Gifts in Support of Research

Founded in 1891 with a vision to provide an excellent education for students and contribute to society in meaningful ways, Stanford today is a global leader in teaching, research and innovation. Gifts to Stanford have played an important role in Stanford history.

Gifts are Important to Stanford

Why gifts are important to Stanford


Tuition covers only about half of the real cost of undergraduate education Even those who pay "full price" have benefited from the generosity of alumni, parents, and friends.


Nearly half of all Stanford undergraduates depend on need-based aid from the university Stanford is one of the few universities that meet 100 percent of every family's demonstrated need.

Stanford's endowment covers only about 22 percent of the university's budget Stanford's endowment is not small ($27.7 billion as of August 31, 2019) but is best measured against Stanford's mission. The university must fund more than three-quarters of its operating expenses from other sources. The amount of endowment spent each year (about 5 percent) is carefully calibrated to enable these funds to support their purposes in perpetuity.

Most gifts are restricted The majority of gifts to Stanford, and almost 80 percent of endowment funds, are directed toward particular schools, departments, or programs. Annual, expendable gifts provide vital flexibility.

Federal funding has declined Federal support for university research is significant, but it's been declining for years in real dollars. The current budget environment makes such funding even more precarious.

Stanford's mission is global Stanford is one of the few institutions in the world with the depth and breadth to help address complex, global problems. Big ideas can be expensive. Making a difference is worth it.

Every gift makes a difference Most gifts made to Stanford are under $1,000. But together they add up to millions for financial aid, academics, research, and other programs.

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Policies Pertaining to Gifts

The Administrative Guide 

AGM 4.1 Gifts to the University provides detailed information about gifts to the University, including:

  • Definitions of gifts and non-gifts
  • Responsibilities of the Board of Trustees and other university officers
  • Descriptions of various gift classifications and how gifts may be designated
  • Tax considerations

AGM 4.2 Receiving and Processing Gifts describes:

  • Various types of gifts accepted by the University
  • Proper procedures for processing
  • Acknowledging, and recording gifts, including equipment, land, buildings, and special collections
  • Recording and processing donations of equipment
  • Special collections 

The Research Policy Handbook

RPH 13.1 Gift vs. Sponsored Projects and Distinctions from Other Forms of Funding

  • Defines sponsored projects as distinguished from gifts, and outlines specific procedures for distinguishing one from the other
  • Provides a matrix to help you determine whether funds are a gift or support of a sponsored project
  • Provides a document intended to establish a mutual understanding when dealing with corporate or industry donors

The Property Management Manual 

PMM 2.5 Donations and Gifts provides procedures for handling non-cash gifts and donations, including specific guidelines for:

  • Donations Use and Restrictions
  • Donations Intended for Immediate Sale
  • Non-Capital Asset Donations
  • Donation Documentation
  • Equipment Donation—Operational Procedure
  • Gift Acknowledgement
  • Federal Agency or Other Sponsor Furnished Equipment

Other Supporting Documents


Crowdfunding for Stanford Research


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