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Gift Acceptance Policy
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Approved February 2015; Updated August 2018

General Principles

The American Philosophical Association (APA) solicits and accepts charitable contributions. All such contributions will be acknowledged in accordance with IRS regulations.

The APA will actively engage in development activities in furtherance of its mission.

Donations and other forms of support will normally be accepted from individuals, partnerships, corporations, foundations, government agencies, or other entities, with the following exceptions. The APA will not accept donations that

  • may jeopardize its status as a tax-exempt organization under state or federal law.
  • cannot be used or expended consistent with the association’s mission statement.
  • place an unreasonable burden (administrative, financial, or otherwise) on the association, its staff, leadership, or members.
  • could damage its reputation.
  • violate this gift acceptance policy.

Types of Gifts

The APA will accept gifts of cash or publicly traded securities. Gifts of in-kind services will be accepted at the discretion of the executive director. Certain other gifts, real property, personal property, in-kind gifts, non-liquid securities, and contributions whose sources are not transparent or whose use is restricted in some manner, must be reviewed by the executive director and, as appropriate, the board of officers prior to acceptance due to the special obligations raised or liabilities they may pose for the APA.

The APA will accept designations as a beneficiary of donors’ retirement and life insurance plans. Donors may make bequests to the APA under their wills and trusts.

No gift, designation, or bequest will be recorded as a gift until the gift is irrevocable, at which time the gift will be recorded in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.

The donor is responsible for all fees for independent legal counsel retained by the donor in order to make the donation, as well as any third-party fees related to the donation, including but not limited to appraisal fees, environmental audits, and title binders.

Donation Review

For gifts, donations, and contributions valued at $10,000 or more, a gift agreement between the APA and the donor specifying the terms of the gift is normally required, though the board may authorize exceptions to this requirement. If a donor wishes to remain anonymous to the board, the executive director and board chair may together authorize an exception to this requirement.

Certain gifts must be reviewed by legal counsel for the APA and approved by the board of officers before being accepted. These include the following:

  • Gifts, donations, and contributions valued at $10,000 or more that include restrictions on how the gift will be used or expended.
  • Gifts of real estate.
  • Gifts, donations, and contributions being used to establish a prize (see below).
  • Gifts that are exceptions to this policy or where their compliance with this policy is unclear.
  • Other gifts that the executive director deems appropriate for legal review.

Prizes and Special Funds

The APA will on occasion accept gifts for the purpose of establishing a prize.

The APA provides information for establishing prizes on its website. Donors wishing to establish a prize should submit to the executive director a prize proposal setting out the terms of the prize.

The executive director will work with the donor(s) to develop a mutually agreeable Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and other prize details for presentation to the board of officers, which must approve the establishment of all prizes. The executive director will normally include the chair of the Committee on Lectures, Publications, and Research in this process, and that committee will normally be asked to provide a recommendation to the board of officers regarding the approval of a prize. If another committee is to administer the prize, that committee and committee chair will be consulted.

Gifts for the purpose of establishing a prize are subject to the following terms:

  • Prizes must be consistent with the APA’s mission.
  • The APA wishes to offer a diverse portfolio of prizes. Therefore, new prizes should be substantially different from existing prizes, and prizes focused on subfields or segments of the profession for which there are already a number of established APA prizes are less likely to be approved.
  • Prizes that the board of officers deems too difficult to administer will not be established.
  • Before they can be initiated, prizes funded by an endowment require a minimum initial contributions. For prize endowments for which the principal cannot be spent, that minimum is $50,000. For prize endowments whose principal can be spent, that minimum is $20,000 or enough funds to support the prize for 10 prize cycles*, whichever is larger. These prizes must be structured to ensure that they can be funded solely by the endowment and subsequent donations, without additional funds from the APA’s operating revenue. The board of officers reserves the right to make reasonable adjustments to endowed prizes, such as reducing the prize amount or frequency at which a prize is awarded, to ensure their long term sustainability.
  • Prizes funded by an outside organization require a funding commitment of no fewer than 10 years or 5 prize cycles*, whichever is longer. Renewals of funding commitments are to be of this same length.
  • Prizes funded by endowment are to be structured financially with provisions for the long-term use of the endowment, such as periodic evaluation of the prize amount, the establishment of a second prize or fellowship, or with a prize amount set based on earnings.
  • Prize endowments will be invested in accordance with the APA’s investment policy.
  • Prizes must be defined broadly enough to ensure a significant number of competitors for the prize and sufficient candidates for the prize selection committee.
  • The APA is committed to having a portfolio of prizes that do not unfairly disadvantage underrepresented minority groups. The board of officers strongly urges potential donors to craft their prizes consistent with this commitment.
  • Prizes will normally require APA membership as a condition of eligibility.
  • The APA will charge to each prize fund reasonable direct and indirect costs. These costs will normally be set at 20 percent of the value of the prize, though the board of officers may set a higher or lower percentage based on the specifics of a given prize.
  • The APA must have legal counsel review all prize MOUs before they are approved and signed.
  • The minimum prize amount for new prizes is $1,000 per award. To the extent possible, prizes established prior to the adoption of this policy that do not meet this minimum will be adjusted to comply with this requirement.
  • Any prize requiring a designated session at a divisional meeting must be approved by the executive committee of the relevant APA division(s) as well as the board of officers.

Prizes for Lifetime Achievement

Prizes lifetime achievement—that is, prizes targeted to senior members of the profession based on their contributions to philosophy over the course of several decades—warrant a more significant monetary award and a higher threshold for acceptance. As such, the following conditions apply to proposals for new prizes that, in the judgment of the board of officers, qualify as lifetime achievement awards:

  • The minimum prize amount for new lifetime achievement awards is $5,000 per award.
  • A founding donor (or group of donors) wishing to create a prize endowment for a new lifetime achievement award must provide an initial contribution of at least $75,000 or enough funds to support the prize for 15 prize cycles*, whichever is larger, if the endowment principal can be spent. If the endowment principal cannot be spent, the minimum is $100,000.
  • Lifetime achievement prizes sponsored by an outside organization require a funding commitment of no fewer than 15 years or 15 prize cycles*, whichever is longer. The board of officers may also require an initial contribution from the prize sponsor.

Prizes Including a Lecture

Due to space constraints on meeting programs, there is limited opportunity for new prizes that include a lecture or other session at an APA divisional meeting. Therefore, the minimum founding contribution for a prize associated with a lecture or other session at an APA divisional meeting is $100,000. Sponsored prizes including a lecture board normally require a commitment of no fewer than 20 prize cycles as well as an initial contribution of at least $20,000. No prizes requiring a plenary session will be accepted; the only plenary sessions at APA meetings are the presidential addresses.

* A prize cycle is equal to the frequency at which a prize is awarded, regardless of the number of prizes awarded in each cycle. For a prize in which three awards are presented on an annual basis, a prize cycle is one year. For a prize in which one award is presented every third year, a prize cycle is three years.

Revoking Prizes and Awards

APA prizes can be revoked in the sole discretion of the APA. For more information on the revocation process, see the APA's policy on revoking prizes and awards.

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