Outlined below is a summary of the principles, policies, and standards that inform our work and guide us in our efforts to solicit, accept, recognize, and manage donor funds.
Gifts to Washington University will be determined to be acceptable based on the following principles:
Support of mission
All gifts must be in furtherance of Washington University’s mission, which is to act in service of truth through the formation of leaders, the discovery of knowledge, and the treatment of patients for the betterment of our region, our nation, and our world.
Reputation and core values
Washington University will not accept a gift which is not in the best interests of the Washington University community, is not consistent with the university’s core values, or which may damage or compromise its reputation.
Gifts to Washington University are given expressly with a philanthropic intent and should not be granted with any degree of expected benefit or influence over Washington University activities in return for the gift. The gift is wholly owned and controlled by Washington University once it is received.
Washington University cannot accept a gift that imposes an unreasonable or undue financial, legal, or administrative burden on Washington University or its faculty, staff, students, or other resources.
Washington University seeks gifts that provide support to our greatest needs and priorities and that are as flexible in use as possible. Gifts should be in amounts appropriate to the specified uses. Gifts should not be directed to purposes that are so restricted that effective use or administration will be problematic, or create an undue burden as above.
Washington University is committed to careful stewardship and sustainability of the university’s resources and of our world—those resources that many in our community have entrusted into our care. This is not only central to advancing our mission, but is also part of our responsibility to our steadfast supporters.
Washington University does not accept gifts that impose restrictions that involve discrimination under the university’s non-discrimination policy or any federal, state, and local laws and regulations. It is paramount that the university uphold and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.
If a gift does not align with the university’s guiding principles or is in conflict with its policies and practices, the university may choose to decline the gift.
Washington University accepts many types of gifts. Some types are more easily accepted and utilized than others, particularly those that can easily be converted to cash (i.e. liquid assets) such as U.S. currency, wire transfers, bank drafts, electronic fund transfers, checks, credit card charges, and payroll deductions. Publicly traded securities require special handling, but are also considered to be one of the preferred methods of giving. For pledge payments made using securities, if the proceeds fall short of the pledged amount the donor will be responsible for making up the difference through additional payment(s). If the proceeds happen to exceed the pledged amount, the additional funding will be applied to the gift purpose as stated in the gift documentation.
Other types of gifts, such as real estate, other tangible property, partnerships, royalties, cryptocurrency, and non-traditional investments are generally accepted, but require additional documentation and consideration by Advancement Services, in partnership with the Washington University Investment Management Company, Financial Services including Insurance and Risk Management and Real Estate, and the benefiting department, among others.
The university will accept and record written gifts and pledges in accordance with regulations as established by the IRS, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) rules, and Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) standards. Pledge durations should not exceed five (5) years. Exceptions to the pledge duration will only be considered for significant gifts with compelling reasons for an exception.
Gift Acceptance Committee
Gifts that do not easily and readily meet the standards for acceptance as outlined in this document or that involve a high degree of visibility may be referred to the Gift Acceptance Committee for institutional review at the highest level. The Gift Acceptance Committee includes representatives from the Office of General Counsel, University Advancement, Financial Services, and other senior university administrators as appropriate (e.g., provost and executive vice chancellor of academic affairs or the dean and executive vice chancellor of medical affairs).
Gifts of cryptocurrency are reviewed and accepted or rejected by the Cryptocurrency Committee and, where appropriate, the Gift Acceptance Committee, and require a minimum gift of $50,000 per transaction. If the cryptocurrency gift is accepted, the university will sell or otherwise liquidate the cryptocurrency as soon as it is able to do so. The net proceeds (less any fees and/or commissions) from the sale of cryptocurrency, and not the appraised value, will be applied toward a donor’s pledge. For pledges, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) template includes language that specifies if the proceeds fall short of the pledged amount, the donor will be responsible for making up the difference through additional payment(s). If the proceeds happen to exceed the pledged amount, the additional funding will be applied to the gift purpose as stated in the gift documentation.
Giving an endowment gift to Washington University is a meaningful investment in a brighter future for our world. Donor-endowed gifts create a permanent legacy that supports and sustains the vigor and advancement of Washington University. An endowment gift may honor or memorialize an individual or an organization, and the cumulative impact of endowed gifts from generations of donors guarantee permanent support of the work of our faculty and the education of our students.
Washington University has established minimum gift levels required to create endowments for various purposes in order to ensure that the income generated from the endowed fund significantly enhances the educational experience of our students and provides substantial support for the research and scholarship of our faculty, as well as the university’s many important programs and initiatives.
Naming opportunities and donor recognition
A naming opportunity is a mark of distinction for both the donor and the university. Therefore, care and consideration should be taken to ensure that each named opportunity is consistent with the university’s mission and vision.
In the unlikely event that circumstances substantially change and/or the continued use of a name associated with a fund, academic entity, or facility or named space compromises the integrity, reputation, and/or public trust of the university, the university retains the right to remove or discontinue the use of such name. The university will confer with the donor to the extent practicable about any anticipated changes.
The university shall have the authority to revoke the name of a fund, academic entity, or facility or named space in the event that the donor does not fulfill the pledge or intention.
Last updated October 16, 2023