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Post Award

When is it a Gift

Both sponsored and gift-funded activities are externally-supported projects, and the classification of funding as "gift" or "sponsored" will affect, among other things, the way the University accounts for the funds, assesses F&A (indirect) costs, and reports on the use of the funds to the sponsor or donor.


Grants are sponsored projects that are typically awarded to the University in response to a detailed statement of work, usually supported by both a project schedule and a line-item budget, both of which are essential to financial accountability. The purpose of a grant is to transfer money or anything of value to a recipient in order to accomplish a public purpose. Grants can support research, training and educational activities, travel, and conferences. Pre-award must review all sponsored projects grant applications and proposal submissions prior to submission to the agency.

Sponsored project grants typically include:

  • a line-item budget with the University's federal F&A rate agreement.
  • a detailed scope of work or specific aims.
  • a specified period of performance.
  • a requirement to return any unexpended funds at the end of that period.
  • regular financial reporting and audit.
  • terms and conditions for the disposition of tangible properties, such as equipment, technical reports) or intangible properties, such as publication rights, inventions.


A gift, as defined by HOOP 203, is an in-kind contribution given to the University by a donor with no expectation of benefit other than the University expending the contribution for any mutually-agreed upon purposes.

A gift typically has the following characteristics:

  • no contractual requirements.
  • no deliverables to the donor (though the funds may be restricted to a particular purpose).
  • irrevocable.
  • no specified period of performance.
  • no formal fiscal accountability to the donor beyond periodic progress reports.

Requests for new gift or endowment accounts should be sent to the Development Office.

Government funds are never treated as gifts. Funding from voluntary health organizations or associations (e.g., American Cancer Society or American Heart Association) are sponsored projects and not gifts. In remaining cases, when funding is being provided by corporations or foundations, the distinction between gifts and sponsored projects will be made based on the proposal, statement of work, and terms of the agreement, taking into consideration the intent of the donor or sponsor. Sometimes, donors may use the word "grant" and "gift" interchangeably.

There are two types of Gift accounts:

  • Unrestricted Gift (Fund 58001): A donation with no defined purpose specific to a project, program, or type of expense.
  • Restricted Gift (Fund 58000): A donation given for a specific project, program, or type of expense.

For questions about whether an award is a gift or grant, please contact your Pre-award specialist.