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Frequently Asked Questions

What can my gift support? Where can I find a copy of my gift receipt? Find answers to common questions here.

I want to learn more about making a gift

  • Your gift can be designated to support the programs and areas at Stanford that are most meaningful to you.

    Many donors choose to support Stanford by making gifts through annual funds, such as The Stanford Fund for Undergraduate Education, school-specific annual funds, or the Buck/Cardinal Club. Annual funds are a vital resource for Stanford because they can be used to meet the areas of greatest need.

    If you are in a reunion year, annual giving is also a wonderful way to support your reunion campaign.

    If you’d like to explore even more options, please visit our Areas to Support page.

  • Many schools and programs at the university publish annual reports that include honor rolls. Unless you have designated your gift as anonymous, your name may appear in one of these reports at the appropriate gift level.

    Donors who have established named funds at Stanford—typically endowed funds or larger expendable funds—receive regular reports from the university. Reporting may include contact from faculty or students, depending on the nature of the gift.

  • All gifts to Stanford are tax deductible in the United States. There may also be tax benefits for residents of other countries; you can visit Information for International Donors for more details.

    Bequests and life income gifts may offer significant tax savings. Please see our Planned Giving pages for more information, or contact the Planned Giving staff.

  • To find out if your company offers a gift-matching program, please search our online database of companies with matching gifts programs. You can also ask your human resources department about your company’s policy. You will likely need to fill out a form provided by your company, which they will send to Stanford.

    If your company offers matching gifts, please let us know at the time you make your gift. If you give online, you can check the box next to “I will submit a matching gift from my employer” in the “payment details” section of the form.

  • Most endowed funding opportunities require a minimum gift level. Here are some examples:

    • School-based professorship ($4 million gift)

    • Senior fellow ($3 million gift)

    • Faculty scholar awards ($2 million gift)

    • Graduate fellowship ($1.2 million gift)

    • Need-based undergraduate scholarship ($250,000*)

    • Athletic scholarships ($1.25 million)

    • Program support funds (varies)

    • Building funds (varies)

    * Recent grads may establish an endowment with a minimum gift of $166,666.

  • An expendable gift is meant to be used in its entirety, either immediately or over a specified period of time. All gifts to annual funds are considered to be expendable. Some larger expendable gifts may be used over longer periods.

    Endowed funds are meant to provide support in perpetuity; most undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships, and professorships are examples of endowed funds. These gifts are invested for the long term to provide a permanent source of financial support for the university. Each year, a portion of the fund is paid out—usually about 5 percent—and used for the purposes the donor and the university agreed upon when the gift was made.

  • If you have securities that have appreciated in value, you may receive a tax deduction and avoid capital gains taxes by giving them to Stanford. We encourage you to discuss the tax benefits of a gift of securities with your accountant or attorney, and you can also visit our Appreciated Securities Transfer page for more details.

    For specific questions about giving securities to Stanford, please contact Gift Securities at (650) 721-1917.

  • As a general rule, it’s best to donate appreciated securities. To understand why, it’s key to know the difference between appreciated securities and depreciated securities.

    Appreciated securities

    When you give appreciated securities you have held for more than a year (known as “long-term capital gain property”), you may:

    • claim an income tax deduction for the full fair market value of those securities (including the appreciation); and

    • simultaneously avoid recognizing as taxable income the amount by which those securities appreciated over the amount you paid to acquire them.

    When you give appreciated securities you have held for a year or less (known as “short-term capital gain property”), you may:

    • claim an income tax deduction for only your tax basis of the securities (typically the amount you paid for them); and

    • once again, simultaneously avoid recognizing as taxable income the amount by which those securities appreciated over the amount you paid to acquire them.

    Depreciated securities

    If you were to give depreciated securities (known as “long-term or short-term capital loss property”), you could:

    • claim an income tax deduction for only your tax basis in the securities; but

    • claim no loss as an offset to taxable income.

    If you were considering donating a depreciated security, Stanford would likely suggest that you instead sell the depreciated security, claim the loss for tax purposes to offset otherwise taxable gain from selling other securities, and donate the cash proceeds from the sale to Stanford.

    As always, we recommend you consult your attorney or financial adviser for tax and legal information. For other questions, please contact the Gift Securities team at (650) 721-1917 or stockgifts@stanford.edu.

  • Stanford reserves the right to sell or retain gifts of securities. Most often, we choose to sell stock gifts to make the proceeds available for the gift purpose. 

    Gifts of publicly traded securities

    If a gift contains more than one issue of stock, each issue is treated separately, depending on whether its value is more than or less than $500,000.

    For stock worth $500,000 or more, Stanford’s current general practice is to credit the gift purpose with the net proceeds from the liquidation of the stock.

    For stock worth less than $500,000, Stanford’s current general practice is to credit the gift purpose with the IRS charitable deduction value, which is the average of the high and low on the date of the gift, with the following exceptions:

    • Gifts of thinly traded stock. A stock is considered thinly traded if transactions occur only infrequently and there are a limited number of interested buyers and sellers. Thinly traded securities are usually exchanged in low volumes, which can lead to volatile changes in price. If thinly traded securities are sold within five days, Stanford will generally credit the gift purpose with the IRS value. If the sale takes more than five days to complete, Stanford will generally credit the gift purpose with the net proceeds. The liquidation strategy accounts for the low volume, market makers, and other considerations to handle the sale in a thoughtful, orderly manner.

