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Gift Acceptance

1.1     SUBJECT
Policy for the acceptance of gifts by Nipissing University.
1.2     PURPOSE
The purpose of this Policy is to address the principles to be followed by the University in matters of gift acceptance.  The acceptance of gifts by the University will be informed by the terms of this Policy.  In addition the Policy provides guidelines that ensure gifts are receipted in accordance with the requirements of the Income Tax Act. 
1.3     SCOPE
This Policy governs the acceptance of all gifts made to Nipissing University.
2.1     GIFT(S)
Registered charities rely on the Income Tax Act, CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) Interpretation Bulletins, Information Circulars and jurisprudence (court rulings on CRA challenges of taxpayers' deductions of charitable donations) to guide them in defining a charitable gift and the issuance of charitable donation receipts.
The Income Tax Act does not specifically define a gift, but Interpretation Bulletin IT-110R3 defines a gift as:
a voluntary transfer of property with valuable consideration. Generally a gift is made if all three of the conditions listed below are satisfied:
  • some property -- usually cash -- is transferred by a donor to a registered charity; and
  • the transfer is voluntary; and
  • the transfer is made without expectation of return. No benefit of any kind may be provided to the donor or to anyone designated by the donor, except where the benefit is of nominal value.
Accordingly to guide its operations, the following definition of gift(s) shall apply in this Policy: A gift is a voluntary transfer of cash or in kind, from individuals, corporations, associations, foundations or other sources to the University for either designated or undesignated utilization in the operation of the University.  Gifts are made without expectation of return or benefit to the donor or any individual or company designated by the donor as a result of acceptance of the gift.
The following definitions shall apply in the Policy:
Designated gifts: Gifts given to the University, where the donor has specified where in the University the support is to be directed.  Gifts may be “designated”, for instance, to a particular college or school.
Undesignated gifts: Gifts given to the University, where the donor has not specified where in the University the support is to be directed.
The University recognizes the need to receive gifts to help support its teaching and research programs.  It values its public and private-sector partnerships, its relationship with donors and supporters, and welcomes gifts that support its academic mission.  Gifts that support the University’s academic mission are a vital source of additional funding.
Gifts from the following sources are deemed eligible for receipt:
  • Cash, cheques, or securities
  • Gifts-in-kind
  • Life insurance
  • Annuity contracts
  • Property
  • Gifts of residual interest
  • Trust agreements
  • Bequests
  • Donor Advised Funds
  • Gifts of Retirement Plans
  • Charitable Remainder Trust
  • Charitable Gift Annuities             
  • Other
  • The University’s solicitation of gifts is informed by and consistent with priorities established by the University.
  • Although the University is appreciative of all gifts offered, it will not accept gifts if such acceptance results in an abridgement of its academic freedom, autonomy and integrity.
  • The University will not accept gifts it determines may violate federal, provincial or municipal laws.
  • Designated gifts will be used for the purpose for which they are given.  Undesignated gifts will be used for such purposes as the University determines most appropriate, based on the priorities of the institution.
  • Occasionally, funds sought and contributed for a University purpose are insufficient to make the project viable.  If the University is unable to proceed, benefactors will be invited to redirect their contributions to an analogous purpose, and / or to curtail future pledged payments.
  • The University reserves the right to decline or return gifts that it determines require expenditures beyond its resources, pose a significant financial or reputational risk, diverge from the University’s commitment to academic freedom, autonomy and integrity, or, in any other manner, run counter to the best interests of the University.
  • The acceptance of all gifts must comply with all relevant University policies and guidelines including, but not limited, to the Naming of Campus Assets Policy, Endowment Fund Statement of Investment, Objectives, Policies and Governance.
  • Anonymity will be granted to any donor who makes this request in keeping with legal stipulations. 
The Office of External Relations and Advancement is responsible for the protocols and procedures to accept all gifts. The following Guidelines will govern its work:
  • Ownership of each gift vests legally in the University, regardless of the specific unit or activity to which such gift is directed.
  • It is the University’s expectation that commitments between the donor and the University in relation to gift acceptance will be clearly documented as part of the gift agreement.  These donor agreements will be subject to the University’s statement on Protection of Privacy and Access to Information and applicable law.
  • All gifts will be handled in accordance with the commitments made to the donor by the University, which are consistent with University policies, applicable law, including but not limited to, the Income Tax Act, and Canada Revenue Agency guidelines on charitable donations.
  • All charitable donations accepted by the University will be receipted in accordance with Nipissing’s Charitable Tax Receipt Issuance Procedure.
  • Public recognition will be accorded based on the level of the gift and in accordance with Nipissing University’s Donor Recognition Guidelines as established by the Office of External Relations and Advancement.
The following procedures have been developed in order to implement the above-noted principles and guidelines and to provide opportunity for careful and systematic reflection prior to the acceptance of gifts by the University.
  • The President is delegated authority from the Board of Governors to make decisions concerning acceptance of gifts in accordance with this Policy and is accountable to the Board for implementation of this responsibility.
  • The President may in turn delegate responsibility to the Office of External Relations and Advancement and / or to other Members of its Executive it deems appropriate and in keeping with the Policy.
  • The President and / or delegates may seek input from the Board of Governors Advancement Committee pertaining to acceptability of a proposed gift.
  • The President and / or delegates are responsible for ensuring that all resource implications arising from acceptance of gifts are appropriately incorporated in University planning and budgeting activities.
  • Nipissing University has an ethical responsibility to every donor and as such all staff, volunteers and professional representatives acting on behalf of the University will conduct themselves in accordance with accepted professional standards of accuracy, truth and integrity.  The University subscribes to the Donors Bill of Rights professional standards and code of behaviours as set out by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, and the Canadian Association of Gift Planners to serve as the ethical guidelines when raising funds for the University.
The President and / or delegates will provide an annual report for the Advancement Committee and the Board of Governors on the University’s gift acceptance record including reference to gifts declined, returned or any unique or precedent-setting aspects of gift transactions over the reporting period.
In order to ensure that this Policy continues to be effective, it shall be reviewed annually by the Board of Governors Advancement Committee. The Executive Director External Relations and Advancement is responsible for initiating this review.

The open session of the regular meeting of the Board of Governors was held on February 3, 2011 in the Nipissing University Boardroom F303.
Resolution 2011-02-04:  Moved by J.G. Lebel, seconded by B. Hatt that the Board of Governors accept the recommendation of the Advancement Committee that the Board approve the revised Gift Acceptance Policy dated January 2011. CARRIED.
Gift Acceptance Policy - January 2011

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