Gift Acceptance Policy

The Acceptance and Treatment of Charitable Gifts to The American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science

I. Introduction

  1. The American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science (ACWIS) is committed to the highest ethical standards in its fundraising practices. Transparency and compliance with relevant Federal and state rules and regulations (including IRS notices and guidance) is a priority.
  2. This Policy articulates the policies of ACWIS concerning the acceptance and treatment of charitable gifts to ACWIS. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) will oversee the maintenance of appropriate procedures for implementing this Policy, which shall be shared with the Board of Directors or appropriate subcommittees as designated. Procedures shall include, but not be limited to: the process for accepting, reporting and acknowledging gifts; the appointment of gift acceptance committees as needed; deadlines for accepting different types of gifts for a particular calendar year; who has the authority to accept gifts and sign gift documents; and minimum gift size and donor age for gift vehicles (e.g., Charitable Gift Annuities, Charitable Trusts, etc.).  
  3. To ensure conformity with this Policy and compliance with applicable laws and regulations, all pledge, fund, and similar donative agreements, estate releases and other closing documents, must be overseen and approved by the CEO or Chief Legal Officer (CLO).
  4. Questions with respect to this Policy and its application should be presented to the CEO, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), or CLO.
  5. All gifts are subject to review and evaluation and may require approval before acceptance. ACWIS reserves the right to refuse, return, or redirect any gift, whether proposed or already received. Criteria for doing so may include, but are not limited to the following:
    • • Gifts that violate any federal, state, or local statute or ordinance
    • • Gifts that contain unacceptable restrictions or conditions
    • • Gifts that are financially unsound
    • • Gifts that could expose ACWIS to liability or reputational harm


II. General Responsibilities of ACWIS to Donors

  1. ACWIS, its staff, and representatives endeavor to assist donors in accomplishing their personal philanthropic objectives, in conjunction with donors’ advisors, family members, and other relevant parties.  
  2. Every reasonable effort shall be made to maintain confidentiality regarding all transactions between a donor and ACWIS. ACWIS respects a donor’s wishes to provide anonymous support and will take reasonable steps to safeguard such donor’s identity.
  3. Each prospective donor to ACWIS should be informed that ACWIS does not provide legal, tax, or financial advice, and should be encouraged to discuss all charitable gift planning decisions with his or her own legal, financial and/or tax advisor before entering into any commitment or making a gift to ACWIS.
  4. Any request for ACWIS to serve as a fiduciary or nominate a fiduciary must be approved by the CEO, keeping in mind applicable laws.
  5. ACWIS employees are prohibited from acting as a healthcare proxy, power of attorney, or similar legal/fiduciary capacity, except in rare circumstances upon approval of CEO (for example, when the employee has a familial or pre-existing relationship with a donor) and in such case assume such role in their personal, not ACWIS, capacity.


III. Gift Designation, Investment, Restrictions

  1. Gifts may be designated for general purposes (general funds), or subject to restrictions as to use/purpose, timing of expenditure, or both. ACWIS will consider a gift to be restricted if there is a written restriction in the donative instrument (e.g., gift agreement, last will and testament, or other written directive) or if a gift is donated in direct response to an ACWIS solicitation for a restricted gift. Absent either circumstance, gifts received will be assumed to be general funds available for general ACWIS purposes.
  2. At the sole discretion of the Board of Directors or its designee (e.g. a gift acceptance committee) general funds may be designated (or, at its discretion, undesignated) for particular purposes, or treated as quasi-endowed funds for set periods of time.
  3. As relevant to the gift in question, and unless otherwise required by the donative instrument or state law (as with some Charitable Gift Annuities), ACWIS shall endeavor to invest gifts (whether restricted or otherwise designated according to Paragraph III (B)) according to the New York Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (NYPMIFA).
  4. The Board of Directors, via the CEO, is responsible for overseeing and approving the acceptance of gifts with restrictions. To facilitate this process, the CEO may oversee and maintain a pre-approved set of purposes and priorities, and other acceptable gift restrictions (e.g., research funds, scholarships, fellowships, capital expenditures, professorial chairs, other funds or projects on the Institute priority list). Gifts received with written restrictions that are not on this pre-approved list may be accepted only upon approval of the CEO or their designee.
  5. If donative language expressly describes a gift as “endowed” or “permanently restricted” it shall be treated as follows (absent different language in the gift agreement):
    1. A “Spending Rate” shall be distributed from each permanently restricted (endowment) fund annually. The Spending Rate (currently 4.5% of the average fair market value of the fund averaged over the preceding 12 quarters) is reviewed and approved annually by the Board of Directors.
    2. Unless prohibited by the donor in a donative or other instrument, or in response to the notice requirement of the NYPMIFA, ACWIS shall apply its spending rate regardless of the historic or original dollar value of such fund.
    3. The Board may delegate the investment of its permanently restricted funds to third-parties, including but not limited to the Weizmann Global Endowment Management, LP (known as “W-GEM”), as agent for ACWIS; such third parties may charge ordinary and reasonable custody and management fees against such funds. 
  6. In situations where gift commitments are unfulfilled or only partially fulfilled by the Donor, ACWIS reserves the right to modify the restriction, as well as naming and other recognition, to which it may have already agreed. Similarly, in the absence of express terms in an agreement to the contrary, ACWIS reserves the right to withhold naming and other recognition until at least 50 percent (50%) of a total proposed gift is paid by the donor. 
  7. In situations where a donor makes a gift to ACWIS with the intent of engaging in discussion with ACWIS as to a narrower purpose at a future date, ACWIS reserves the right to treat such gift as it deems appropriate if, within five (5) years, such donor fails to narrow the purpose and donor either cannot be located after reasonable efforts or fails to respond to ACWIS communications regarding such gift.


