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3.1.6 Charitable Donations by Stanford University to Other Charitable Organizations

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This memo describes the limited circumstances when a charitable donation may be made by Stanford to an outside organization.


Approved by the Vice President for Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer.

1. Policy Statement

Stanford University is a non-profit public charity that receives its funds from sponsors, donors,  parents/students and others in furtherance of our educational, research and patient care missions. Accordingly, provision of University funds to other charitable institutions as donations is highly restricted. When considering support of another charitable organization, Stanford personnel should first consider whether the objective can be achieved through a contractual arrangement or other form of written understanding with the potential recipient institution, spelling out services and deliverables that align with Stanford’s purposes. In any case, such donations are limited to US charities. No donor funds or sponsor-restricted funds may be used in support of other charitable organizations.

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2. When Donations to Other Charitable Organizations Are Permissible

a. A donation may be made at the direction of the President, the Provost or the Vice President for Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer.

b. A donation may be made to the charity of family’s choice in the case of the death of an employee or a member of his/her immediate family, in lieu of customary flowers (Limit: $100).

c. Upon recommendation by a donor, a donation may be made from the portion of his/her donor-advised fund available for such designation. Recipient charities must be vetted by senior management of the Office of Development.

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3. Exceptions to Policy

Exceptions to the policy are rare. Requests for exception must be approved by the Vice President for Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer. Requests should state:

a. How and over what period Stanford-provided funds would be spent by the intended recipient.
b. What  Stanford goals would be achieved by the donation.
c. Why such goals could not be achieved through any other form of relationship with the charity.
d. That the recipient will provide written acknowledgement of the funding, certify that the funds were used for Stanford’s intended purpose and detail what results were achieved.
e. A description of the intended recipient charity, proof of its tax-exempt status and a documented vetting of the charity

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