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Gift Acceptance Policy

Updated: 8/22/2022

The Piston Foundation Inc., a nonprofit organization headquartered in Greenwich CT, encourages the solicitation and acceptance of gifts to The Piston Foundation for purposes that will help further and fulfill its mission. The following policies and guidelines govern acceptance of gifts made to The Piston Foundation or for the benefit of any of its endowment or any of its programs.

Policy and Purposes

This Policy represents the policy of The Piston Foundation Inc. (the “Organization”) governing the solicitation and acceptance of gifts by the Organization. The purpose of this Policy is to provide guidance for the Organization’s board, officers, and staff with respect to their responsibilities concerning gifts to the Organization. The provisions of this Policy shall apply to all gifts received by the Organization. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Organization reserves the right to revise or revoke this Policy at any time, and to make exceptions to the Policy.

The Piston Foundation has a mission to bring more young people into the collector car industry. We’re working to help the craftspeople who built this American touchstone transfer their skills to a new generation and help young technicians build rewarding careers in the trades and services that fuel the passion of 25 million American car enthusiasts.

General Policy

The primary consideration of gift acceptance or solicitation will be the impact of the gift on the Organization. When considering whether to solicit or accept gifts, the Organization will evaluate the following factors:

  • Values – whether the acceptance of the gift compromises any of the core values of the Organization
  • Compatibility – whether there is compatibility between the intent of the donor and the Organization’s use of the gift
  • Public Relationships – whether acceptance of the gift damages the reputation of the Organization
  • Primary Benefit – whether the primary benefit is to the Organization, versus the donor
  • Consistency – whether acceptance of the gift is consistent with prior practice
  • Form of Gift – whether the gift is offered in a form that the Organization can use without incurring substantial expense or difficulty
  • Effect on Future Giving – whether the gift will encourage or discourage future gifts.

The Organization shall not accept gifts that:

  • Violate the terms of the Organization’s organizational documents; or
  • Would jeopardize the Organization’s status as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization under federal and state law.

Use of Legal Counsel

The Organization shall seek the advice of legal counsel in matters relating to acceptance of gifts when appropriate. Review by legal counsel is recommended for:

  • Closely held stock transfers that are subject to restrictions or buy-sell agreements;
  • Documents naming the Organization as trustee;
  • Gifts involving contracts such as bargain sales, partnership agreements, or other documents requiring the Organization to assume an obligation;
  • Transactions with potential conflict of interest; Gifts of real estate;
  • Oil, gas, and mineral interests; and
  • Gifts of any amount with unusual restrictions (e.g. gifts requiring the Organization to do work it is not already doing and/or gifts requiring the Organization to expand work it is already doing).

The Organization cannot serve as both the donor’s adviser and the recipient of the donor’s gift. Therefore, the Organization will urge all prospective donors to retain appropriate independent tax and legal counsel.

Gift Definition

A gift is defined as a voluntary transfer of assets from a person or an organization to the Organization. A gift is an irrevocable transfer of assets, motivated by charitable intent. Gifts are not generally subject to an exchange of consideration or other contractual duties between the Organization and the donor, except for certain split-interest gifts as set out in this Policy, although objectives may be stated and funds may be restricted to a specific purpose. A gift is not completed until it has been accepted by the Organization.

Approval of Gifts

All final decisions on the acceptance or refusal of a gift shall be solely in the judgment of the Executive Committee (“Governing Body”).

Types of Gifts

Outright Gifts

An outright gift involves the donor’s voluntary and intentional transfer of money or assets to the Organization without expectation of receiving a benefit related to the value of the transfer. Although the donor may place restrictions on the use of the gift, the donor may not retain control over the money or property transferred to the charity. The following criteria govern the acceptance of each form of outright gift:

  • Unrestricted Gifts of Cash: The Organization will accept unrestricted gifts of cash without prior review by the Governing Body..
  • Publicly Traded Securities: The Organization will accept unrestricted publicly traded securities without prior review by the Governing Body. 
  • Intellectual Property/Other Intangible Interests: The Organization will consider gifts of intellectual property such as royalties, copyrights, patents, contract rights, and similar intangible interests only upon approval by the Governing Body.
  • In-Kind Gifts of Services: The Organization will accept an in-kind gift of services if approved by a supervisor.
  • Restricted Gifts: The Organization will accept gifts for specific programs and purposes, provided that such gifts are not inconsistent with the Organization’s stated mission and purposes. The Governing Body reserves the right to review, accept, or reject any conditions or obligations proposed by a donor prior to the Organization’s acceptance of a gift. The Governing Body may determine that the proposed conditions or limitations of a gift are too restrictive and reject such gift for any lawful reason, including, but not limited to, if such gift violates the charitable trust of the Organization, if the gift is accompanied by an improper economic benefit to the donor, if the gift provides too much control to the donor, or if the gift requires the Organization to take any action deemed inappropriate by the Governing Body.
  • Named Funds: A donor, or group of donors, may contribute and name a fund and restrict the use of the income or principal of the fund. Named funds are subject to Governing Body approval.

Other Gifts

All other types of gifts or assets will only be accepted upon approval of the Governing Body.

Additional Provisions

  • Gift Agreements: Where appropriate, the Organization shall enter into a written gift agreement with the donor, specifying the terms of any restricted gift, which may include provisions regarding donor recognition.
  • Pledge Agreements: Acceptance by the Organization of pledges by donors of future support of the Organization (including by way of matching gift commitments) shall be contingent upon the execution and fulfillment of a written charitable pledge agreement specifying the terms of the pledge. If the Organization intends for the pledge agreement to be legally binding, there must be consideration either in the form of the donor receiving something in return (such as recognition) or reliance by third parties of the Organization. All pledge agreements require prior approval of the Governing Body.
  • Fees: The Organization will not accept a gift unless the donor is responsible for (1) the fees of independent legal counsel retained by donor for completing the gift; (2) appraisal fees; (3) environmental audits and title binders (in the case of real property); and (4) all other third- party fees incurred by the transfer of the gift to the Organization.
  • Valuation of Gifts: The Organization shall record gifts received at their valuation on the date of gift, except that, when a gift is irrevocable, but is not due until a future date, the gift may be recorded at the time the gift becomes irrevocable in accordance with GAAP by the Organization’s Finance Department.
  • Appraisal and Legal Fees. It will be the responsibility of the donor to secure a qualified appraisal (where required) and independent legal counsel for all gifts made to the Organization. The Chief Financial Officer shall promptly after request from the donor, complete and sign Part IV, Donee Acknowledgment, of IRS Form 8283 for donated property (except publicly traded securities) with a value over $5,000.
  • IRS Filings upon Sale of Gifts: To the extent applicable, the Organization shall file IRS Form 8282 upon the sale or disposition of any charitable deduction property sold within three (3) years of receipt by the Organization. “Charitable deduction property” means any donated property (other than money and publicly traded securities) if the value claimed by the donor exceeds $5,000 per item or group of similar items donated by the donor to one or more donee organizations (e.g., the property listed in Section B on Form 8283). The Governing Body shall file this form within 125 days of the date of sale or disposition of the asset.
  • Written Acknowledgement: The Organization’s Development Department shall provide contemporaneous written acknowledgement of all gifts made to the Organization and comply with the current IRS requirements on acknowledgement of the gifts.
  • Changes to or Deviations from the Policy: This Policy has been reviewed and accepted by the Organization’s Governing Body, which has the sole power to change this Policy. In addition, the Governing Body must approve in writing any deviations from this Policy.

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