Gifts in Support of Research

Why gifts are important to Stanford

  1. Tuition covers only about two-thirds of the real cost of undergraduate education. Even those who pay full price have benefited from the generosity of alumni, parents, and friends.

  2. Nearly half of all Stanford undergrads depend on need-based scholarships from the University.

  3. More than 3,200 students received need-based financial aid directly from Stanford in 2013–14. We're one of the few universities that meet 100% of every family's demonstrated need.

  4. Stanford's endowment covers only about 23% of the University's budget. Stanford's endowment is not small ($21.4 billion as of August 31, 2014) but must be measured against Stanford's big mission. The University must fund more than two-thirds of its operating expenses from other sources. The amount of endowment spent each year (about 5%) is carefully calibrated to enable these funds to support their purposes in perpetuity.

  5. Most gifts are restricted. The majority of gifts to Stanford, and more than half of endowment funds, are directed toward particular schools, departments, or programs. Annual, expendable gifts provide vital flexibility.

  6. Federal funding has declined. Federal support for University research is significant, but it's been declining for years in real dollars. The current budget environment makes such funding even more precarious.

  7. Stanford's mission is global. We're one of the few institutions in the world with the depth and breadth to help address complex, global problems. Big ideas can be expensive. Making a difference is worth it.

  8. Every gift makes a difference. Most gifts made to Stanford are under $1,000. But together they add up to millions for financial aid, academics, research, and other programs.

Policies Pertaining to Gifts

The Administrative Guide 

AGM 4.1 Gifts to the University provides detailed information about gifts to the University, including:

  • Definitions of gifts and non-gifts
  • Responsibilities of the Board of Trustees and other university officers
  • Descriptions of various gift classifications and how gifts may be designated
  • Tax considerations

AGM 4.2 Receiving and Processing Gifts describes:

  • Various types of gifts accepted by the University and
  • Proper procedures for processing,
  • Acknowledging, and recording gifts, including equipment, land, buildings, and special collections
  • Recording and processing donations of equipment
  • Special collections 
  • Naming Stanford University facilities and land features

The Research Policy Handbook

RPH 13.1 Definition of Sponsored Projects and Distinctions from Other Forms of Funding

  • Defines sponsored projects as distinguished from gifts, and outlines specific procedures for distinguishing one from the other.
  • Provides a matrix to help you determine whether funds are a gift or support of a sponsored project.
  • Provides a document intended to establish a mutual understanding when dealing with corporate or industry donors.

The Property Management Manual 

PMM 2.5 Donations and Gifts provides procedures for handling non-cash gifts and donations, including specific guidelines for:

  • Donations Use and Restrictions
  • Donations Intended for Immediate Sale
  • Non-Capital Asset Donations
  • Donation Documentation
  • Equipment Donation—Operational Procedure
  • Gift Acknowledgement
  • Federal Agency or Other Sponsor Furnished Equipment

Other Supporting Documents

 Crowdfunding for Stanford Research (8/11/15)


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