Charitable Giving

Q: What is a charitable gift?

A: A gift is something bestowed voluntarily and without compensation. Gifts to charity made by individuals and entities are eligible for a deduction against income tax or estate tax under the United States tax structure. Charitable gifts are usually defined by the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS has expanded the dictionary definition of “gift” in making its determination whether a charitable gift is eligible for deduction. Characteristics of a charitable gift include: a clear and unmistakable intention on the part of the donor to absolutely and irrevocably divest himself or herself of title, dominion, and control of the property; the irrevocable transfer of the present legal title and dominion and control of the entire gift to the donee so that the donor can exercise no further act of dominion and control over it; a delivery by the donor to the donee of the gift or of the most effective means of commending dominion over it; and the acceptance of the gift by the donee. The gift must be made to an organization recognized as charitable by the IRS. Charitable organizations are exempt from paying tax, but not all tax-exempt organizations are charitable. Wayne State University is recognized by the IRS as a charitable organization.

Q: Can I put restrictions on my gift?

A: You can place some restrictions on your gift but they must be discussed with the University to be sure that such restrictions are legal and acceptable to the University. An example of a common restriction that is both legal and acceptable to the University is to give money for a scholarship based on need and merit.

Q: How does the University substantiate charitable gifts that it receives?

A: The University issues receipts to donors that contain the information the IRS requires a taxpayer to have if asked to substantiate a charitable gift. Our official receipts include the amount of cash the University receives from you or a description of non-cash property received (but not the value), a statement whether the University provided anything to you in return for the contribution and a description and good faith estimate of the value of any goods or services the University provided.

Q: What methods of giving to Wayne State University are available?

A: There are numerous creative ways in which you can support Wayne State University. They include the following: Cash gifts or checks; marketable securities; bequests in wills or trusts; life-income gifts; gifts from retirement fund assets; life insurance gifts; charitable lead trusts and many other assets.

Please contact the Planned Gifts staff at (313) 577-6481 for information on any of the foregoing methods of giving and for assistance in planning your gift or a personalized proposal for the gift that is right for you.

Q: Why give to Wayne State University?

A: Financial support from alumni, corporations, foundations and other friends strengthens our academic and research enterprises and helps continue our contributions to the quality of life in Michigan and around the world. Private gifts also keep us competitive and help enhance the reputation of this institution.

Without private gifts and grants, Wayne State University would not rank among the nation's leading public research universities and fewer students could afford to attend. The University has achieved prominence in many areas of scholarship and scientific discovery, and that level of excellence is tied directly to our level of private support.


The foregoing is a general outline about charitable giving. If you would like further information or would like to make a charitable gift to WSU, please contact the Division of Development & Alumni Affairs at or at:

Beecher House
5475 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48202
(313) 577-2275
(888) WSU-GIVE
Fax: (313) 577-1069


-- updated April, 2011