    • Gifts of a large block of stock. Stanford considers a gift of shares a “large block” of stock for gift purposes if it is larger than 15 percent of the daily average trading volume of that stock. If a large block of stock is sold within five days, Stanford will generally credit the gift purpose with the IRS value. If the sale takes more than five days to complete, Stanford will generally credit the gift purpose with the net proceeds. The liquidation strategy for large block gifts employs various tactics to manage the sale in an effective, efficient manner to maximize value and maintain order in the marketplace.

    • Gifts of penny stock. Penny stock generally refers to a security issued by a very small company that trades at less than $5 per share. Penny stocks may trade infrequently, which means that it may be difficult to sell penny stock shares. If a donor gives penny stock, Stanford will credit the gift purpose with the net proceeds from the liquidation of the asset, following the same strategy as for sales of thinly traded and large block sales.

    • Gifts of restricted stock. Restricted stock is stock that bears a restrictive legend from the SEC (Securities Exchange Commission). When the gift asset is less than $500,000 on the date of gift, if Stanford is not bound by such a restrictive clause, we will credit the gift purpose with the IRS charitable deduction value of the asset. On the other hand, if Stanford is bound by a restriction such as a lock-up agreement, then the net proceeds from the sale will be credited to the purpose fund after we liquidate the gift.

    • Gifts of mutual funds. If mutual funds are sold within five days, Stanford will generally credit the gift purpose with the IRS value. If the sale takes more than five days to complete, Stanford will generally credit the gift purpose with the net proceeds. 

    Gifts of all non-publicly traded stock (regardless of value)

    Privately held stock, foreign stock, exchange-listed options, warrants, and other non-publicly traded stock are often difficult to liquidate. Sales of these assets will be treated with the same care and consideration we use with other difficult-to-sell assets. Stanford will credit the gift purpose with the net proceeds from the liquidation of the asset.

  • To change your contact information, just send us an email at secure-development-services@lists.stanford.edu with “update contact information” in the subject line.

    To change the credit card you use for a recurring gift or pledge, please call (650) 725-4360, and choose option #3 to speak to our gift processing department.

I am ready to make a gift

  • The fastest way to give to Stanford is to make a gift online.

    You can also call us with your credit card information toll-free at (866) 543-0243; or, if you’re calling from outside the United States, (650) 724-0627. We can be reached Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific Time.

    If you prefer to send a check, please make it out to Stanford University. Include a brief note telling us how you’d like to direct your gift and mail to:

    Development Services
    P.O. Box 20466
    Stanford, CA 94309-0466

    For information about making a stock gift, visit our Appreciated Securities Transfer page or call the gift securities team at (650) 721-1917.

    If you wish to make a gift by wiring funds to Stanford, visit our Wire Transfer page for details.

    To arrange a planned gift (such as a bequest or life income gift), please visit the Planned Giving section of this site or contact the Office of Planned Giving at (800) 227-8977, ext. 54358.

  • You can start with Trish Gerber, assistant vice president of development, by calling her at (650) 736-4020 or sending an email to trish.gerber@stanford.edu.

    If you know more about the type of gift you’d like to make (or the area you’d like to support), you can also visit our Contact Us page to identify the right giving expert and find their contact information.

  • Your gift can be designated to support the programs and areas at Stanford that are most meaningful to you.

    Many donors choose to support Stanford by making gifts through annual funds, such as The Stanford Fund for Undergraduate Education, school-specific annual funds, or the Buck/Cardinal Club. Annual funds are a vital resource for Stanford because they can be used to meet the areas of greatest need.

    If you are in a reunion year, annual giving is also a wonderful way to support your reunion campaign.

    If you’d like to explore even more options, please visit our Areas to Support page.

  • Stanford’s FID # is 94-1156365. The university is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code.

I have already made a gift

  • We’re happy to send copies of gift receipts. Just send us an email at secure-development-services@lists.stanford.edu with “replacement gift receipt” in the subject line. You can also call us at (650) 725-4360 and choose option #3 to speak to our gift processing department.

  • Stanford’s FID # is 94-1156365. The university is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code.

  • All gifts to Stanford are tax deductible in the United States. There may also be tax benefits for residents of other countries; you can visit Information for International Donors for more details.

    Bequests and life income gifts may offer significant tax savings. Please see our Planned Giving pages for more information, or contact the Planned Giving staff.

  • Many schools and programs at the university recognize the generosity of donors by publishing honor rolls. Unless you have designated your gift as anonymous, your name may appear on one of these lists.

    Donors who have established named funds at Stanford—such as scholarships, fellowships, and professorships—receive regular updates about their gifts. Depending on the nature of the gift, these updates may include information about the students or faculty who benefit from this support. In addition, all donors of endowed funds receive annual financial reports.