Determining Gifts vs. Grants

Grants and gifts differ in many important ways, and classifying funds appropriately is of utmost importance to ensure proper accounting and compliance with governmental regulations and University policies.  Here are some characteristics that can help distinguish between the two:

Grants

Gifts

Accepted and processed through the Office of Sponsored Programs

Accepted and processed by the Division of Philanthropic & Alumni Engagement

Involves a competitive application process in response to a funding opportunity announcement

Not made through a competitive application process

Requires financial reporting, audit provisions, or expectation that unused funds will be returned to the sponsor

May require only minimal fiscal accountability in the form of a general statement.

Bind the University to terms and conditions

Has a charitable intent and only generally obligates the University

Can refer to specific protocols that involve human subjects research, animal research, recombinant DNA, etc.

Does not refer to specific protocols that involve human subjects research, animal research, recombinant DNA, etc.

Payments are contingent upon meeting programmatic or fiscal reporting

Payments may be contingent upon the funder’s approval of the use of the proceeds of the award

Additional information on gifts vs. grants can be found in the University’s Financial Guideline.  Please contact the Office of Sponsored Programs if there is still uncertainty, and we can help assess the specific situation.  If external funds are categorized as a grant, the Associate Vice Provost for Research Operations has the authority to sign and accept the award on behalf of the University (see this previous Tip of the Week ADD CORRECT LINK for more details). 

Date

Thursday, March 9, 2017