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L&S Gift Management: UW Foundation Policy Overview
The University of Wisconsin Foundation (UWF) is the official fundraising and gift-receiving organization for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the university’s development and financial partner. Each year, the UW Foundation transfers gift and investment income to UW-Madison to support campus priorities like scholarships, building projects, research efforts, and initiatives in specific schools, colleges, and programs.
The University of Wisconsin Foundation is a separate organization from University of Wisconsin-Madison so it is important to understand the policies and procedures that allow us to work together to support the mission of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. We are all responsible for ensuring that the correct policies are followed for the acceptance and administrative stewardship of gifts made directly to the University, as well as gifts made to the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association (WFAA) in support of the University.
Requesting Access to the UW Foundation Resources
The Advancement Hub of the WFAA has two sections:
4WARD- WFAA Constituent Relationship Management Database is WFAA’s database of the alumni, donors, and friends.
Gift and Fund Management, or GFM, provides access to information about deposits, distributions requests, view fund information, access key reports about funds, including the Donor Acknowledgment report (DAR).
Access to the Gift and Fund Management website can be requested for UW–Madison employees with advancement or fund administration responsibilities. To request access, the employee's supervisor needs to submit the request via the Access Request Form.
Once the request has been submitted, the Foundation will be in contact with the user to confirm login and training information. Failure to complete the training, or return any necessary documentation required by the Foundation, will result in a delay or denial of access to the website.
For more information, please review the Best Tools and Practices for Gift and Fund Management on the WFAA Website.
Policy and Spending of Foundation Funds
All payments made using Foundation/gift funds need to follow UW policies and procedures, as well as align with donor intent for the Foundation. The majority of expenses supported by Foundation funds will be paid directly through 233 projects at UW-Madison using the method appropriate for the expense (HRS, ShopUW, Purchasing Card, WiSH, e-Reimbursement, etc.).
Meal overages and alcohol purchases are not allowable on UW funds, including 233 projects. To ensure proper handling, review the policies below.
Once purchases have been made using a 233 project, funds will need to be transferred from the Foundation to the 233 project to cover for those expenses.
When reviewing the available balance of Foundation funds, it is important to review available income on the Foundation fund and also the balances and commitments for the corresponding 233 project(s) at UW as well. Since manual transfers are required to move Foundation funds to the 233 projects at UW, the balances of both need to be looked at together to get an accurate total of available funds.
Relevant Campus and WFAA policies:
Guide to Allowable Expenses
UW Foundation strives to be a good steward of donor money. All payments are looked at on a case-by-case basis with the donor in mind. If there is doubt that a payment is in line with the donor’s wishes, the payment will not be approved. Keep in mind that a discretionary fund allows you to spend money on any allowable expense. Furthermore, some funds will be limited to certain types of expenses: for example, a discretionary scholarship fund is discretionary within the realm of scholarship payments, it can’t be used for non-scholarship expenses.
Special approval is required for expenses that fall under the Official Functions guidelines so it is essential to become familiar with the activities that require extra approval and processing requirements. Some examples include:
Functions for Board of Visitors or officials from other public or private institutions.
Functions for graduating classes and their parents.
Employee recognition and morale/team building events
House hunting trip for faculty or staff
Alumni events and activities
Nominal gifts—excluding gift cards and cash equivalents
Foundation funds can be used to pay for meal overages and alcohol, however, review the Business Meal policy for the current maximums allowed by the Foundation and proper procedure.
A UW business purpose is required for every expense, including purchases made using gift funds. If you cannot express a benefit to the UW, it is not allowable. All expenses need to follow UW policy, even when purchased using Foundation funds. Expenses that are not allowed by UW policy cannot be paid for directly by the Foundation, with the exception of meal overages and alcohol. This includes:
printing, unless prior approval obtained
gifts, except promo items of no perceived value (e.g., UW logo mugs, t-shirts, key chains, cinch sacks, etc.).
payments to other non-profits (e.g., other foundations, charities, universities, etc.).
tuition payments to other universities.
Payments to Individuals
non-public area furniture or office decorations, appliances for staff use (e.g., refrigerators, microwaves, toaster ovens, coffee makers
Expenses that can be submitted through UW cannot be paid by UW Foundation. The UW Foundation works with Accounting Services to make sure all payments complement UW policy.
Key concept: using UW Foundation to circumvent UW policy is not allowed.