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We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

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Gift Acceptance Policy

Classification number LCG 1130
Framework category Legal, Compliance and Governance
Approving authority Board of Governors
Policy owner Vice-President, External Relations and Advancement
Approval date June 18, 2014
Review date June 2017
Last updated Editorial Amendments, February 18, 2020
Supersedes Gift Acceptance Policy (May 2005)

Purpose

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology welcomes gifts that enable it to fulfill its vision as a market-driven University through excellence in teaching and learning, value-added research, and vibrant student life.

Through the promotion of voluntarism and philanthropy, the Advancement Office provides central fund-raising support to assist the University. Federal and provincial governments encourage voluntary gift support of charitable organizations such as the University, and provide substantial tax relief to donors. The significance of these tax laws makes it an important obligation of the University to record, acknowledge and manage all gifts received.

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines to ensure the orderly acceptance, processing, gift receipting, acknowledgement, recognition and management of all gifts to the University.

Definitions

For the purposes of this policy the following definitions apply:

“Charitable Grants” means revenues received by the University from public and private foundations for the support of University programs/projects. Such grants are made without expectation of tangible return and are not eligible for a donation receipt.

“Contracts/ Research Agreements” means restricted payments received by the University from various contractors, made in accordance with the terms of contracts entered into by the University to conduct specific programs.

“Deferred gift” means any charitable gift arrangement in which the institution’s use of the asset is delayed to some future time. Deferred gifts include estate gifts (bequests), life insurance policies, retirement funds, charitable remainder trusts, and gifts of residual interest.

•   “Estate Gifts (bequests)” consist of cash and/or property left to the University by means of a will.

•   “Life Insurance Gifts” consist of gifts of insurance policies, either i) paid-up and irrevocably assigned to the University, or ii) irrevocably assigned on which premiums are still owed. If a donor continues to pay the premiums, either to an insurance company directly, or through the University, the premiums are a charitable gift. Premiums paid are eligible for an official donation receipt.

•   “Retirement Fund Gifts” consist of registered retirement savings plan (RRSP), registered retirement income fund (RRIF) or tax-free savings account (TFSA) assets where a donor has named the University as beneficiary of all (or a portion) of the accumulated funds on account at the time of death.

•   “Charitable Remainder Trust” means an irrevocable trust established by a donor that pays income to one or more individual beneficiaries for life or a term of years and then distributes the remaining assets to the University.

•   “Gifts of Residual Interest” means gifts of a ‘future interest’ in real property, made by a donor who retains a ‘present interest’ for their lifetime. By written agreement, the donor enjoys the asset for life (or a term of years) and then the asset transfers to the University.  

“Designated gift” means a gift 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 faculty or program.

“Donor” means a person, foundation, or corporation that makes a gift that is eligible for a donation receipt.

“Endowed fund” means a principal sum, set aside permanently and invested by the University, with only the income (all or a portion thereof) used to support specific programs or projects, often based on donor direction.

“Endowed fund agreement” means a document describing the name, purpose, funding, and administration of an endowed fund, normally signed by the donor and the University.

“Endowment” means a term used to denote the total value of the University’s endowed funds.

“Expendable gift” means a gift, grant or bequest given to the University, which the donor has directed is to be immediately used in support of various programs or projects.

“Fair market value” means the price at which a fully-informed seller, who is under no compulsion to sell, would be willing to sell an asset to a fully-informed buyer, who is under no compulsion to buy, where both parties are acting independently of each other. Fair market value does not include any amounts paid or payable to other parties such as sales agents or sales taxes such as HST, GST and/or PST.

“Gift” mean a voluntary transfer of cash and/or kind, from individuals, industry, foundations and other sources to the University for either unrestricted or restricted utilization in the operation of the University. Gifts are made without expectation of tangible return; no consideration – no benefit of any kind – to the donor or to anyone designated by the donor may result from these contributions. Gifts may be monetary (cash or cheques) or non-monetary (e.g. securities, real property, or personal property).

“Gift-in-kind” means donated tangible and intangible assets and property such as real estate, notes, mortgages, limited partnership interests, royalty or copyright interests, art, books, equipment, automobiles, inventory, personal property, securities, and other physical assets or materials which represent value to the University.

 “Gift Pledge” means any written document describing a donor’s revocable promise to make a gift to the University over some pre-determined time. Gift commitments to the University are normally "pledged" for payment up to a maximum of five years, depending on the size of the gift and the nature of the appeal. 

 “Grants” means revenues received by the University from individuals, industry, governments, and other sources, for the support of University programs/projects, usually as part of a contracted agreement.

“Income Tax Act” means the Income Tax Act, RSC, 1985, c. 1 (5th supp.).

“Outright gift” means a gift which is available for the University to use now. Also called a present or current gift.

 “Restricted” is a term applied to a gift, grant or bequest, given to the University, where the donor or granting and contracting organization has specified that the contribution is to be used to support specific programs or projects.

“Retained gift” means a gift, grant or bequest given to the University, to be held permanently for the income derived, generally as part of the University's endowment.

“Undesignated gift” means a gift given to the University, where the donor has not specified where in the University the support is to be directed.

“Unrestricted” is a term applied to a gift, grant or bequest, given to the University, where the donor or granting organization has not specified how the contribution is to be used.

“Official donation receipt” means a statement issued by the University to donors that includes the charity registration number issued to the University by CRA, a declaration as to the value of the gift, date of the gift, name of the donor, date of the receipt and receipt serial number. Receipts are normally accepted by CRA to support the calculation of the allowable "non-refundable tax credits".

