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Accepting Gifts/Gifts in Kind

For questions concerning gifts, gifts-in-kind, or trust funds, please contact Dave Harris (414-229-5667; dnh@uwm.edu), Jennifer Kuhr (414-229-2565; kuhr@uwm.edu), or Evie Saharsky (414-229-2487; mortens2@uwm.edu ).

The University of Wisconsin System recognizes that gifts to the University can be either Monetary Gifts or Non-Monetary Gifts-in-Kind. All gifts must have campus approval prior to their presentation to and acceptance by the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents. In accordance with the IRS regulations and good donor relationships, all gifts must be acknowledged in writing. In some cases, the UWM Foundation receives and acknowledges gifts. In cases where gifts or gifts-in-kind come directly into the University, the gift recipient should acknowledge the gift in writing.

The definitions governing what is considered a Gift or a Gift-in-Kind are provided in the UW System Financial and Administrative Policy Paper, Extramural Support Administration (G2) and are given below.

Gifts (Monetary)

To qualify as a gift to the institution, extramural support must meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Funds provide general or unrestricted support for broadly defined activities in one or more program areas, such as research, public service, instruction, fellowships/traineeships, etc.
  2. Detailed reports are not required—neither periodic or final, nor fiscal or technical. (The principal investigator may provide the donor with a brief statement that the expenditures were in accord with the intent of the gift).
  3. No provisions (delays, advance notice) are imposed by the donor concerning publication of data and information derived from the activity.
  4. There is no specific time limit on the expenditure of funds.
  5. Rights to any patent/copyright are not retained by the donor.

Regardless of the source of funding, any extramural support that does not satisfy all of the above conditions should be managed as a Sponsored Project for financial accounting and reporting purposes. If a proposal was sent to a sponsor with a defined scope of work, detailed budget, and/or involves human subjects, this is a sponsored project, not a gift.

Accepting Gifts

Accepting UWM Foundation Gifts

The UWM Foundation, upon request of the University, will transfer the funds to the University. Such gifts must be deposited into a University account and expended from that fund. The following instructions pertain only to gift funds taken in through the UWM Foundation, not Sponsored Projects. Further clarification of types of extramural support and the interrelationship of various offices in acquiring that support is discussed in the document Memorandum of Understanding among the UWM Office of Development, the UWM Foundation, and the UWM Graduate School.

The UWM Foundation, upon request of the University, will transfer the funds to the University. Such gifts must be deposited into a University account and expended from that fund. The following instructions pertain only to gift funds taken in through the UWM Foundation, not Sponsored Projects. Further clarification of types of extramural support and the interrelationship of various offices in acquiring that support is discussed in the document Memorandum of Understanding among the UWM Office of Development, the UWM Foundation, and the UWM Graduate School.

  • To reduce administrative burdens, try to anticipate the amounts to be spent and transfer funds no more frequently than quarterly.

  • Create a WISPER record.

  • Go to the Basic Info section on the General Tab and select the appropriate Document Type, “Gift-UWMF”.

  • For new accounts, attach a statement from the donor regarding the intended use for the funds.

  • Sign the record and route it according to the WISPER instructions for your school or college.
  • The Dean’s office will forward the WISPER record to OSP.
  • For monetary Gifts, OSP will request approval from the UWMF to add funds to a 133 account or create a new account.

Once funds are deposited into a University account, expenditures are governed by University policies and procedures.

Accepting Gifts for UWM (Non-UWM Foundation gifts)
  • Send a "Thank You" letter to the Donor.
  • Create a WISPER record.
  • Go to the Basic Info section on the General Tab and select “Gift” for the Document Type.
  • For new accounts, attach a statement from the donor regarding the intended use for the funds.
  • Sign the record and route it according to the WISPER instructions for your school or college.
  • Forward the check(s) to OSP for deposit and identify the deposit by including the WISPER record number and the recipient’s name.
  • The Dean’s office will forward the WISPER record to OSP.

Gifts-in-Kind (Non-Monetary)

A gift-in-kind is a contribution of personal or real property which requires annual reporting by the institution.

Accepting Gifts-in-Kind

Gifts-In-Kind are of substantial value to the University. However valuable they are, they can also present a safety risk since they are being accepted from outside of University control. For this reason, a Gift-In-Kind must be reviewed by Risk Management before it can be delivered to campus. Risk Management will determine whether the Gift-In-Kind can be accepted and will determine proper insurance protection and inventory control. When Risk Management approves, the Board of Regents will officially accept the Gift-In-Kind.

By Board policy, the University may not participate in establishing the monetary value of the Gift-In-Kind. An inventory value should be established by the donor based upon fair market value on the date of the gift.

It is important that all Gifts-In-Kind are reported to, and accepted by, the Board of Regents at the time of delivery onto campus. Under no circumstances can any Gift-In-Kind, particularly equipment, be used in any way until it is officially accepted by the Board of Regents.

The Gift-In-Kind process is as outlined:
  1. Departments should create a WISPER record as soon as the negotiations for a Gift-In-Kind begin.
  2. Follow the WISPER instructions, selecting "GIK" for the Document Type.
  3. Attach the Donor's quote or estimate of the monetary value of the donation to the record, and any available supplemental information (i.e. if the donation will be equipment, a description of the equipment and the purpose).
  4. Sign the record and route it according to the WISPER instructions for your school or college.
  5. The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) will request that Risk Management assess the donation for any potential risk and/or insurance issue. Risk Management will need to approve the donation before it can be delivered to campus and reported to the Board of Regents. **
  6. When the donation is approved by Risk Management, OSP will notify the department that it is OK to accept the Gift-In-Kind.
  7. When the department takes possession of the Gift-In-Kind, they should notify OSP so the administrative process can be completed.
  8. OSP will notify the UWM Foundation of the Gift-In-Kind.
  9. OSP will report the Gift-In-Kind to the Board of Regents for its formal acceptance. Under no circumstances should a Gift-In-Kind, particularly equipment, be used prior to the Board of Regents acceptance.
  10. OSP will distribute the Board of Regents acceptance to the Department, UWM Foundation, Risk Management, and any other relevant contacts.
  11. Departments receiving the Gift-In-Kind and/or the UWM Foundation should send an acknowledgement/thank you letter to the donor once the Board of Regents has formally accepted the donation.

** Please note: Donations to the University will not be insured until the Board of Regents officially accepts the donation.

Trust Funds

The University of Wisconsin System establishes and manages all trust funds and has detailed information regarding policies governing trust funds, different types of funds, and other information available at the University of Wisconsin System Trust Funds Web site. To determine whether a gift can appropriately be managed through a trust fund, contact Doug Hoerr at ((608) 262-9779, dhoerr@uwsa.edu).

Depositing Funds into Trust (162) Accounts

To deposit money into a trust account and generate a "Notice of Trust Fund to be Presented to the Board of Regents,” forward all information and checks to Doug Hoerr at the UW System Trust Fund Office, Rm 221, 780 Regent St., Madison, WI 53715.


Page last updated on: 01/29/2014