Equivalents
      Cash gifts may be made with currency, check or credit card. Cash may be delivered in person, by mail, by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), or by wire transfer. Cash gifts are reported the date the cash is received in the Foundation gift processing office and post marks are used as the gift date for mailed gifts. If gifts are transferred by EFT or wire, the date of the gift is the date that the money is transferred into the Foundation’s account. Credit card gifts are reported on the date that the credit card charges are processed. Gifts from non-domestic sources will be recorded as the US Dollar equivalent received by the Foundation.

    2. Publicly-Traded Securities
      Securities (1) listed on an exchange in which quotations are published daily; (2) regularly traded in national or regional over-the-counter markets for which published quotations are available; or (3) that are shares of a mutual fund for which quotations are published on a daily basis in a publicly accessible format (newspaper, website, etc.) throughout the United States, will be accepted as outright gifts or toward pledges. The value of securities is determined on the date in which securities are received in the Foundation brokerage account. The mean trading price on the gift date determines the value of securities for reporting purposes.

    3. Closely Held Securities (non-public)
      The GAC, following due diligence, shall examine any issue that is not publicly traded prior to its acceptance as a gift and may decline a gift of such securities if it deems them difficult to value or not easily marketable. A detailed explanation surrounding the circumstances of the stock, the company, and the donor’s reason for this gift must be documented and provided to the GAC.

      Under current law it is the donor’s responsibility, for gifts of non-publicly traded securities exceeding $10,000, to have the securities valued by a qualified independent appraiser as required by the IRS. Gifts of non-publicly traded securities of $10,000 or less may be valued at the per-share cash purchase price of the most recent transaction. Normally, this transaction is the redemption value of the stock by the corporation. For a gift of $10,000 or less, when no redemption has occurred during the reporting period, an independent certified public accountant (CPA) who maintains the books for a closely held corporation is deemed to be qualified to value the stock of that corporation.

    4. Real Estate and Mineral Interests
      The Foundation may accept both present and future interests in real estate. Prior to acceptance of the real property, the gift shall be approved by the GAC. Gifts of real estate must be tested to be in conformity with state and federal laws, including EPA regulations and the donor must provide satisfactory evidence of environmental compliance.

      Criteria for consideration of acceptance of the property shall include:
      1. Usefulness of property for purposes of the Foundation or SCSU
      2. Marketability
      3. Results of an environmental review
      4. Appraised value (minimum net appraised value is $100,000)

      Other issues to be considered include:
      1. Clarity of title
      2. Restrictions, reservations, easements, zoning or other limitations associated with the property
      3. Carrying costs, which may include insurance, property taxes, mortgages, or notes, etc., associated with the property