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Gifts vs. Grants

 Investigators working with new sponsors should attempt to clarify whether funding will be made available in the form of a gift or a grant. Gifts and grants are handled by two separate TUC units and each carry their own distinct sets of policies and procedures. 

In some cases, the distinction between a gift and a sponsored award (grant or contract) is ambiguous and requires consideration of many factors. 

The following factors are normally indicative of a gift:

  • Use of the funds is directly related to the University's mission
  • The donor receives no value, or only nominal value, in exchange for the support provided
  • No detailed scope of work, budget, or period of performance is specified by the donor or promised by the University (the general area of work to be supported may be specified)
  • There is no line-item budget, nor any restriction on the use of funds (as long as the use is consistent with the donor’s original, accepted, stipulations)
  • There is no requirement to return unexpended funds to the donor

The following factors are normally indicative of a sponsored project:

  • A line-item budget for the expenditure of funds for the project activity
  • A detailed statement of the planned activity or scope of work
  • A specified period of performance as a term and condition
  • A commitment by TUC to provide “deliverables” (e.g., products or periodic technical or progress reports)
  • Fiscal accountability, such as submission of financial reports, audit provisions, sponsor prior approval of or control over expenditures, and/or an obligation to return unexpended funds

If you have need assistance in determining if funding is a gift or support for a sponsored project, please reference the Gift vs Grant Checklist and reach out to OSP to discuss.