Current Use Gift Process & Administration


BEST PRACTICE: Contact the accounting office to discuss pending proposals and gifts so that key issues are addressed before a potentially problematic solicitation moves too far along the process.

All gifts to Harvard are processed by the Alumni & Development Services Office (ADS), who may choose not to accept a gift on behalf of Harvard if it does not abide by University policies. The ADS team will work with Schools and units to craft terms of use language that is acceptable to both the donor and the University. Therefore, only ADS personnel can sign on behalf of the University.

If you aren't certain whether the funding is a Current Use Gift or a Sponsored award please reference the Gift vs Grant Checklist. If the funding is a grant, follow the same OSP guidelines and process you have used in the past. If the funding is a current use gift, please follow the process below:

  • Approved terms are required. For a gift under $100K in total value which is from a corporation that Harvard has previously done business with, you can use the new Corporate Gift Template for Faculty Research. Please fill out the top sections of the gift agreement and send to SEAS Finance and ADC. 
  • For new accounts, a CSMA request to acquire a new 33-digit string will be sent to ADS for review and approval.
  • Once approved, the new account will be activated; the fund will then be placed on the PI Dashboard along with corresponding documentation and relevant correspondence.
  • A new gift notification will be sent which requires acknowledgment of the terms and the administration assessment fee; this too will be placed on the PI Dashboard document depository.
  • After the funding is received, an acknowledgment letter is sent to the donor and the ADS will provide tax receipts.


For Checks

  • All gift checks must be made out to: President & Fellows of Harvard College. In the memo line, please reference the PI and if it is known, the gift number.
  • For processing send the check provided by the donor to: ADS - Office of the Controller, 1033 Mass Avenue, 2nd Floor, Cambridge, MA 02138
  • Forward all letters, documentation, or other electronic correspondence regarding the gift to
  • If funding is for an existing account, follow the same directions as for a new gift.

For Wire Transfers


The University has a stewardship obligation to ensure that restricted funds are spent in accordance with donor terms. Throughout the year, all who spend against donor-restricted funds should check the status of their current use gift. As with all funds, balances should remain positive. Should a fund fall into deficit, it is the fiduciary responsibility of the fund administrator to transfer expenses out of the fund. Do not transfer income into the fund from other sources. If the fund remains in deficit at the end of the fiscal year, an interest charge will be posted to the fund in July of the following year. Financial managers have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that accounts do not finish the year in deficit and are compliant with the donor terms of use.

In accordance with the University’s Restricted Fund Spending Policy, on an annual basis, all who spend against donor-restricted funds (or managers who oversee such staff) will certify in writing that they are familiar with and will abide by spending terms on those funds.