Policy Statement: This policy sets out core principles and considerations that guide Yale’s decisions regarding whether to accept a gift, return a gift, or redirect or modify the terms of an accepted gift; and it describes Yale’s gift acceptance review process.
Scope: This policy applies to any staff or faculty member who solicits, accepts, or manages gifts on behalf of the university.
A. Acceptance, Return, and Redirection of Gifts
1. Acceptance of Gifts
The university accepts gifts in support of its mission that do not infringe academic freedom; present a conflict of interest; impose undue risks or burdens of a financial, reputational or other nature; or violate the law.
1.1 Academic Freedom. All gifts must align with the university’s mission. Gifts and gift conditions will not be accepted that interfere with the university’s decision- making autonomy, including in admissions, appointments and promotions, the conduct of research, the construction and use of facilities, curriculum development, or financial aid; or that otherwise infringe a faculty member’s academic freedom in teaching, scholarship, research, or practice.
1.2 Conflict of Interest. Gifts will not be accepted that the university determines could appear to be made for the primary purpose of personally benefiting the donor or could unduly influence or undermine the integrity of a university admission, employment, or purchasing decision.
1.3 Undue Burden or Risk. Gifts will not be accepted that impose a disproportionate burden on the university with respect to financial, administrative, and other costs; or that are likely to have a significant negative impact on the university community that would frustrate the purpose of the gift.
1.4 Lawfully Obtained. Gifts of property must have documented provenance, and the source of gift funds must be lawful.
2. Return of Gifts
There is a strong presumption that the university will not return an accepted gift. This presumption respects donor intent and expectations. In exceptional circumstances, the university may return a gift if, based on information not known when the gift was accepted, it determines that the gift would have violated its gift acceptance principles. Before accepting a gift, the university thoroughly considers these principles. Therefore, any after-acquired information must be of such a nature that a violation of those principles has become demonstrably clear.
3. Redirection of Gifts
In exceptional circumstances, the university may decide to redirect the use or modify the terms of a gift. Such circumstances may exist when, due to circumstances beyond the university’s control, it is impossible or impracticable to continue to use the gift as designated without significantly frustrating its intended purpose. The university makes such decisions in consultation with the donor if possible, and in accordance with law governing the management of institutional funds, which may require legal process and approval.
B. Review and Approval of Proposed Gifts
1. Preapproved Gift Opportunities
The Office of Development maintains a comprehensive catalogue of approved giving opportunities. This catalogue includes gifts to support financial aid, faculty research, libraries and collections, and identified programmatic priorities. The provost or the relevant dean approves all gift opportunities in the catalogue.
2. Endowed or Substantial Spendable Gifts
Proposed endowed gifts, and proposed spendable gifts in an amount greater than
$100,000, to a centrally supported school or unit are reviewed and approved by the provost or provost’s designee, who may consult with the office of the general counsel. Proposed gifts to self-support schools are reviewed and may be approved by the school’s dean, provided that they are consistent with this policy and the school’s long-term programmatic and financial plan approved by the provost.
3. Gifts for Facilities
Proposed named gifts related to facilities are reviewed and approved by the president and the provost. Approved facilities naming opportunities and the required funding levels are listed in the catalogue of approved giving opportunities.
4. Gifts for New Programs or Centers
Proposed gifts that would fund a new program or center are reviewed and approved by the provost and, in appropriate circumstances the president, after close consultation with any appropriate dean.
5. Additional Review and Consultation
When the decision whether to accept a proposed gift may require additional consideration, such as when a donor has no prior relationship with the university or the gift is of a nonstandard property interest, additional analysis and advice will be sought as appropriate from the offices of development, finance, general counsel and/or the provost.