Charitable Donations by the University Policy

Policy Section
Buying and Paying

Effective Date
July 1, 2016
Last Updated
October 1, 2018
Responsible Executive
Vice President for Finance and Treasurer
Responsible Office
Financial Services
Contacts
Jason Knoch
Assistant Vice President for Financial Services
(609) 258-9181

I. Summary

Princeton University is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt institution, chartered to fulfill certain educational, research, and public service missions. As a general rule, the University does not contribute financially to other registered not-for-profit charitable organizations. This policy sets forth the conditions and criteria by which a charitable contribution may be approved.

This policy is not related to the fundraising activities administered by the Office of Development.

II. Who is Affected by this Policy

This policy affects all employees, students, and faculty who have the authority to expend University funds. It also affects every employee or individual who reviews, approves, or records financial transactions on behalf of the University, or those individuals who have access to University facilities, space, and other resources.

III. Definitions

Contribution

A payment or University resource given to an organization for a charitable purpose without consideration being received by the University department initiating or approving the payment.  

Fundraising

Events or activities with a primary purpose of raising funds for an organization by selling goods or services.  

IV. Policy

Princeton University is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt institution, chartered to fulfill certain educational, research, and public service missions. As a general rule, the University does not contribute financially to other registered not-for-profit charitable organizations.

From time to time, however, the University may make donations to charitable organizations in the following cases:

  • Donations approved by the President, Provost, Executive Vice President, or Vice President and Secretary.
  • Donations managed by the Office of Community and Regional Affairs
  • One-time contributions of $500 or less made to 501(c)(3) scholarly societies and associations.
  • One-time contributions of $100 or less made to a charitable organization as an expression of sympathy in the name of a deceased employee or a deceased family member of an employee.

Use of University Space

Space and facilities - Conference and Events Services is authorized by the Office of the Executive Vice President to manage requests for the use of University space and facilities.   Groups or individuals not affiliated with Princeton University may request permission to use University space by submitting a formal proposal to Conference and Event Services. Only those proposals submitted by a 501 (c)(3) tax exempt organization can be considered.   Faculty, staff, and students may not allow the use of University space or facilities by non-University entities unless approved in advance by Conference and Events Services.   

Goods and equipment - The Facilities Resource Recovery Program is authorized by the Office of the Executive Vice President to manage requests for the disposal or distribution of surplus or unneeded materials. Any donations of University goods, equipment, inventory, or other tangible resources must be coordinated and approved by the Facilities Surplus Program.

Fundraising for Other Charitable Organizations

This policy does not address the normal fundraising activities of the Office of Development.

Fundraising activities may be conducted by other University entities that have a purpose of civic engagement or service that is consistent with the University’s mission. All fundraising activities must receive advance approval from the Office of the Provost, Office of the Executive Vice President, Office of the President, or Office of the Vice President and Secretary.

Fundraising events may not include sweepstakes, lotteries, raffles or any drawing for prizes, regardless of whether those prizes are goods, services, cash, or cash equivalents such as gift cards.

Additional information for student groups wishing to conduct fundraising activities: ODUS policy for Fundraising for humanitarian relief efforts

Solicitation

See HR Policy 5.2.7 Solicitation & Distribution.

Prohibited Activities

Requests to redirect payments (e.g. honorariums, speaker fees, human subject payments, etc.) to charitable organizations are prohibited. The recipient of the payment should make the donation to the charitable organization directly.

Political activities are not permitted. Under federal law, the University may not "participate in, or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for [any] public office" and "no substantial part of the activities" of the University may be directed to influencing legislation (Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code). The University may not endorse, or provide or solicit financial or other support for, candidates or political organizations. For additional guidance, see: Guidelines Relating to the Tax-Exempt Status of the University and Political Activities

Sponsored funds may never be used to make a charitable donation or contribution.

Reimbursement for Charitable Donations

Approved charitable donations must be made directly through the University’s financial systems. The University will not reimburse individuals for charitable donations made with their own funds.

    V. Procedures

    All charitable contributions must be properly substantiated as outlined in the University’s business expense policy. This includes proper documentation of approval as noted above. 

    VI. Roles and Responsibilities

    Contact Name/Department
    Kristin Appelget
    Responsiblity
    Director, Community and Regional Affairs
    Contact Name/Department
    Eric Hamblin
    Responsiblity
    Director, Conference and Event Services
    Contact Name/Department
    Resource Recovery Program
    Contact Name/Department
    Financial Service Center

    Revision Log

    10/1/18 - Updated Executive Sponsor Listing

    8/13/18 - Minor clarifications in wording and titles.

    3/15/18 - Update name of Surplus Program to Resource Recovery Program, per Facilities.