Gift Acceptance Policy

Fletcher Seminary Gift Acceptance Policy

The Jesse C. Fletcher Seminary [Fletcher Seminary] solicits and accepts gifts for purposes that will help the organization further and fulfill its mission. Fletcher Seminary urges all prospective donors to seek the assistance of personal legal and financial advisors in matters relating to their gifts, including the resulting tax and estate planning consequences. The following policies and guidelines govern acceptance of gifts made to Fletcher Seminary for the benefit of any of its operations, programs or services.

Acceptable types of gifts –

The following gifts are acceptable:

  • Cash
  • Tangible personal property
  • Securities
  • Real estate
  • Remainder interests in property
  • Oil, gas, and mineral interests
  • Life insurance
  • Charitable gift annuities
  • Charitable remainder trusts
  • Charitable lead trusts
  • Retirement plan beneficiary designations
  • Bequests
  • Life insurance beneficiary designations.

Use of Legal Counsel — Fletcher Seminary will seek the advice of legal counsel in matters

relating to acceptance of gifts when appropriate.

Review by counsel is recommended for:

  • Gifts of securities that are subject to restrictions or buy-sell agreements.
  • Documents naming Fletcher Seminary as trustee or requiring Fletcher Seminary to act in
  • any fiduciary capacity.
  • Gifts requiring Fletcher Seminary to assume financial or other obligations.
  • Transactions with potential conflicts of interest.
  • Gifts of property which may be subject to environmental or other regulatory restrictions (such as oil, gas, or mineral interests/rights).

Restrictions on Gifts —

Fletcher Seminary will not accept gifts that (a) would result in Fletcher Seminary violating its corporate charter, (b) would result in Fletcher Seminary losing its status as an IRS 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, (c) are too difficult or too expensive to administer in relation to their value, (d) would result in any unacceptable consequences for Fletcher Seminary, or (e) are for purposes outside Fletcher Seminary’s mission. Decisions on the restrictive nature of a gift, and its acceptance or refusal, shall be made by the Executive Committee, in consultation with the Seminary President.

Additionally, when considering whether to solicit or accept gifts, the organization will consider the following factors:

Values—whether the acceptance of the gift compromises any of the core values of Fletcher Seminary

Compatibility—Whether there is compatibility between the intent of the donor and the organization’s use of the gift.

Public Relationships—whether acceptance of the gift damage the reputation of Fletcher Seminary

Primary Benefit—whether the primary benefit is to Fletcher Seminary versus the donor

Consistency—is acceptance of the gift consistent with prior practice?

Form of Gift—Is the gift offered in a form that Fletcher Seminary can use without incurring substantial expense or difficulty?

Effect on Future Giving—Will the gift encourage or discourage future gifts?

Gifts Generally Accepted Without Review—

Cash. Cash gifts are acceptable in any form, including by check, money order, credit card, or on-line. Donors wishing to make a gift by credit card must provide the card type (e.g., Visa, MasterCard, American Express), card number, expiration date, and name of the card holder as it appears on the credit card.

Marketable Securities. Marketable securities may be transferred electronically to an account maintained at one or more brokerage firms or delivered physically with the transferor’s endorsement or signed stock power (with appropriate signature guarantees) attached. All marketable securities will be sold promptly upon receipt unless otherwise directed by Fletcher Seminary’s Finance Committee. In some cases marketable securities may be restricted, for example, by applicable securities laws or the terms of the proposed gift; in such instances the decision whether to accept the restricted securities shall be made by the Executive Committee.

Bequests and Beneficiary Designations under Revocable Trusts, Life Insurance Policies, Commercial Annuities and Retirement Plans. Donors are encouraged to make bequests to Fletcher Seminary under their wills, and to name Fletcher Seminary as the beneficiary under trusts, life insurance policies, commercial annuities and retirement plans.

Charitable Remainder Trusts. Fletcher Seminary will accept designation as a remainder beneficiary of charitable remainder trusts.

Charitable Lead Trusts. Fletcher Seminary will accept designation as an income beneficiary of charitable lead trusts.

