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Proposal Development and Submission

Grants, Gifts and Contracts

Categorizing Funds for Stewardship

The Ohio State University regularly receives funding from a variety of sources including government agencies, corporations, and private agencies. Private sector entities (private agencies, professional associations, private foundations, corporate foundations and corporations) may be either donors or sponsors depending on the nature, intent and expectations of the funding they are providing. It’s important to categorize these funds correctly so that they can be recorded, managed and reported in the manner that ensures appropriate stewardship and maximizes the benefits for both donor/sponsor and the university.

Private Fund Categories

Sponsored agreements

The Office of Sponsored Programs is the entity authorized by the university to seek, accept and administer all sponsored agreements.

  • Reciprocal agreements - each party giving and receiving something of relatively equal value in the transaction
  • Received as grants, contracts or cooperative agreements

Philanthropic gifts

The Office of Advancement manages philanthropic gifts and donations received by Ohio State’s Foundation.

  • Money, services or property voluntarily transferred from a donor to the university
  • No expectation of direct economic benefit or the provision of goods and services to the donor, although donors can place stipulations on gifts that direct the funds to the donors’ areas of interest
  • The absence of quid pro quo language defines the charitable nature of this type of giving 
  • Received as grants or outright gifts

Guidelines for Grant Versus Gifts

Since the term Grant can refer to a sponsored agreement or a philanthropic gift, it is important to look at both the intent of the funding and the other requirements of the grant to determine how it should be managed. The following indicators have been developed to help direct specific opportunities to the appropriate university office.

Stewardship by the Office of Sponsored Programs

  • Grant is from a governmental or quasi-governmental entity, e.g., Argonne National Laboratory, or is from a private-sector sponsor that provides a subcontract or sub-grant containing federal “flow down” provisions.
  • The sponsor places restrictions on publication of data from studies supported by the agreement. This would include a requirement that the sponsor review manuscripts, talks, etc., before submission for publication or presentation.
  • The sponsor requests proprietary rights to data or inventions resulting from activities conducted under the agreement. This would include any proprietary rights and/or references to licensing arrangements for patents or copyrights developed as an outcome of the activity.
  • Studies are to be conducted on substances/products/processes, etc., owned by the sponsor.
  • The sponsor hopes to gain economic benefits as a result of the activity to be conducted.
  • The sponsor participates in determining the work to be performed or services to be provided on the project.

Stewardship by the Office of Advancement

  • The grant is from a non-governmental source and is either for capital improvements, the university’s endowment or current use funds. Current use funds are used to finance routine operations, including programming, within a college/unit.
  • The grant is from a private foundation and only requires a proposed plan, brief budget and stewardship reporting.
  • The donor specifically intends the grant to be a charitable gift as reflected by the absence of any quid pro quo language.
  • The conditions or stipulations placed on the use of the award are reasonable and serve to direct the funds to areas such as scholarships, programs, infrastructure, or general research support of interest to the donor.
  • The donor makes the gift to the university without expectation of direct economic or other tangible benefit, including the proprietary right to use the results of the study, commensurate with the value of the gift. Indirect benefits such as tax advantages, business or personal goodwill derived from close association with the university, and miscellaneous benefits derived from donor club status are not sufficient to negate gift intent.

Additional Information

Establishing and understanding the donor’s intended use of the funds will usually answer the question as to whether the Office of Sponsored Programs or the Office of Advancement should process the money. If however, there are still questions, contact:

Associate Director

Kristy Baker (OBIC)

Senior Director of Foundation Relations

Marilyn Roberts