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Ethical Gifts Policy

Ethical Gifts Policy

Learn how we protect the University's mission.

Ethical Policy for the Acceptance of Philanthropic Donations: Major Gifts

Introduction

As a university, we apply due diligence to find out whether the sources of donations to us are credible. Following the Etherington Review (2015), there is a recommended framework that we follow.

It's important to demonstrate the value of private giving in support of education. At the same time, we must ensure transparency around who we accept gifts from and their purpose.

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) describes philanthropy as:

a voluntary exchange in which values and aspirations of donors are matched with the values and aspirations of those they benefit.

We make a deliberate and conscientious effort to make judgments that reflect the University’s mission, values and long-term goals.

Ethical decisions are made with public trust and our institutional integrity in mind. A major gift is defined as one of £10,000 or more.

Guidelines: Authorisation of the acceptance of philanthropic donations

Total donation

Authorisation by

Less than £10,000

NU Advancement and Finance and Planning teams

£10,000 - £100,000

Deputy Vice-Chancellor following review by NU Advancement

£100,001 - £500,000

Ethics Committee (research or teaching bequests) Executive Board (other bequests)

£500,000

Council

Principles

When accepting a major gift we consider the following issues:

  • Has the donor acted illegally in the acquisition of funds?
  • Would acceptance damage or limit the operation of the University in fulfilling its stated objectives?
  • Would acceptance harm relationships with other partners, funders or stakeholders?
  • Would it create a significant conflict of interest? Would it damage the University’s reputation?
  • Would acceptance lead to unmanageable conditions applied by the donor? Newcastle University does not accept anonymous donations above £100. Newcastle University will, however, respect a donor’s wish for privacy should they wish their details not to be publicised.
  • The gift will be applied for the purpose for which it was given, unless explicit consent is given by the donor or in the case of bequests, the executors.
  • Gifts of £10,000 or over must have a signed Gift Agreement or equivalent. The following statement will be included in all Gift Agreements:
    • Statement of Academic Freedom: It is a legal and moral requirement that philanthropic gifts do not afford the donor any expectation of benefit from the donation.

Sometimes we will need further background information in relation to the source of a potential gift. Where this is the case, NU Advancement will use its research facility to undertake this work. We will then make recommendations to the authorising person/s. Where there is concern, there will be discussion with the potential beneficiary of the gift before any decision to decline.

NU Advancement will maintain a record of all major gifts accepted and declined.