Gift Acceptance Policy

Gift Acceptance Policy 

Effective October 21, 2019

Background: The mission of the Allen Institute is to unlock the complexities of bioscience and advance our knowledge to improve human health. Using an open science, multi-scale, team-oriented approach, the Allen Institute focuses on accelerating foundational research, developing standards and models, and cultivating new ideas to make a broad, transformational impact on science. In furtherance of our mission, the Allen Institute welcomes support from the community. We encourage the cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of charitable gifts in accordance with all applicable laws and policies, and are firmly committed to the principles set forth in this policy regarding charitable giving to the Allen Institute. 

Policy Statement: We encourage the cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of charitable gifts that comply with all applicable laws and Allen Institute policies. We are firmly committed to the guiding principles set forth in this policy regarding charitable giving to the Allen Institute, which include informing, guiding, and assisting our community members who wish to support our mission, free of pressure or undue persuasion. Acceptance of any contribution, gift or grant is at the discretion of the Allen Institute. 

Guiding Principles of Gift Acceptance:

Gifts to the Allen Institute will be determined to be acceptable based on the following principles of gift acceptance:

Support of our Mission. We accept gifts for programs, services, and purposes consistent with our mission, purposes, and priorities. We may accept gifts for specific purposes if such gifts are not overly restrictive in purpose. This policy is designed to ensure that all gifts to or for the use of the Allen Institute are structured to benefit the Allen Institute while ensuring consistency with donor intent.

Allen Institute Reputation and Core Values. We accept gifts that do not damage or compromise the Allen Institute’s reputation and are consistent with our core values. We cannot accept a gift that, through acceptance, would create a conflict of interest, would involve unlawful discrimination, or that has restrictions preventing us from freely and effectively using the gift or income derived from the gift in furtherance of our mission and exempt purpose.

Burden on the Allen Institute. While we appreciate all gifts, we cannot accept a gift that imposes an unreasonable or undue financial, legal, or administrative burden on the Allen Institute, our staff, or other resources. We will not accept a gift that may inhibit us from seeking gifts from other donors, jeopardize our status as an exempt organization, or has contingency conditions that are not in the best interests of the Allen Institute.

Donor Engagement: 

Donor Advisors: While the Allen Institute may work with donors to further their charitable, financial, and estate planning goals, donors are ultimately responsible for ensuring that their proposed gift furthers those goals. We strongly encourage all prospective donors to seek the assistance of personal legal and financial advisors in matters relating to their gifts and the resulting tax and estate planning consequences. Our employees or other representatives may not act as a personal consultant or tax advisor to any donor. It is the donor’s responsibility to secure a qualified appraisal, as required by federal tax law, and independent legal counsel for all gifts made to the Allen Institute, at their expense. If necessary, we will obtain our own qualified appraisal at our own expense.

Donation Recognition and Confidentiality: We will keep all information about donors and prospective donors, including their names, the names of their beneficiaries, the nature and amounts of their gifts, and the sizes of their estates, strictly confidential unless the donor grants permission to release such information or unless otherwise legally required (i.e. to the IRS on tax forms). We may ask donors if we can use their information in the Allen Institute’s Annual Report or another recognition tool, but will only do so with express permission.

Gift Acknowledgment: Donors will receive acknowledgement from the Development Office of their gift within 30 days of receipt. An acknowledgement letter including a formal tax receipt for cash donations will be sent to each donor upon acceptance of a gift. Receipts and acknowledgements are necessary to ensure that gifts are deposited correctly and serve as additional verification of a tax-deductible gift for the donor. 

Acceptance of Gifts:

The following are guidelines around who can accept gifts on behalf of the Allen Institute:

Acceptance by Development Office: 

  • Cash and In-Kind gifts up to $100,000
  • Marketable Securities that may be transferred electronically 

Acceptance Requiring Review and Approval from Leadership Committee: The following are gifts that require review by, and approval from, the Leadership Committee prior to acceptance:

  • Gifts with a value more than $100,00;
  • Gifts that would be paid over a period of greater than 3 years;
  • Gifts with significant donor restrictions, as determined by the Leadership Committee;
  • Gifts that involve a naming opportunity or that would involve the use of the Allen Institute name;
  • Gifts that require a financial commitment by the Allen Institute;
  • Gifts that could have reputational implications for the Allen Institute or otherwise be inconsistent with the principles of gift acceptance outlined in this policy;
  • Gifts that may have real or perceived conflicts of interest for the donor, the Allen Institute, or any officer or director of the Allen Institute;
  • Gifts from corporations;
  • Gifts that require an exception to this policy; 
  • Gifts from bequests and other gifts from Charitable Remainder Trusts, Charitable Lead Trusts, Retirement Plan beneficiary designation and Life Insurance beneficiary designation; and
  • Gifts from international entities not already known or affiliated with the Allen Institute, and gifts from any international sources.

Forms of Gifts Accepted

Cash: Cash gifts in any form, including check, bank transfer, money order or credit card.

Marketable Securities: Marketable Securities may be transferred electronically to an account maintained on behalf of the Allen Institute. All Marketable Securities will be sold promptly upon receipt unless otherwise directed by the Leadership Committee. In some cases, Marketable Securities may be restricted (e.g., by securities laws or terms of the proposed gift). In that case, the decision whether to accept the Marketable Securities will be made by the Leadership Committee.

Tangible Personal Property: We may accept tangible personal property that furthers our mission and tax-exempt purpose (an “In-Kind Gift”).  There must be a value attached to the In-Kind Gift in writing prior to formal acceptance. In-Kind Gifts with a total value of less than $5,000 will be recorded on the Allen Institute’s financial records at the donor’s estimated value or at fair market value if recent independent verification of that value is provided. If there is no specific use for an accepted gift, the Leadership Committee will determine whether to accept the gift and how the Allen Institute will dispose of the gifts using the guiding principles in this policy.

Gift Restrictions:

All donor-imposed gift restrictions need to be documented in writing, consistent with this policy, and are subject to review.  The Development Office are responsible for ensuring compliance with all restrictions applicable to accepted gifts.

Matching Gifts: The Allen Institute honors each organization’s matching gift policies while optimizing matching opportunities as fully as possible. Cash gifts received from organizations or corporations to match gifts or volunteer time from individuals who are associated with that organization will be credited to the Allen Institute. Unless explicitly prohibited by the matching organization, these funds will be allocated to the same purpose as the individual donor’s gift.

Determining Gift Date: For gifts received in the mail, per IRS guidelines established for determining date of gifts, envelopes must be retained if received in the mail, and the gift date would be the date on the postmark. For gifts received via credit card, the gift date would be the date the charge clears the donor’s financial institution.

Scope: Potential donors should note that the provisions of this policy apply to all gifts received by the Allen Institute for its programs or activities. All Allen Institute employees and all other persons retained by or working at the Allen Institute are responsible for working with the Development Office to ensure compliance with this policy.

Records Retention: The Development Office will maintain record of receipt of gifts and donations in accordance with its document retention schedule or as required by law, whichever is longer.

Changes: This policy may be amended from time to time as the Allen Institute’s discretion.