IV. Commitment of Charity Assets

  1. Charitable Gift AnnuitiesACWIS shall issue charitable gift annuities (CGAs) to donors in exchange for their contributions (cash, publicly traded securities, and Qualified Charitable Distributions from IRAs), using annuity rates at or below those recommended by the American Council on Gift Annuities. ACWIS may offer rates above such rates only with the approval of the CEO. Additionally, subject to exceptions made on a case-by-case basis by the CEO, ACWIS shall only issue CGAs that qualify for a minimum tax deduction of thirty percent (30%) of the transferred funds or stock value, and no immediate CGAs will be issued to donors under the age of 68.
  2. Commitment of Funds in Connection with Gifts. The commitment of funds in transactions to acquire assets from a donor (e.g. Bargain Sale) shall require the written approval of the CEO.
  3. Partnerships, Privately Held Stock, and Other Liabilities. ACWIS shall not accept interests in partnerships, privately held companies, or other investment entities exposing ACWIS to legal and/or tax liability, including the obligation to provide capital contributions or other funding for investments, without performing adequate due diligence pursuant to due diligence procedures overseen by the CEO, and receiving an indemnity from the donor to address such liability and fulfill any obligations.
  4. Real Estate. Potential liability arising from such gifts shall be minimized pursuant to due diligence procedures overseen by the CEO and CLO. 
  5. Independent Appraisals. Donor or related parties cannot control disposition of donated assets once in ACWIS’s possession. As such, ACWIS shall obtain independent, third-party appraisals and brokers to facilitate such disposition and sale. 


V. Gift Recognition, Honors and Naming

  1. The Board, via the CEO, may establish criteria for recognizing donors with certain honors (“Honors”) based on various giving levels achieved by a donor and the type of gift. Such Honors may include (but not be limited to) namings on physical spaces (typically on or adjacent to the Weizmann Institute of Science campus), listings in publications; naming of funds, chairs and the like; and invitations to special events. Honors may be granted gratuitously (“Honorific Naming”) or, rather, as part of negotiations related to a specific gift from a donor(s) (“Philanthropic Naming”).  
  2. Except for Honors that appear on a pre-approved list, development staff of ACWIS shall make no commitments to a donor concerning naming, recognition, reporting, and other Honors without the approval of the CEO. 
  3. Absent a written agreement executed when the donor is alive that is subsequently fulfilled, when a donation is received through a will or other testamentary vehicle, recognition shall be treated subject to the discretion of the CEO, taking into account the manner, style, and level offered for gifts of a similar size and type at the time the donation is received by ACWIS.
  4. In addition to the right to modify described in III(F), ACWIS reserves the right to modify naming and any other public recognition (within ACWIS’s control), whether Honorific or Philanthropic, in the event a donor is convicted of a felony or if such naming otherwise exposes ACWIS to potential reputational harm, public derision or contempt, as determined by ACWIS in its sole discretion.
  5. In the absence of language to the contrary in a written agreement or similar donative instrument, namings on physical entities or spaces are granted at most for the Useful Life of such entity or space. The determination of an entity’s or space’s “Useful Life” will depend upon the specifics of the entity or space being named and related factors, including but not limited to:
    • • the time frame during which the entity or space serves the purpose designated by WIS Management at naming.
    • • a determination (by WIS Management) that such entity or space needs significant alteration to continue or will no longer serve its intended purpose. 
    • • a determination (by WIS Management) that the entity or space should cease to exist for reasons including limited campus space, damage, or otherwise.
  6. In the absence of language to the contrary in a written agreement or similar donative instrument, the length of time for non-physical recognition (e.g., publications, chairs, etc.) shall be granted per the determination of ACWIS by its CEO.


VI. Exceptions, Review, Delegation

  1. Exceptions to this Policy must be approved in writing by the CEO, who shall report on such exceptions at the next regular meeting of the Board.
  2. The Gift Acceptance Committee is responsible for the approval of this Policy as needed, particularly upon the enactment or promulgation of legislation or regulatory rules affecting fundraising and gift acceptance.  
  3. By written directive, the CEO may delegate certain responsibilities under this policy, as needed.  


State Disclosures