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Donation Acceptance Policy

Being a not-for-profit charitable organization, the Vanier Institute of the Family (Vanier Institute), will receive donations from time to time of various types and amounts. The Vanier Institute will conduct itself in an ethical and honest manner, treating supporters and donors with the utmost respect at all times.



Generally, a gift is a voluntary transfer of property without valuable consideration to the donor. The Vanier Institute considers the word “donation” to be equivalent to the word “gift.”


The term “gift-in-kind” refers to a gift of property other than cash — capital property, depreciable property and personal-use property. It also includes a residual interest, a right of any kind, a license, a share, and inventory of a business. It does not include a gift of services.

Gift of services

Contributions of services may not be acknowledged by issue of an official receipt. A gift must involve property. Contributions of services (time, skills, effort) are not property and do not qualify.

Terms and Conditions

The Vanier Institute values its public and private-sector partnerships and welcomes donations that support its mission. While the Vanier Institute greatly appreciates the generosity of its alumni and friends, it may not always be in the interests of the Institute to accept a donation.

The following principles will be considered before a donation is accepted by the Vanier Institute:

  1. Ownership and management of all donations resides with the Vanier Institute, whether for the benefit of thInstitute generally or for some specific purpose. While the Institute welcomes all donations that support any current or planned project, to maximize flexibility the Vanier Institute prefers to receive unrestricted donations that can be used for such purposes as the Institute determines most appropriate, based on the priorities of the Institute.
  2. The practice of management is to inform, serve, guide, and assist donors, who support the Vanier Institute’s activities, but never to pressure or unduly persuade.
  3. Donors will be encouraged to discuss the proposed donation with independent legal, financial or tax advisors of the donor’s choice to ensure that the donor receives a full and accurate explanation of all aspects of the proposed donation. Should a donor not have access to such advice, the Vanier Institute will provide a list of qualified legal, financial, and tax advisors from which the donor might select. In all cases, the costs for the services of any advisors shall be borne by the donor.
  4. Gift-related costs such as legal fees, appraisals, real estate commissions, and taxes relating to acceptance, maintenance, management, or re-sale of a gift of property, will normally be the responsibility of the donor unless the Vanier Institute, upon prior agreement, agrees to assume responsibility for any portions of these items. There may be instances that the foundation will cover these costs. In these instances, Board approval is required.

All gifts accepted by the Vanier institute must:

  • Be congruent with the overall strategic direction, mission, vision and values of the Vanier Institute. Donations from organizations that are affiliated with the Institute through formal agreements such as partnerships or affiliation agreements are subject to the Institute’s Donation Acceptance Policy and associated procedures.
  • Allow for sufficient due diligence and lead to outcomes that reflect the values and integrity of the Vanier institute. All donations must go through the appropriate approvals process with the proper supporting documentation and endorsement.
  • Be liquidated on receipt, in the case of marketable securities, unless the retention of such securities is consistent with the Vanier Institute’s Investment Policy and accepted by the investment manager.

A gift will not be accepted by the Vanier Institute if:

  • It compromises the integrity or autonomy of the Vanier Institute.
  • It has any restrictions for use placed on it by the donor that are incompatible with the Vanier Institute’s mission or Canada Revenue Agency’s requirements.
  • It is from an individual or entity involved in activities inconsistent with the mandate, vision, and values of the Vanier Institute.
  • The donor’s reputation or business activities may have an adverse effect on the Vanier Institute’s reputation.
  • The gift creates financial risk and burden or if it requires expenditures beyond the Vanier Institute’s resources (e.g. donations that are unmarketable, inaccessible, and impractical or that may bring liability upon the Institute).
  • It requires the Vanier Institute to give special consideration for employment to the donor, or to anyone designated by the donor.

Roles and Responsibilities

In consultation with the Vanier Institute’s legal counsel, and investment managers the Executive Director is authorized to negotiate donation agreements with prospective donors, in accordance with the guidelines laid out in this policy. 

Operational Procedures

  1. The Executive Director is authorized to negotiate donation agreements with prospective donors. Final documents are to be signed in accordance with the Vanier Institute’s Signing Authority Policy.
  2. All planned giving agreements requiring execution by the Vanier Institute must first be approved, as to form, by the Institute’s legal counsel. Where, substantially, the same agreement is used repeatedly, only the prototype needs to be approved.
  3. The Vanier Institute will maintain the trust of its donors by ensuring the funds are spent for the purposes for which they were raised or according to donor designation, approved by the Vanier Institute, at the time the donation was made. Appropriate records will be maintained by management and every effort will be made to ensure accountability to all donors.
  4. The Executive Director is solely responsible for issuing charitable tax receipts for all charitable donations received by the Vanier Institute. Donation processing will be handled in accordance with the donor’s wishes, consistent with the Institute’s policies, Canadian Income Tax Act regulations governing charitable organizations, and Canada Revenue Agency guidelines on charitable donations. All donations received will be receipted, acknowledged, and recorded for audit, historic, and recognition purposes.
  5. The Vanier Institute may not accept externally restricted donations without the Finance, Audit, Investment, and Risk (FAIR) Committee’s approval. Ideally, all donations will correspond to identified Vanier Institute needs.
  6. If the Vanier Institute deems that a donor’s wishes do not correspond with the Institute’s planning priorities, the donor will be asked to designate his or her intended donation. If the donor’s wishes cannot be satisfied within the parameters of the Institute’s goals and priorities, the intended donation will be declined with thanks.
  7. Before the following donations are accepted, and to ensure the gift is properly structured, it must be reviewed and approved by the FAIR Committee:
    • Outright donations of real estate
    • Residual interest donations
    • Charitable remainder trusts
    • Donations of art (over a value of $100,000)
    • Donations-in-kind (over a value of $100,000)
  8. Relevant information about the donation shall be obtained, including a copy of any appraisal secured by the donor at their expense. The Vanier Institute reserves the right to secure its own appraisal.
  9. The Vanier Institute will not issue donation annuities but may accept assets from a donor, pursuant to an agreement authorizing the Institute to:
    • use a portion of the assets to purchase a commercial annuity paying a stipulated amount to the donor or other annuitant; and,
    • retain the remaining assets for charitable purposes.
  10. The Vanier Institute will not serve as trustee of charitable remainder trusts but will encourage the donor to seek the assistance of a trust company or other professional trustee.
  11. The Vanier Institute will not normally accept donations of certified cultural property, shares of privately owned corporations, or partnership interests.
  12. A minimum gift of $5,000 is required to establish a named special fund, unless there is an exception made by the Board.
  13. The Vanier Institute generally accepts charitable donations in the form of cash, cheque, credit card, marketable securities, donations-in-kind, or deferred donations, which include will bequests, life insurance policies, donation annuities, charitable remainder trusts, and such other donation types as the Board of Directors may approve. All development, plans, and activities are subject to Board approval.