Main Content Region

Gift Acceptance Policy

Gift Acceptance Policy

Reviewed By: Anthony Evans, President
Reviewed By: Administrative Council on
Approved By: Albert K. Karnig, President on
Reviewed By: Administrative Council on
Approved By: Albert K. Karnig, President on
Reviewed By: Administrative Council on
Approved By: President Tomas D. Morales on
Reviewed By: Under Review
Approved By: Administrative Council
Reviewed By: Administrative Council on
Approved By: President Tomas D. Morales on

FOR INTERPRETATION OF THIS POLICY, PLEASE CONTACT: Office of Associate Vice President for Advancement Operations, 909/537-5644


The Division of University Advancement at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB), enhances the awareness of and support for the University among its diverse constituencies. Under the leadership of the Vice President for University Advancement, the University Advancement staff is committed to helping the University achieve its goals so that academic quality and service to the region can be maintained and advanced.

The CSUSB Fundraising Program

The Office of Philanthropic Giving within University Advancement at CSUSB strives to maintain a professional, donor-centric fundraising program that seeks philanthropic gifts to enhance the quality of CSUSB’s programs as well as the student’s educational experience. The program follows a traditional model in which fundraising activities evolve from needs and priorities established by the University’s senior leadership.

Fundraising Guidelines

Divisions and/ or departments who wish to solicit funds or property in the name of or for the benefit of the University must communicate their idea and intention to members of the Office of Philanthropic Giving staff, under the leadership of the Associate Vice President for Philanthropic Giving, prior to any approach to specific prospects such as individuals, foundations, or corporations. This requirement, which applies to all friends, volunteer groups, intercollegiate athletic programs, as well as to student and alumni groups, is intended to protect existing relationships between donors and campus representatives and to avoid over-solicitation of any individual or organization. In cases where a conflict appears to exist (e.g., two different academic units wishing to solicit the same individual or organization), the Vice President for University Advancement and the parties involved will work together to arrive at a satisfactory solution

The CSUSB Philanthropic Foundation

The CSUSB Philanthropic Foundation is a non-profit corporation that raises and manages gifts from individuals and other entities for the benefit CSUSB.  The Foundation is comprised of business and civic leaders who care about CSUSB and who advance its mission by seeking and securing private support for all its programs.  Overseen by the Board of Directors and staffed by a team of advancement professionals who are University employees, the Foundation administers and records all gifts in accordance with donors’ wishes. Established in 2011, under California law, the Foundation is the catalyst and conduit through which gifts and endowment income flows.  The Foundation is not an object of philanthropy itself, but a mechanism through which private support is raised and managed for the sole benefit of CSUSB.  The philanthropy received by the Foundation is managed by, and all corporate powers of the Foundation are vested in its Board of Directors.

Of increasing importance is the CSUSB Philanthropic Foundation's responsibility for the fiscal administration of all charitable contributions received on behalf of the University from individuals and other entities. All monies and gifts-in-kind received into the Foundation from these sources are routed through University Advancement to provide for proper recording and acknowledgment. Funds are invested according to policies established by the Foundation Board and disbursed according to donor specifications provided that these do not conflict with Foundation and CSUSB policies, and University Advancement procedures

Gift Acceptance

The Gift Acceptance Policy provides a set of standards by which gifts are reviewed, accepted, processed and receipted by the Foundation. Except for those gifts that are required to be authorized by the Gift Acceptance Committee, the Vice President for University Advancement or his/her designee, is the delegated authority to accept gifts. 

The Foundation recommends that all donors and prospective donors seek advice from their professional advisors to ensure their proposed giving meets their own charitable, financial and estate planning goals. It is not within the purview of CSUSB or University Advancement staff to provide legal, accounting or tax advice to prospective donors. 

The Foundation may accept unrestricted gifts and gifts designated towards specific programs, scholarships and other restricted purposes, provided that such gifts are consistent with its bylaws and the mission, purposes and priorities of CSUSB.

Types of Gifts

  • Cash
  • Tangible personal property
  • Securities
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Real Estate
  • Remainder Interests in Property
  • Mineral, oil, and gas interests
  • Bargain sales
  • Life insurance policies
  • Charitable gift annuities
  • Charitable remainder trusts
  • Charitable lead trusts
  • Retirement plan beneficiary designations
  • Bequests

Criteria for Acceptance of Gift Types

A gift is defined as any contribution received by CSUSB for either unrestricted or restricted use in the furtherance of CSUSB’s mission that involves a transfer of money or property from a donor without reciprocity.  CSUSB and the Foundation follow IRS Regulations and Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) guidelines for gift acceptance.

Cash – gifts may be accepted in the form of cash, checks or credit cards. Credit card fees are at the expense of the Foundation. 

Tangible Personal Property/Gifts-in-Kind – Acceptance of all gifts of tangible personal property shall be governed by CSUSB’s Gifts-in-Kind Acceptance Procedure. The final determination on the authorization to accept tangible property gifts may be made by the Gift Acceptance Committee. 

