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Gift Funds

Learn more about gift funds.

All gifts and pledges received by either The Regents or the UC San Diego Foundation are designated to either an existing gift fund or to a new fund set up to support the purpose of the gift.

Fund Accounting Rules require all gifts with a similar purpose to be allocated to the same fund.  New funds are only created when a unique purpose cannot be attributed to an existing fund.

Gift Services will set up a new gift fund when a gift is received and there is no active fund that has the same restrictions as those put on the gift by the donor. A request to set up a new fund may come from a department, from a development officer, or after working directly with a donor.

Gift funds are either Current funds or Endowment funds. Both funds are held by either The Regents or the UC San Diego Foundation.

Current Funds

  • Current funds are funds that can be spent for the purpose designated by the donor
  • Once expended, the fund is closed
  • Current funds earn interest but the interest is swept by the campus

New Foundation Current Use Funds

A new Foundation current use fund can be established prior to receiving any gifts. If the request is initiated by a department or by a development officer, a UC San Diego Fund Information Sheet should be completed and sent to Gift Services, along with a copy of gift instrument (gift letter, solicitation piece) stating use of funds, if available.

The minimum gift level to open up a current use gift fund with the UC San Diego Foundation is $1,000. If the initial gift is less than $1,000, a written explanation stating why the requestor believes the gift level will exceed $1,000 and when (timeframe), should accompany the fund information sheets.    

New Regents Current Use Funds

All Regents gifts must have a completed Gift Acceptance Form (UDEV-100, Excel) (plus any additional supporting documentation) to be processed. Requests to open new Regents current use funds are most often made by checking “Request new IPFOPAL” in Box 16 of the UDEV- 100.

Sometimes an existing fund can be used with a new index (which can be assigned by the department). Before opening up new fund, Gift Services will contact the department to determine whether an existing fund for the designated purpose of the donation can be used.

If a new gift fund needs to be opened, Gift Services will set up a new fund number in the advancement donor database.

Current Funds that may convert to Endowments at a later date

Often times a current fund will be opened with the intent of converting to an endowment fund once a certain funding level is reached. In this case, a written solicitation to donors or copy of a public notice explaining this intent should accompany the new fund set up sheets. This is important as it must be documented that the donors understood that the purpose of their gift could change over time. If there is no proof that donors were advised of this change, at the point of the requested conversion, donors will need to be contacted in writing and advised of the intended conversion. This lengthy and complex process would be the responsibility of the department or development officer requesting the change and can be avoided by proper notification to the donors when the fundraising efforts are first initiated.

Memorial Funds

A memorial gift is a charitable contribution made in memory of a deceased individual. At UC San Diego, in most cases memorial gifts are received through the Moores Cancer Center, Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, etc. to honor an individual that died as a result of a disease. The department benefitting from the “In Memory” donation will send the appropriate acknowledgement to the surviving family member. There is usually no need to open up an additional fund as an existing campus unit fund can accommodate the various donations. However, a separate memorial fund can be established when a charitable contribution is made to honor deceased alumni, faculty, students, doctors or other persons, and to assist the school, department, or program with which the deceased was affiliated.

If a new memorial fund is requested, the family may have a specific use in mind and name the fund accordingly such as “The John Triton Memorial Scholarship Fund for Undergraduate Engineering Students”. The fund may be restricted to a particular department or field of study, used at the Chancellor’s discretion, or used to support student aid and the fund may be replenished with annual gifts from the decedent’s family or friends.

In choosing whether the new fund should be a Regents or UC San Diego Foundation fund, we recommend that a Regents fund be set up if the funds will be utilized for research as soon as they are received and there is no plan to create an endowment or expectation of reaching the $10,000 endowment minimum threshold. For restricted endowments other minimum dollar amounts may apply and we recommend use of the UC San Diego Foundation.

If the family wishes to solicit gifts for a new memorial fund, the fund can be included in the obituary with the following wording:

“In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the “John Triton Memorial Scholarship Fund” at University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive #9040, La Jolla , CA 92093-0940”.

To establish a memorial fund, contact Gift Services with the following information:

  • The name of the deceased, class year and/or affiliation to the University.
  • The name, address and telephone number of the individual or other family representative to receive notification of gifts received and determine fund designation.
  • Whether the intention is for the fund to eventually become an endowment.
  • The purpose/use of the fund.
  • A copy of the obituary, if available.

Endowed Funds

  • Endowments Funds are held and invested in perpetuity
  • The principal is never spent to ensure growth and long term funding
  • Endowments require special gift language
  • Endowment Spending Policies allow for spending some of the annual return. This “spending” is then made available to the Departments

Endowment terms

Endowments are set up and implemented based on the agreement (or “terms”) that is established between the University and the donor. The agreement contains legal stipulations: 1) the original gift may never be expended, 2) the gift(s) are held and invested in perpetuity by The Regents of the University of California and the UC San Diego Foundation for the purpose of generating a permanent expendable income stream from the return on the gift, and 3) that the gift will be used for the purpose the donor desires. For sample gift agreements for endowed gifts see Gift Agreements.

Endowment Fund Guidelines for Regents and the UC San Diego Foundation

The Regents and the UC San Diego Foundation essentially follow the same guidelines for establishing new endowment funds.

There are differing minimum levels required to open an endowment.

Because of the cost of fund administration in relation to projected annual endowment income, a standard minimum of $10,000 is necessary to establish a new endowment in The Regents or the UC San Diego Foundation.

For endowed chairs, the standard minimum amount of a gift or gifts required to establish a general campus chair is $1,000,000.  The minimum is $2,000,000 to establish chairs in SIO and Health Sciences.  To establish an administrative chair requires a minimum of $3,000,000 and a VC chair is a minimum of $5,000,000.

While certain minimum levels are required, the department or development officer working directly with the donor(s) should consider whether the projected annual endowment income, both now and in the future, would be sufficient to fulfill the donor’s intended purpose.

Funds Functioning as Endowments (FFE)

A fund functioning as an endowment, also called a quasi-endowment, may be created by a gift or bequest when a donor does not instruct either that the gift be expended in its entirety or held as a true endowment. In such cases, UC San Diego may, acting in its own discretion, decide to create a fund functioning as an endowment in which the funds are invested in the same manner as if they were subject to the terms of a true endowment, with the crucial distinction that the University may at any time decide to withdraw all or part of the corpus of the fund and expend it for the purpose designated by the donor.