Sponsored Programs vs Gift

Sponsored program awards and gifts are both forms of external financial support for Howard University. Because sponsored programs and gifts are managed by different offices at Howard University, and may be subject to different standards. A gift is typically a voluntary and irrevocable transfer of money, services, or property (e.g., equipment, personnel time and skill) without expectation of direct economic benefit or provision of goods or services by the recipient to the funder. However, many gifts are designated to support specific purposes.  Gifts also can contain some of the attributes of sponsored awards listed above.

For any given instance of external giving, the determination of whether the support constitutes a gift or a sponsored program award can involve subtle considerations and the judgment of senior decision-makers. Sponsored programs typically have one or more of the following elements: 

  • An agreement with the sponsor binding Howard University to a specific line of scholarly or scientific inquiry as detailed in a work statement, by stipulation of requirements for orderly testing or validation of particular approaches, or by the designation of performance targets. Excluded from this criterion are advances and contracts for publications involving scholarly writing and/or artistic creation.
  • A specific commitment regarding the level of personnel effort, items, or output, or the achievement of specific performance targets as a condition of obtaining sponsorship.
  • Cost-sharing as a condition of obtaining sponsorship.
  • A line item budget detailing or limiting expenditures by activity function and project period to which adherence is a condition of funding.
  •  A required submission of a detailed fiscal or activity report or external audit at intervals during the course of the work and/or at the end of the project period.
  • Overhead or F&A costs as a line item of the budget.
  • A return of unexpended funds to the sponsor at the end of the project period.
  • The use or involvement of human subjects, laboratory animals, radiological hazards, biohazards, or recombinant DNA.


Please see Sponsored Programs vs. Gift Policy 600-007.