Private Sector and Foundation Funding to George Mason University and the George Mason University Foundation, Inc.

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University Policy Number 4008


Responsible Office:

Policy Procedure:

Related Law & Policy:

  • N/A


This policy applies to all activities of George Mason University (Mason) faculty, staff, and students financially supported by gifts, grants or contracts or cooperative agreements from private sector entities (for-profit or non-profit) and individuals.


This policy is designed to:

  1. Maintain a consistent university image to the private sector,
  2. Facilitate giving to the University from private sources,
  3. Facilitate administration of private sector funds, and
  4. Ensure compliance with the requirements of Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) 116 and IRS regulations, which relate to the acceptance and accounting of gifts, pledges, and associated benefits


Grant, Cooperative Agreement, or Contract: Grants, cooperative agreements, or contracts are agreements representing the transfer of money, property, or services by a sponsor in exchange for specified services or activities (e.g. research and development), including requirements for financial and/or technical reporting by the recipient as to the actual use of the money or results.  The agreement is enforceable by law, and performance is usually to be accomplished under time constraints with payment being subject to being revoked for cause.

A gift, or donation, is a voluntary and irrevocable transfer of money or real property (e.g., stock, real estate, equipment, or materials) made by a donor without any expectation or receipt of direct economic benefit or provision of goods or services from the recipient.

A private sector entity is a private agency, professional association, private foundation, corporate foundation, corporation or other such entity.

A public sector entity is a federal, state or local government agency or municipality.

A quasi-governmental organization is an organization that has characteristics of both public and private entities.

A donor is an individual or entity who gives a gift or donation to George Mason University Foundation, Inc (GMUF).

A sponsor may be a donor but usually is an entity that provides funding for a specific project with specific terms and conditions associated with the funding.


The Mason Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) is responsible for administering sponsored project support of Mason from all entities, including state, local, national and foreign governments, as well as non-profit and for-profit private sector sponsors.  Mason OSP is the office authorized to seek, accept, and administer grants, cooperative agreements and contracts in support of research, education, training, and other university activities from both public and private entities.  Proposals and applications to donors or sponsors are official only if signed by the duly authorized officials as appropriate.

GMUF seeks, accepts and administers gifts and donations on behalf of Mason from private sector donors in coordination with the Office of University Development.

Private sector entities will be determined by OSP and GMUF, in collaboration, to be either donors (whose awards are “gifts” or “donations”) or sponsors (whose awards are “grants,” “cooperative agreements,” or “contracts”) depending on the award instrument.

Mason Faculty, Administration and Staff involved in grant seeking activities are responsible for communicating with OSP and/or GMUF depending on the funding type to ensure the appropriate administrative actions are taken.


The Mason Director of OSP and the Mason Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations on behalf of GMUF will develop, disseminate and apply procedures to support this policy.


All Mason faculty, staff, students and administrators, as well as affiliated organizations that use the Mason name or logo in seeking outside funding, will comply with this policy.  Mason and GMUF may choose not to accept funding for projects found to be in noncompliance with this policy.


This policy is effective March 1, 2008.  This policy shall be reviewed and revised, if necessary, every five years effective at the beginning of the University’s fiscal year, unless otherwise noted.  All amendments and additions to this policy are to be reviewed and approved by the signators or their successors.


Alan G. Merten
Date approved: March 27, 2008

Maurice W. Scherrens
Senior Vice President
Date approved: March 24, 2008

Peter N. Stearns
Date approved: March 27,2008

David A. Roe
President, George Mason University Foundation
Date approved: April 1, 2008

Matt Kluger
Vice President for Research and Economic Development
Date approved: April 2, 2008