Gifts Accepted Subject to Prior Review—

Certain forms of gifts or donated properties may be subject to review prior to acceptance. Examples of gifts subject to prior review include, but are not limited to:

Tangible Personal Property. The Executive Committee shall review and determine whether to accept any gifts of tangible personal property in light of the following considerations: does the property further the organization’s mission? Is the property marketable? Are there any unacceptable restrictions imposed on the property? Are there any carrying costs for the property for which the organization may be responsible? Is the title/provenance of the property clear?

Life Insurance. Fletcher Seminary will accept gifts of life insurance where Fletcher Seminary is named as both beneficiary and irrevocable owner of the insurance policy. The donor must agree to pay, before due, any future premium payments owing on the policy.

Real Estate. All gifts of real estate are subject to review by the Executive Committee. Prior to acceptance of any gift of real estate other than a personal residence, Fletcher Seminary shall require an initial environmental review by a qualified environmental firm. In the event that the initial review reveals a potential problem, the organization may retain a qualified environmental firm to conduct an environmental audit. Criteria for acceptance of gifts of real estate include: Is the property useful for the organization’s purposes? Is the property readily marketable? Are there covenants, conditions, restrictions, reservations, easements, encumbrances or other limitations associated with the property? Are there carrying costs (including insurance, property taxes, mortgages, notes, or the like) or maintenance expenses associated with the property? Does the environmental review or audit reflect that the property is damaged or otherwise requires remediation?

Named Gifts and Endowments. Fletcher Seminary will accept named gifts for endowments (scholarships, endowed chairs, schools/programs), teaching fellowships, awards, and recuring lecture series and community enrichment events.  

Fletcher  Seminary encourages donors to establish permanent endowed funds and allows donors to name such funds. The Seminary accepts unrestricted endowed funds, preferred use endowed funds and restricted endowed funds.

Restricted endowments must contain the following language: “Should the provisions for the use of the income from this endowment cease to be effective or practicable, the Board of Trustees is authorized to use such income in a manner consistent with the general intent of such provisions.”

Establishing a different term of years to endow a fund is permitted when recommended by the Office of Seminary Advancement or the Office of the President and approved by the Finance Committee.

Types of Endowed Funds:

Endowed Scholarships: Endowed scholarships may be established with a minimum gift of $25,000. Cash and cash equivalent gifts below the minimum, which are designated for scholarships, will be placed in the general scholarship fund unless the donor designates a pre-existing scholarship.

Donors may accumulate gifts toward minimum funding of an endowed scholarship with a gift of one-fourth the required minimum and a signed scholarship agreement. Accumulations toward the minimum must be completed within five years from the date of the agreement. When accumulation is not completed, the agreement will be considered terminated, and gift amounts received will be placed in the Seminary’s general endowed scholarship fund or an appropriate designated fund.

Scholarship payments to qualified student recipients will not be made until the minimum principal amount for the endowment has been achieved, the scholarship agreement is signed and approved by the Gift Acceptance Committee and sufficient income has been generated for distribution, which is at least one full year after the minimum principal amount has been received. Donors accumulating gifts toward minimums may provide for an annual stipend in the agreement when that stipend is supported by an annual gift.

Scholarships may be established with testamentary or planned gifts. Scholarship monies received by the Seminary through a will or other planned gift, which is less than the required minimum funding at the time of distribution, will be placed in the Seminary’s general endowed scholarship fund, unless legally impossible, in which case the Seminary reserves the right to decline the gift.

Scholarship agreements shall be signed by the donor and President, or a Vice President of Administration or Advancement.

Endowed Academic Chairs: Endowed chairs may be established with a minimum funding negotiated with the Seminary as determined by the Board of Trustees, considering the purpose of the chair, the program it will support and the amount of income desired to be generated annually, but with no less than $2 million. Donors may accumulate gifts toward an endowed chair with a gift of one-fourth the required minimum and a signed agreement. The agreement must specify the date within which minimum funding must be completed. Unless otherwise specified, where accumulation is not completed within 5 years, the agreement will be considered terminated, and gift amounts received will remain in the Seminary’s general endowment fund and be used for the program named in the endowed chair agreement while that program is extant.

Endowed chairs may be established with testamentary or planned gifts. Chair monies received by the Seminary through a will or other planned gift, which is less than half of the fully funded amount at the time of distribution, will be placed in the Seminary’s general endowment fund and be used for the program named in the endowed chair agreement while that program is extant.