  • Once gifts-in-kind have been valued and processed, those items will then be transferred to the appropriate stateside campus organization, depending on the gift, in partnership with the Procurement Office in the Division of Administration and Finance. This would include gifts that would be maintained by the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art (for works of art to be held in the museum’s permanent collection), John M. Pfau Library, colleges, divisions and the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus.

Gifts of Software – In order for the Foundation to accept a gift of software, the donor must irrevocably transfer ownership of the property to the University. There must be no implicit or explicit statement of exchange, purchase of services, or provision of exclusive information. 

Publicly Traded Securities – Gifts of securities and mutual funds regularly traded on a public stock exchange shall be sold upon receipt unless otherwise agreed by the Gift Acceptance Committee. No employee or volunteer working on behalf of the Foundation may commit to a donor that a particular security will be held by the Foundation, sold through a specific broker or traded on instruction of the donor without the approval of the Executive Director of the Foundation. In some cases, applicable securities laws may restrict the sale of marketable securities; in such instances, the Gift Acceptance Committee shall make the final determination on the authorization to accept the restricted securities. 

Closely Held Securities – Closely held securities include not only debt and equity positions in non-publicly traded companies but also interests in LLPs and LLCs or other ownership forms. These gifts must be reviewed prior to acceptance to determine that: 

  • There are no restrictions on the security that would prevent ultimately converting these assets to cash; 
  • The security is or will be marketable; and 
  • The security will not generate any unacceptable tax or other consequences or liabilities for CSUSB and the Foundation 
  • Upon consultation with investment advisors and Foundation legal counsel, efforts will be made to sell non- marketable securities to maximize return on investment. The final determination on the authorization to accept closely held securities shall be made by the Gift Acceptance Committee. 

Cryptocurrency – Virtual currency/digital assets are classified as a property asset by the IRS and are subject to qualified third-party appraisal requirements if donor intends to claim a deduction over $5000. Cryptocurrency gifts reviewed and accepted upon recommendation from the Gift Acceptance Committee may be sold upon receipt unless otherwise agreed by the Gift Acceptance Committee. If the Gift Acceptance Committee decides it will not accept a gift of cryptocurrency directly, the Foundation may still encourage donors to work with a Foundation-preferred third party to accept the gift of cryptocurrency, and indirectly support the Foundation. For example, the donor could make the gift to a donor-advised fund (DAF) sponsor, and later recommend grants from the DAF to the Foundation.

Real Estate – The Foundation, upon recommendation of the Executive Committee and the Gift Acceptance Committee and in consultation with external advisors, has authority to accept real estate gifts, either outright or in trust, and whether or not intended for prompt conversion to cash, subject to the following parameters and CSUSB’s Gifts-in-Kind Acceptance Procedure. 

Gifts of real estate are limited to the following:

  • Donated real property that may be sold or otherwise conveyed at fair market value; 
  • Donated real property that generates an income stream to support the educational mission; and, 
  • Donated real property used for programmatic purposes. The title is in a form satisfactory to the University and/or the Foundation. A current (within 60 days) qualified appraisal of the fair market value of the property, paid for by the donor, has been received and reviewed and together with a site inspection, does not reveal any leases, easements, encumbrances, conditions, or other limitations that would decrease the value of the property
  • If the review performed in the preceding paragraph notes the potential existence of environmental risks, a Phase I environmental impact study is conducted, and the results of that study conclude the property does not present an unacceptable level of environmental risk. 
  • The donor confirms that the donor is not under any legal obligation to sell or otherwise convey the property to a third party. Gifts of mortgaged property are not typically accepted.
  • Donor has acknowledged and concurred regarding any holding or other administration costs that may be deducted from the sale of the property before the net proceeds are distributed in accordance with donor restrictions. 
  • Donated real property may be sold or otherwise conveyed at fair market value, consistent with any gift restrictions and upon concurrence by the Executive Director of the Philanthropic Foundation. Generally, donated property will be sold at the first opportunity. Additional procedures are addressed in CSUSB’s University Advancement procedures for Gifts-in-Kind acceptance.

Remainder Interests in Property or Retained Life Estate – The Foundation may accept a remainder interest subject to the provisions for accepting real estate gifts herein. In the case of the retained life estate, a donor may irrevocably give a personal residence or vacation home and reserve the use of the property for life or a term of years. Where the Foundation receives a gift of a remainder interest, all expenses for maintenance, insurance, real estate taxes, other carrying costs, and any property indebtedness are to be paid by the donor or primary beneficiary. 

Mineral, Oil, and Gas, (MOG) Interests – The Foundation may accept oil, gas and mineral property interests, when appropriate. Prior to acceptance of an oil, gas and mineral interest the gift shall be approved by the Gift Acceptance Committee, and if necessary, by appropriate legal counsel and external advisors. Criteria for acceptance of the MOG interest shall include: 

  • Gifts shall have specified minimum values and yearly income. 
  • A review of the history of the property, known occupants and a site inspection conducted by the Division of Administration and Finance (or designee), reveals no extended liabilities or other considerations that make receipt of the gift inappropriate. 
  • A working interest is rarely accepted. A working interest may only be accepted where and when there is a plan to minimize potential liability and tax consequences. 
  • The property must undergo an environmental review to ensure that neither CSUSB nor the Foundation has any current or potential exposure to environmental liability. The cost of this review may be paid by the donor(s) or the Foundation, subject to negotiation at the time of gift review. 