“Planned gift” means a voluntary gift of any kind, in any amount, given for any purpose – operations, capital expansion, or endowment – either outright or deferred, where the assistance of a qualified volunteer, professional staff person, or the donor’s own advisor(s) is needed to help complete the transaction.

Scope and authority

This policy applies to the acceptance of all Gifts and Grants made to the University, whether such gifts are inter vivo (lifetime) gifts or gifts received from estates.

Policy

General

  1. Gifts to the University must align with the mission and academic priorities of the institution.  The most desirable gifts are unrestricted gifts, as those funds allow the University to address its most pressing needs.
  2. The University may elect to accept or decline any gift.  

Responsibilities and Accountabilities

  1. The Vice-President, External Relations and Advancement (or his/her designate) is authorized by the President to negotiate gifts and create and execute gift agreements with prospective donors, if deemed appropriate. All gift agreements will be authorized by the Vice-President, External Relations and Advancement (or his/her designate) as per the University Signing Authority policy
  2. The Advancement Office is responsible for issuing official donation receipts for all charitable gifts received by the University in compliance with the requirements of the Income Tax Act, and in accordance with procedures established by the University.
  3. In order to ensure the continued effectiveness of this policy, the Office of the Vice-President, External Relations and Advancement is responsible for initiating a review of the policy and its associated procedures every three years.

Gift Eligibility

  1. The following gifts are deemed eligible for acceptance by the University:
    • Outright gifts of cash, cheques, or equivalents;
    • Gifts-in-kind, including publicly listed securities;
    • Gifts of Life Insurance;
    • Gift Annuities (re-insured);
    • Gifts of residual interest;
    • Trust agreements;
    • Estate Gifts by Will (Bequests);
    • Charitable Remainder Trusts;
    • Gifts of Retirement Funds (RRSP/RRIF plan accumulations);
    • Gifts of real estate;
    • Shares in privately-owned companies.
  2. Acceptance and acknowledgement of Gifts are done in accordance with the Gift Acceptance Procedures and any amendments thereto.

Gift Limitations

When conditions placed on a gift offer are judged not to be in the University's best interest, or do not align with the University's mission, values (integrity, respect for the individual, educational justice, academic freedom and academic excellence) or ethics, the Vice-President, External Relations and Advancement (or his/her designate), in consultation with other University officials, may request that the terms of the gift be revised, or recommend that the gift be declined. This process may be initiated either by the Office of the Vice-President, External Relations and Advancement or other authorized University official.

Responsibility to Donors

While the primary interest of the University's Advancement Office is to seek donations, it has an ethical responsibility to both the donor and the University. In all matters involving a donor, the interest of the donor will be taken into account. Accordingly, professional staff, volunteers and members of the Board will adhere to the following principles:

  1. Conflict of Interest

    In cases of potential conflict of interest, those acting on behalf of the University must declare the conflict and allow an impartial individual to act for the institution. A conflict of interest is deemed to occur when individuals who present themselves as representatives of the University attempt to sell their own product to the donor; however, if the individuals present themselves as representatives of an outside firm and part of their financial counseling involves arranging planned gifts for the University, no conflict would exist.

  2. Legal and Other Professional Counsel

    1. Professional staff and members of the Board shall in all cases encourage the donor to discuss proposed gifts with an independent financial planner, legal adviser and/or tax adviser of the donor's choice and at the donor's expense, to ensure that the donor receives a full and accurate explanation of all aspects of the proposed charitable gift.
    2. As a service to the donor, the University may draft the gift agreement or other legal documents providing for a gift to the University, or assist the donor's legal counsel in drafting such documents. In these cases, the University will accept the responsibility for the fees incurred by its own legal counsel. If a potential conflict of interest exists, the University shall declare such conflict to the donor before proceeding. In the case of instruments drafted solely by the donor's lawyer, counsel for the University may review such documents before they are accepted.
  3. Ethics
    All professional staff, volunteers and members of the Board will conduct themselves in accordance with accepted professional standards of accuracy, truth and integrity. They will inform, serve, guide and otherwise assist donors who wish to support the University's activities but not pressure or unduly persuade.

  4. Direction of Gifts

    All donors can choose to have their gifts fully expended or endowed, and can direct their gifts to specific Faculties/departments, varsity teams or projects. The use of the gift may affect whether it can be expended or endowed. On rare occasions, a gift may be declined as a result of the restrictions on the gift.

  5. Documentation

    1. The Office of the Vice-President, External Relations and Advancement (or his/her designate) will develop practices and procedures for the documentation of gifts and their designations to ensure that the donor's wishes are articulated and met.
    2. Gift agreements will be recommended to the donor for outright gifts of $25,000 or more. Terms of reference will be prepared for all deferred gifts with an estimated value of $25,000 or more. Endowed fund agreements will be prepared for all named endowed funds.

  6. Privacy

    The University and its representatives will protect personal information of all individual donors and adhere to all legislative requirements with respect to protecting privacy.

Named Gifts

The proposal and acceptance of named gifts is in accordance with the Naming of Physical University Assets Policy and any amendments thereto.

Relevant Legislation

Income Tax Act, RSC, 1985, c. 1 (5th supp.).

Related Policies, Procedures & Documents

Gift Acceptance Procedures

Naming of Physical University Assets Policy

Signing Authority Policy

Planned Giving Program Guidelines