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Donor Bill of Rights

Philanthropy is based on voluntary action for the common good. It is a tradition of giving and sharing that is primary to the quality of life. To assure that philanthropy merits the respect and trust of the general public and that donors and prospective donors can have full confidence in the not-for-profit organizations and causes they are asked to support, it is declared that all donors have these rights.

  1. To be informed of the organization's mission, of the way the organization intends to use donated resources, and of its capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purposes.
  2. To be informed of the identity of those serving on the organization's governing board and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities.
  3. To have access to the organization's most recent financial statements.
  4. To be assured gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given.
  5. To receive appropriate acknowledgment and recognition.
  6. To be assured that information about donations is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by law.
  7. To expect that all relationships with individuals representing organizations of interest to the donor will be professional in nature.
  8. To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers or employees of the organization or hired solicitors.
  9. To have the opportunity for the donor’s name to be deleted from mailing lists that an organization may intend to share.
  10. To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful, and forthright answers.

The text of this statement in its entirety was developed by the American Association of Fundraising Counsel (AAFRC), the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP), the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

Information for Donors

The Promise Lives Campaign

On June 30, 2015, Ohio University completed The Promise Lives Campaign, the boldest fundraising initiative in the University's history. The Promise Lives Campaign raised $500 million, surpassing its $450 million goal, and has positioned OHIO to advance and support outstanding academic and research initiatives, the student-life experience, our campus environment and other objectives based on Ohio University’s core principles and most notable strengths. The Promise Lives Campaign also allowed the University to mobilize and engage OHIO's loyal alumni, volunteers and donors in new and innovative ways and create a new environment for alumni and student involvement that will lead to generations of renewed support for the University.

Non-Profit Status

The Ohio University Foundation, then known as The Ohio University Fund, was incorporated in October 1945 and was granted 501(c)(3) status as a non-profit organization by the Internal Revenue Service in 1955. Contributions to The Ohio University Foundation are tax deductible to the extent provided by law.

Public Recognition of Donors

Ohio University is grateful for the support it receives from alumni, parents and friends. Public recognition of support is frequently expressed through honor rolls that may be in electronic or printed forms. If you prefer that your name not be listed in an honor roll or recognition vehicle, please contact Donor Relations at 740.593.2486 if you have not already done so.

Investment and Management of Endowed Funds

The endowment investment portfolio is professionally managed, with the long-term objective of producing real growth in excess of the endowment spending policy and inflation. The portfolio is broadly diversified into equities, fixed income and alternative investments, including commodities, private equity and hedge funds, with a 75% allocation to equity-oriented investments and 25% to fixed income-oriented investments.

Endowed gifts are invested permanently and accumulate investment income over time. Annually, a small portion of the endowment market value is authorized for expenditure in accordance with the spending policy adopted by The Ohio University Foundation. The spending policy and spending rate are reviewed annually and adjusted, as necessary, with the primary objective of balancing the need for current spending with the goal of supporting future expenditures into perpetuity. Endowment distributions are sourced from accumulated investment income - not the gift itself. Any undistributed investment income is retained with the endowment principal to provide a hedge against inflation, to generate additional growth, and to provide for protection during years with unfavorable or negative investment returns.


Currently, the annual endowment distribution is equal to the product of a 6% spending rate and the endowment's average market value for the trailing 36 months. The 6% spending rate is comprised of a 4% spending allocation and a 2% administrative fee. The spending allocation supports various initiatives, as specified in the gift agreement. This includes, but is not limited to, scholarships and fellowships, chairs and professorships, research activities, and general support of academic units. The administrative fee provides general support for the institution's fundraising, alumni relations, and fund administration functions.

The spending allocation and administrative fee rates apply to accounts whose market value exceeds the historic gift value. Occasionally, due to a downturn in the investment market, an account's market value may temporarily fall below its historic gift value. When this occurs, the endowed account is "underwater." The spending rate for underwater endowments is 1%. Underwater endowments are not assessed an administrative fee. This reduced spending rate is designed to speed the endowment's recovery and ensure the account's ability to provide a perpetual income stream in support of the University.

Click here for more information about UPMIFA and the Foundation's spending policy.

For additional information regarding the Disclosure Statement, please contact Donor Relations at 740.593.2486. Ohio University reserves the use of discretion in these stated matters.