Endowed chair agreements shall be signed by the donor and by the President and show the date on which the gift was approved by the Finance Committee.

Endowed Academic Programs/School: Endowed programs may be established with a minimum funding, as negotiated with the Seminary and based on the amount of income desired to be generated annually.

Donors may accumulate gifts toward an endowed program with a gift of one-fourth the required minimum and a signed agreement. The agreement must specify the date within which minimum funding must be completed. Unless otherwise specified, where accumulation is not completed within five years, the agreement will be considered terminated, and gift amounts received will be placed in the Seminary’s general endowment fund and be used for the program named while that program is extant.

It is preferred that endowed programs not be initiated with testamentary or planned gifts. The Seminary and donor should fund only viable programs that merit long-term endowment, and this should be done during the life of the donor. Donors are encouraged to fund endowed programs through testamentary gifts once the endowment is established. Exceptions to this policy may be reviewed by the Finance Committee and subject to final approval by the Board.

Endowment program agreements shall be signed by the donor and by the President and show the date on which the gift was approved by the Finance Committee.

Other Endowed Funds: Unrestricted endowed funds, and other restricted endowed funds may be established with a minimum of $25,000.

Donors may accumulate gifts toward minimum funding of an endowed fund with a gift of one-fourth the required minimum and a signed agreement. Accumulations toward the minimum must be completed within five years from the date of the agreement. When accumulation is not completed within the specified time period, the agreement will be considered terminated, and gift amounts received will be placed in the Seminary’s general endowment fund.

Payments to recipient purpose/program will not be made until the minimum ($25,000) for the endowment has been received, the endowment agreement is signed and approved by the Finance Committee, and sufficient income has been generated for distribution, which is generally at least one full year after the minimum principal amount has been received.

Endowed funds may be established with testamentary or planned gifts. Scholarship monies received by Fletcher Seminary through a will or other planned gift, which is less than the required minimum funding at the time of distribution, will be placed in the Seminary’s general endowment fund, unless legally impossible. Endowed fund agreements shall be signed shall be signed by the donor and the President, or a Vice President of Administration or Advancement.

Fletcher Seminary’s Pledge to Donors

As a foundational part of our gift acceptance policy as a seminary, Fletcher Seminary will abide by the “Donor Bill of Rights,” recognizing the importance of establishing and maintaining trust between the Seminary and donors. Additionally, Fletcher Seminary embraces transparency and openness concerning the use of donor funds, appropriately thanking and recognizing donors,

The Donor Bill of Rights was created by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP), the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and the Giving Institute: Leading Consultants to Non-Profits. It has been endorsed by numerous organizations.

The Donor Bill of Rights –  

Philanthropy is based on voluntary action for the common good. It is a tradition of giving and sharing that is primary to the quality of life. To assure that philanthropy merits the respect and trust of the general public, and that donors and prospective donors can have full confidence in the not-for-profit organizations and causes they are asked to support, we declare that all donors have these rights:

I. To be informed of the organization’s mission, of the way the organization intends to use donated resources, and of its capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purposes.

II. To be informed of the identity of those serving on the organization’s governing board, and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities.

III. To have access to the organization’s most recent financial statements.

IV. To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given.

V. To receive appropriate acknowledgement and recognition.

VI. To be assured that information about their donation is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by law.

VII. To expect that all relationships with individuals representing organizations of interest to the donor will be professional in nature.

VIII. To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of the organization or hired solicitors.

IX. To have the opportunity for their names to be deleted from mailing lists that an organization may intend to share.

X. To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers.

Reporting Requirements –

The seminary will send IRS Form 8283 to donors who make a non-cash gift of over $500 to the seminary. The seminary will file IRS Form 8282 on or before the 125th day after it sells, exchanges or otherwise disposes of property donated to the seminary. It is impermissible for the seminary to delay the sale of a property solely for the purpose of avoiding the filing of IRS Form 8282. All donors shall receive a written acknowledgment of their gift in a timely fashion from the seminary. In the event of the receipt of non-cash gifts and gifts in kind, the seminary shall not value the gift but report the value the donor placed on the gift.