7.2 General Considerations


Often donors are interested in whether a tax deduction is available for a gift to the University. To ensure that a tax deduction is available, the University will advise as appropriate donors from the United States to make gifts through the OIST Foundation in New York, and corporate donors from Japan to make gifts through the Promotion and Mutual Aid Corporation for Private School of Japan [Nihon Shiritsu Gakkou Shinkou Kyousai Jigyoudan].


Restricted Gifts, those made for a defined purpose or for an area of research specified by the donor, deserve special attention and in some cases may involve negotiation to ensure that these gifts are aligned with OIST’s mission and institutional interests.


Gifts that involve associated costs for the University to pay (e.g., the donor pays building construction costs but the University must pay for building maintenance and repairs) are acceptable but require close review.


Gifts vs Grants. A grant, which may be provided by governments, the private sector, or a private individual donor, is not a “gift” because the grantor effectively determines how the money is to be used, requires audits of expenditure, places time and other constraints on the research, requires periodic reports, and may obtain a commercial interest in the results of the research, among other things. Additionally, grants (including private grants made by individuals) may be subject to an indirect costs (overhead) assessment, whereas gifts will not be subject to that imposition. Grants should be administered by the Grants Section (in the office of the Dean of Research) rather than the Fundraising office. Thus it is very important to distinguish between a gift and a grant. Gifts. In general, donated funds are gifts when the following characteristics exist:

  • the donor intends to make a charitable contribution;           
  • the donor does not impose contractual requirements; and   
  • the funds are given irrevocably. Private grants. In general, provision of funds are grants when any of the following characteristics exist:  

  • there is provision for audits by or on behalf of the person providing the money;      
  • the person providing the money is entitled to receive some consideration such as a detailed technical report of research results or a report of expenditures;      
  • the research is directed to satisfying specific  requirements as directed by the person providing the money (e.g., a precisely stated scope of work to be accomplished within a specific period of time, instead of  a statement supporting a general area of research);      
  • a specified period for performance is prescribed, or  termination is at the discretion of the person providing the money;      
  • funds that are unexpended at end of period are to be returned to the person providing the money;     
  • patent or licensing rights are requested by the person providing the money.

7.2.5 Gifts involving “matching funds” are permissible. Care must be exercised to determine whether such a gift might actually constitute a joint research collaboration, which should be referred to the office of the President.


“In Kind” donations (items rather than money) to support a research collaboration are subject to different rules and should be referred to the office of the President for review.


Special attention must be paid to the nature of the agreement when a gift is given by a commercial company.  No direct profit-based advantage to a commercial entity can be part of an agreement between the University and the commercial enterprise making a gift.

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