Bargain Sales – The Foundation may enter into bargain sale arrangements which are part gift/part sale and may include any type of property acceptable as a gift in kind. All bargain sales, including the source of funds to complete the sale, must be reviewed and recommended by the Gift Acceptance Committee and approved by the Foundation board, as appropriate. 

Life Insurance – The Foundation must be named as both owner and irrevocable beneficiary of an insurance policy before a life insurance policy can be recorded as a gift. A gift of a life insurance policy will not be accepted unless there is a clear and enforceable plan for payment of future premiums. 

Charitable Gift Annuities – The Foundation’s gift annuity program is administered through The CSU Foundation. The CSU Foundation uses rate tables prepared by the American Council on Gift Annuities, a national non-profit organization. Annuity rates are determined by the age of the annuitant(s). The minimum age of annuitants is fifty-five years of age at the time income payments begin. 

Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRT) – The Foundation may accept designation as Trustee of a CRT with the approval of the Gift Acceptance Committee if at least 50 percent of the trust remainder is designated irrevocably to the Foundation. If less than 50 percent, the delegated authority for the Foundation may accept a designation as a beneficiary for a CRT. 

Charitable Lead Trusts (CLT) – The Foundation may accept a designation as income beneficiary of a CLT and may accept an appointment as Trustee of a CLT on a case-by-case basis as approved by the Gift Acceptance Committee. 

Retirement Plan Beneficiary Designations – Donors and supporters of CSUSB may name the Foundation as beneficiary of a retirement plan. Such designations will be recorded as a gift expectancy to CSUSB at the current face value if the plan holder meets age minimum. 

Life Insurance Beneficiary Designations - Donors and supporters of CSUSB may name the Foundation as beneficiary or contingent beneficiary of their life insurance policies. Primary beneficiary designations may be recorded as a gift expectancy to CSUSB at the current face value, subject to age minimum, and as gifts at the time the designation becomes irrevocable.

Bequests – Donors and supporters of CSUSB may make bequests to the Foundation through wills and trusts. Such bequests, revocable or irrevocable, will be recorded as a gift expectancy to CSUSB at the current face value provided the donors meet minimum age and documentation requirements. 

Property not otherwise described above, whether real or personal, of any type (including copyrights, trademarks, royalties, servitudes, easements or other incorporeal rights) will follow CSUSB’s University Advancement’s GIK Acceptance Procedures and may be accepted only after review and approval by the Gift Acceptance Committee.

The Foundation will not accept gifts that are determined to be too restrictive in purpose. Gifts that conflict with the terms of the Foundation’s charter, gifts that are too difficult or costly to administer or that may incur liability, gifts that are for purposes outside the mission of CSUSB or those that diminish the academic integrity or reputation of the institution will not be accepted. All final decisions on the restrictive nature of a gift, and its acceptance or refusal, may be directed to the Gift Acceptance Committee. 

The Foundation Gift Acceptance Committee shall consist of the University’s Vice President Cabinet which consists of: 

  • The Vice President for University Advancement (chair) 
  • The Vice President for Administration and Finance 
  • The Vice President for Human Resources
  • The Vice President for Student Affairs
  • The Vice President for Information Technology and Services
  • University Provost 

The committee is responsible for authorizing the acceptance of gifts that fall outside the purview of standard fundraising operations. Examples of such gifts may include: 

  • Outright gifts of real property or an interest in real property 
  • Gifts that require construction/renovation of facilities not previously authorized by the University 
  • Gifts of real or illiquid property when a bequest is realized 
  • Gifts of cryptocurrency/digital assets
  • Gifts of artwork, archives, literary collections, historic papers and other creative gifts, other than those accepted with the intent to market and convert to cash. (The Art Acquisition Committee will recommend to accept/not accept works of art to the Gift Acceptance Committee. The RAFFMA Acquisition Committee must approve gifts to the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art.)

Fundraising Expenses

A percentage of all undesignated income is identified each year to promote the success of the University’s Advancement program. In an effort to secure a permanent and reliable source of funding for University Advancement and its fundraising programs, all charitable gifts received by the Foundation are required to provide a one-time amount equivalent to five percent (5%) of the principal of the total gift. These monies are directed to a dedicated fund to support campus-wide University Advancement and Philanthropic Giving efforts.

Review of Policy

The Gift Acceptance Policy will be reviewed by University Advancement periodically and at least every five years to determine if any amendments are needed to reflect changes in law or to address new scenarios not referenced above. Any gifts not governed in this policy will be addressed in CSUSB’s University Advancement procedures for gift acceptance.