Gift vs. Grant

Baylor is fortunate to have a devoted philanthropic community that contributes to the University's mission through support of scholarly and scientific programs. It is important that recipients of fiscal resources, designated as either Gifts for Research or - for Sponsored Programs, follow consistent procedures when accepting and utilizing funds. Failure to follow consistent procedures for the proper recognition of gifts and grants and for the administration and expenditure of the awards may result in lost opportunities and could expose the University to serious risk.

Gifts for Research

Gifts for Research are contributions by donors, usually non-profit or for-profit organizations, to the University to fund scholarly activities and research. Typically, a Gift for Research is any item of value given by a donor who expects nothing of significant value in return, other than recognition and disposition of the gift in accordance with the donor's wishes. Funds that meet all of the following criteria will be considered "Gifts for Research" and should be processed solely through the Office of Corporate & Foundation Relations:

  1. The funds are awarded irrevocably to the University;
  2. The funds are to be used broadly by the University or academic unit and not in support of a specific pursuit of scholarly or scientific inquiry;
  3. There is no commitment of direct project personnel effort (i.e. time and effort of faculty, staff or students) to accomplish project objectives; and
  4. The donor does not impose restrictive conditional obligations.

Gifts for Research should not contain conditional obligations or other restrictions on the use of funds, such as intellectual property provisions governing copyright and patent rights, confidentiality provisions, restrictions or monitoring of research publications or research data, programmatic or financial reporting requirements, indemnification clauses, or audit requirements.

Grants for Sponsored Programs

Grants for Sponsored Programs refer to research, instruction, and public service grants and contracts undertaken pursuant to a proposal submitted by the investigator that specifies the line of inquiry. Such arrangements require the prior approval of the University and the sponsoring agency and may be initiated in response to a sponsor's request for proposals or at the initiative of the investigator. Grants for Sponsored Programs include, but are not limited to, research grants and contracts, training grants, cooperative agreements, fellowships, clinical trial agreements, commercially-sponsored grants and contracts, demonstration projects, and other instructional grants and contracts.

A Sponsored Program -- provides funds and imparts an obligation for an investigator to pursue a line of scholarly research or scientific inquiry. Awards or funds that involve any of the following criteria will be considered a Sponsored Program and should be processed through the Office of Sponsored Programs and Contracts:

  1. Conditional obligation for funding, including a set of binding terms and conditions;
  2. An obligation for an investigator to pursue a line of scholarly or scientific inquiry that typically follows a plan, provides for orderly testing or evaluation, or seeks to meet stated performance goals;
  3. An understanding or commitment of how funds will be used; or
  4. An obligation for fiscal accountability and/or report of performance.

A Sponsored Program may require review and approval of compliance plans related to the performance of research, including testing of human or animal subjects or the use of hazardous materials or biological/chemical agents. A Sponsored Program may also involve conditional obligations of funding, such as space allocation, employment requirements, or programmatic or financial reporting requirements.

Sponsored Programs that are mistakenly reported as gifts result in an understatement of the University's achievements in research and other sponsored program areas. This could adversely impact national rankings. The University, academic units, centers and institutes will not receive appropriate recognition for new grants unless proper identification of Sponsored Programs funds has been made within the University's accounts and records, preferably during the proposal (pre-award) stage. Although notice of new funds may be published through various sources, grants will not be included in statistical reporting of sponsored programs unless proper identification has been made within the University's accounts and records.

Distinguishing between gifts and grants.

Download the "Gift or Grant" check list.