This online version is for convenience; the official version of this policy is housed in the University Secretariat. In case of discrepancy between the online version and the official version held by the Secretariat, the official version shall prevail.
Approving Authority: Board of Governors
Original Approval Date: February 27, 1997
Date of Most Recent Review/Revision: November 28, 2019
Office of Accountability: Vice-President: Advancement & External Relations
Administrative Responsibility: Office of Advancement Services
1.01 Wilfrid Laurier University welcomes the donation of charitable gifts which enable it to fulfill its mission of advancing knowledge, supporting and enhancing high-quality undergraduate, graduate and professional education, and emphasizing co-curricular development of the whole student. While the university appreciates the generosity of prospective donors, the University may not be able to accept every gift.
1.02 The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance on matters of fundraising approval and gift acceptance, including the types of gifts we will accept, the process for acceptance, and the roles and responsibilities of those involved in gift acceptance.
2.01 Gift: means any voluntary transfer of real or personal property, including in kind property, from individuals, organizations or other sources (“donor”) to the university. A gift is made without expectation of return or benefit to the donor or any individual or organization designated by the donor as a result of acceptance of the gift.
2.02 Gifts-in-kind: also known as non-cash gifts, can be gifts of real property or other tangible or intangible items such as artwork, equipment, securities, cultural or ecological property. Note: per the Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”), a contribution of service, that is, of time, skills or efforts, is not property and, therefore, does not qualify as a gift or gift-in-kind for purposes of issuing official donation receipts.
3.01 This policy applies solely to philanthropic gifts (including gifts in kind) and prospective gifts; it does not apply to sponsorship, advertising, provincial/federal government grants, commercial or other contractual relationships between the University and third parties.
4.01.01 The following principles guide decisions made under this policy:
Gifts should advance the reputation, mission and priorities of the university in accordance with its values, guiding principles, governing documents and the law.
Each donor must be of such a reputation and standing that an association with that individual or organization would not reasonably compromise the university’s reputation, mission, priorities, values, guiding principles, autonomy, integrity or legal compliance.
Gifts should not have restrictions placed on them by the donor that are incompatible with Laurier’s mission, priorities, values, guiding principles, governing documents or the law, in particular, human rights or tax law.
The ownership and management of all gifts resides with the university, whether for the benefit of the university generally or for some specific purpose.
Gifts should not entail unacceptable financial or other risk and burden on the university.
Decisions under this policy are independent of appointment, admission, curriculum and other academic and business decisions. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, gifts should not require the university to give special consideration for employment, student registration or business transactions with the donor or any designate, or allow the donor to influence the teaching, learning or scholarship of a student, professor or academic program.
Decisions under this policy are strictly confidential until the university makes a public announcement.
4.01.02 The acceptance of gifts under this policy must comply with all applicable laws, university policies and procedures. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the university will ensure that it maintains its charitable status by following all legislation, regulations and guidance issued by the CRA in relation to its charitable activities.
4.01.03 Internally, fundraising activities associated with a gift must comply with 13.7 Policy for Ethical Fundraising Practices; naming must comply with 13.5 Naming of University Assets; Sponsorships must comply with 13.3 Advertising and Sponsorship Policy; and agreements associated with a gift must be negotiated, reviewed, approved and signed in accordance with this policy and associated procedures.
4.02 Roles and Responsibilities
4.02.01 The decision to accept or decline a gift rests with the Board of Governors or the committee or individual to which/whom the authority has been delegated by the Board in accordance with this policy or by resolution. In particular, prior approval by specific resolution or motion of the Board (or its designated committee) will be required with respect to the acceptance of:
a. any gift the value of which exceeds $5 million;
b. any gift which in the opinion of the President or Vice-President: Advancement & External Relations exposes the university to an uncertain and potentially significant liability;
c. any gift which in the opinion of the President or Vice-President: Advancement & External Relations is precedent-setting and involves sensitive issues;
d. any gift which in the opinion of the President or Vice-President: Advancement & External Relations is of above-average complexity, including gifts involving real property, residual interests, charitable remainder trusts11, assets with low liquidity, or certified cultural property.
e. any gift which a member of the Board of Governors requests be brought before the Board for approval.
4.02.02 For gifts that do not meet the above criteria, the university President has the authority or can delegate this authority to the Vice-President: Advancement & External Relations to accept the gift, provided the approvals under other applicable university policies have been obtained.
4.02.03 To support a coordinated approach to university fundraising and resource allocation, pre-approval for projects for which funds will be raised is required. All fundraising projects valued at or over $500,000 are managed through a central approval process led by the Vice-President: Advancement & External Relations in consultation with the Development Committee of the Board. Projects under $500,000 can be approved by the applicable Executive Leadership Team member in consultation with their Advancement representative.
4.02.04 The Office of Development & Alumni Relations is responsible for researching and securing gifts that meet the requirements of this policy and ensuring their appropriate approval, receipting, acknowledgement, and recording, and prudent investment through the Board of Governors.
4.02.05 Except as set out herein, members of the university community at large, with the exception of the Martin Luther University College, will not engage in any overt fundraising activities and have no authority to accept a gift on behalf of the university. Contact Advancement Services for information on how to engage in fundraising or for clearance to approach a potential donor on behalf of the university. This does not preclude the participation of any party in the identification, cultivation, and eventual solicitation and stewardship of a prospective donor in consultation with the Office of Development in Advancement & External Relations. It is to ensure that the person(s) with the best relationship with the prospective donor, and knowledge of the project to be funded is/are provided with the necessary support with respect to strategy and proposal development. The goal is to present a coordinated, focused and disciplined approach that builds long-term relationships and maximizes support.
4.02.06 Advancement & External Relations has primary responsibility for the negotiation, review and signing of gift agreements. See associated procedures for signatory and gift agreement requirements.
4.02.07 Advancement & External Relations, and in particular Advancement Services, is solely responsible for issuing charitable tax receipts for all charitable gifts received by the university. Gift processing will be handled in accordance with the donor’s wishes consistent with university policies, Canada Income Tax Act regulations governing charitable organizations, and CRA guidelines on charitable donations. All gifts received by any office of the university must be processed through Advancement Services, where they will be receipted, acknowledged, and recorded for audit, historic and recognition purposes. The donor may be required to provide an appraisal to support the value of the gift as noted in the associated procedures.
4.02.08 With respect to specifically designated gifts that do not correspond with a university-identified priority, Advancement will consult with relevant administrative or academic departments. If, following consultation, it is deemed that a prospective donor’s wishes do not correspond with the university’s goals and priorities, the donor will be asked to re-designate the intended gift. If the prospective donor’s wishes cannot be satisfied within the parameters of the University’s goals and priorities, the intended gift will be declined with thanks.
4.02.09 Endowed gifts will be managed in accordance with the agreement with the donor, the Endowment Guidelines, and the applicable Statement of Investment Policies & Procedures. Namings associated with an endowed gift are governed by Policy 13.5, Naming of University Assets.
4.02.10 The Vice-President: Advancement & External Relations or delegate is responsible for ensuring that the acceptance of gifts by the university is consistent with this policy. As part of the ongoing report of activities to the Board of Governors, the report will include a summary of gifts accepted valued at or above $1 million, or those deemed to have a high cultural or other significance to the university.
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