Distinguishing Between Gifts & Sponsored Awards
This procedure is intended to assist Principal Investigators (PIs) and department business personnel in determining how to process awards and where to deposit funds received by the department, especially in those cases when standard University procedures have not been followed.
- Gifts and sponsored awards are made to the University in a variety of forms, reflecting the diversity of sponsors as well as their purposes.
- The language used by a donor or sponsor in providing support is generally the source for making a distinction between a sponsored award and gift; however, sometimes the wording of the governing document makes it difficult to determine whether the document represents a sponsored award or gift.
- If in doubt, contact Research and Sponsored Program Development (RSPD). RSPD, in consultation with Grants & Contracts Accounting (G&C), will make the final determination as to whether the funding in question shall be treated as a sponsored award or a gift.
A sponsored award is funding from an external entity such as a private foundation, corporation, and state or federal agency for an activity with a defined scope and purpose undertaken by the University with the expectation of an outcome that directly benefits the provider.
- Sponsored awards, which include both grants and contracts, bind the University to a set of specific terms and conditions and involve a related reciprocal transfer of something of value to the sponsor. In general, contracts contain a more precisely state expectation of a definable work product on some set schedule as a condition of payment. Also, contracts generally provide for tighter control by the sponsor over the scope of work and utilization of funds.
- Sponsored awards are charged Facilities and Administrative (F&A) Costs, whether identified in the award or not, unless the sponsor has a written policy that precludes such recovery, and the University has accepted the award with this restriction. The rates to be applied are the University's Federally Negotiated Rates.
Support of the University that does not include the above conditions viewed as a gift may be managed within the recipient's department or unit.
- A gift is any item of value given to the University by a donor who expects nothing significant of value in return, other than recognition and disposition of the gift in accordance with the donor's wishes.
- Although a donor may place some restrictions on the use or disposition of a gift and may require a report that demonstrates the donor's wishes have been met, these terms do not make the gift a sponsored award. Such "restricted gifts" essentially create a fiduciary responsibility in which the University, by accepting the gift, is obligated to carry out the wishes of the donor.
How to Distinguish
The language used by a donor or sponsor is generally the source for making a distinction between a sponsored award and a gift. The resource tool below may assist with determining if a gift or sponsored award relationship exists. Sponsored award instruments may include some or all the requirements and conditions.
Gifts may be unrestricted or may include some or all the restrictions. This tool is not inclusive of every requirement or condition.
|Requirement or Condition||Gift||Sponsored Award|
|Publication & Reporting||
|Accounting & Financial Reports||
|Project Direction or Mentoring||
|Period of Performance||
Terms include a period of performance that is specific for defining allowability of expenditures or other purposes.