Gifts and Trusts

The University of Wisconsin System recognizes that gifts to the campuses can be either Monetary Gifts or Non-Monetary Gifts-in-Kind. All gifts must have campus approval prior to their presentation to and acceptance by the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents. In accordance with the IRS regulations and good donor relationships, all gifts must be acknowledged in writing. In some cases, the UWM Foundation receives and acknowledges gifts. In cases where gifts or gifts-in-kind come directly into the University, the gift recipient should acknowledge the gift in writing.

The definitions governing what is considered a Gift or a Gift-in-Kind are provided in the UW System Administrative Policy 342: Extramural Support Administration and are given below.

For questions concerning gifts, gifts-in-kind, or trust funds, please contact Kate Mollen (414-229-4853).

Monetary Gifts

To qualify as a gift to the institution, extramural support must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Funds provide general or unrestricted support for broadly defined activities in one or more program areas, such as research, public service, instruction, fellowships/traineeships, etc.
  • Detailed reports are not required—neither periodic or final, nor fiscal or technical. (The principal investigator may provide the donor with a brief statement that the expenditures were in accord with the intent of the gift.)
  • No provisions (delays, advance notice) are imposed by the donor concerning publication of data and information derived from the activity.
  • There is no specific time limit on the expenditure of funds.
  • Rights to any patent/copyright are not retained by the donor.

Regardless of the source of funding, any extramural support that does not satisfy all of the above conditions should be managed as a Sponsored Project for financial accounting and reporting purposes. If a proposal was sent to a sponsor with a defined scope of work, detailed budget, and/or involves human subjects, this is a sponsored project, not a gift.

Accepting Gifts

Accepting UWM Foundation Gifts

The UWM Foundation (UWMF), upon request of the University, will transfer the funds to the University. Such gifts must be deposited into a University account and expended from that org/project code. The following instructions pertain only to gift funds received through the UWMF, not the Office of Sponsored Programs. Further clarification of the types of extramural support and the interrelationship of various offices in acquiring that support is discussed in the document Memorandum of Understanding (PDF) among the UWM Office of Development, the UWM Foundation, and the UWM Office of Research.  To reduce administrative burdens, attempt to accurately estimate the amount of funds to required so that fund transfers occur no more frequently than quarterly. In order to initiate the transfer of funds to UWM:

  • Create a WISPER record.
  • Go to the “Basic Info” section on the “General” tab. Select the appropriate “Document” Type: “Gift-UWMF”.
  • For new accounts, attach a statement from the donor regarding the intended use for the funds.
  • Sign the record and route it according to the WISPER instructions for your school or college.
  • The Dean’s office will forward the WISPER record to the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP).
  • For monetary Gifts, OSP will request approval from the UWMF to add funds to a 133 account or create a new account.

Once funds are deposited into a University account, expenditures are governed by University policies and procedures.

Accepting Gifts for UWM (Non-UWM Foundation gifts)

In order to initiate the process for accepting a gift on behalf of UWM:

  • Send a “Thank You” letter to the Donor.
  • Create a WISPER record.
  • Go to the “Basic Info” section on the “General” tab. Select the appropriate “Document” type: “Gift”.
  • For new accounts, attach a statement from the donor regarding the intended use for the funds.
  • Sign the record and route it according to the WISPER instructions for your school or college.
  • Forward the check(s) to OSP for deposit. Identify the deposit by including the WISPER record number and the recipient’s name.
  • The Dean’s office will forward the WISPER record to OSP.

Non-Monetary Gifts-in-Kind

A Gift-In-Kind is a contribution of personal or real property which requires annual reporting by the institution.

Accepting Gifts-in-Kind

Gifts-In-Kind are of substantial value to the University. However valuable they are, they can also present a safety risk because they are being accepted from outside of the University. For this reason, a Gift-In-Kind must be reviewed by Risk Management before it can be delivered to campus. Risk Management will determine whether the Gift-In-Kind can be accepted and will determine proper insurance protection and inventory control. When Risk Management approves, the Board of Regents will officially accept the Gift-In-Kind. By Board policy, the University may not participate in establishing the monetary value of the Gift-In-Kind. An inventory value should be established by the donor based upon fair market value on the date of the gift.It is important that all Gifts-In-Kind are reported to, and accepted by, the Board of Regents at the time of delivery onto campus. Under no circumstances can any Gift-In-Kind, particularly equipment, be used in any way until it is officially accepted by the Board of Regents.In order to accept a Gift-in-Kind:

  1. Departments should create a WISPER record as soon as the negotiations for a Gift-In-Kind begin.
  2. Follow the WISPER instructions, selecting “GIK” for the “Document” type.
  3. Attach the donor’s quote or estimate of the monetary value of the donation to the record, and any available supplemental information (i.e., if the donation will be equipment, a description of the equipment and the purpose). If the donor requests a signed IRS 8283 Noncash Charitable Contributions Form, please be certain to attach the completed form to the WISPER record.
  4. Sign the record and route it according to the WISPER instructions for your division, school, or college.
  5. OSP will request that Risk Management assess the donation for any potential risk and/or insurance issues. Additionally, OSP will notify the UWM Foundation of the gift so that the donor may be recognized for their contribution.
  6. Once the gift is approved by Risk Management and the UWM Foundation, OSP will finalize the WISPER record. For those donors that request an IRS 8283 form, the department/division will need to certify that their unit will contact OSP if it sells, exchanges, or disposes of the property within three years of receipt. This certification is required prior to a signature on the IRS 8283 form.
  7. Once the WISPER record is finalized, the department/division will receive an e-mail notification from WISPER. At that time, the department/division may begin utilizing the gift or arrange delivery to campus.
  8. After delivery to campus, the department/division should consider sending a “thank you” note to the donor for their contribution.

Trust Funds

The University of Wisconsin System establishes and manages all trust funds and has detailed information regarding policies governing trust funds, different types of funds, and other information available at the University of Wisconsin System Trust Funds website. To determine whether a gift can appropriately be managed through a trust fund, contact Doug Hoerr, Director of Trust Funds (608-262-9779).