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Grant vs. Gift Determination

Grant or Gift? How can you tell?

Sometimes it's unclear when you're looking at an award opportunity whether the award, if made, will be a grant handled by the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP), or a gift handled by Corporate and Foundation Relations (CFR), an arm of Fordham's Development and University Relations (DAUR) area.

Many foundations, for example, use the word "grant" as a catch-all term -- at Fordham, that word has a specific meaning.

We use the Federal guidelines on grants vs. gifts. Below you will find a matrix adapted from those guidelines to help you understand what Fordham means when we say "grant" and "gift". (Note that an award does not have to fulfill 100% of the items on either side; hits on the majority of items under each award category would point us in the direction of determing an award to be in that category.)

Determining Factor

Gift Indicator

Grant Indicator

Source of Funding

  • Individuals
  • Non Profit Organizations
  • Private Foundations
  • Corporations
  • Corporate Foundations
  • Other Organizations, such as Donor Advised Funds
  • (Family or individual foundations are
    generally treated as individuals.)
  • Government Agencies
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Private Foundations
  • Corporations
  • Corporate Foundations
Purpose of Award The donor may specify an area of interest or
a goal to be funded by with their gift.
The sponsor specifies how the funds should be used, as outlined in supporting documentation (award letter, contract or grant agreement).
Value Exchange  No implicit or explicit value is exchanged other than recognition. No implicit or explicit value is exchanged other than recognition and/or reporting.
Reporting Fordham has little or no obligation to report to the donor on how the gift is used or invested. The institution is not prevented from providing such
reports, but rather uses the opportunity for donor stewardship. Required reporting is limited to details
of how, when and to whom funds were disbursed as well as statements of earning when applicable.
The sponsor requires performance of specific duties such as research, budget reports, progress reports, and return of unused funds.
Proposal Process Initiated by donors, DAUR advancement staff, or faculty members. Initiated by sponsor, advancement CFR staff or faculty members
(working together with OSP and CFR).
Award Notice Document Letter of Donation/ Gift Agreement Award letter, contract or grant agreement
Start/End Dates Typically no time period is associated with the use of funds. Typically requires a specific time period for conducting projects.
Use of Excess Funds N/A - no funds are considered "excess" May be required to return to sponsor or a no-cost extension must be requested.
Penalty for Non-Performance No penalties for failing to use the funds. Penalties may exist for failing to use the funds or to
deliver the items on a timely basis.
F&A / Indirect Costs None F & A / Indirect Cost Rates as defined by DHHS or as capped by sponsor.