'Tis the season for year end gifts

November 17, 2015

At MIT, that can mean last minute philanthropic gifts from donors aiming to make the December 31 tax deadline. But whether the gift is part of an end-of-year tax strategy or an act of generosity, all gifts $2,000 or more, now or at any time of the year, should go straight to the Office of the Recording Secretary (W98-300). To be counted as a 2015 donation, all gifts must be received in W98 by Tuesday, January 5. (See key deadlines at the bottom of this article.)

What is the Office of the Recording Secretary?

The Office of the Recording Secretary (RSO) receives gifts on behalf of the Institute and provides expertise and consultation on gift policies and procedures. The RSO prepares tax receipts, deposits gifts, and handles official recordkeeping for pledges and gifts of cash, securities, mutual funds, and gifts-in-kind. In addition, the RSO ensures the maintenance, safekeeping, and accessibility of permanent records of gifts, including original documentation of gift memoranda, gift and pledge agreements, trust instruments, and other legal documents associated with gifts.

The RSO oversees the approval, creation, and maintenance of all endowed funds and works with senior representatives of the Institute to formulate policy and implement established guidelines.

When to reach out to the RSO

Gifts of $2,000 or more from individual donors and all gifts from corporations or foundations should be sent to the Office of the Recording Secretary, W98-300, or hand-delivered to Annie Fontaine, Gift Operations Assistant, in W98-304A (600 Memorial Drive). The only exceptions are gifts under $2,000 and credit card gifts (see below). Do not deposit gifts directly into a departmental account or send them to the cashier?s office for deposit. (For donations made by credit card, see instructions below.)

How to handle questions about bequests

When family members, executors, or attorneys are settling an estate, they?re often not sure whom they need to talk with at the Institute. Typically, they end up calling around MIT in an attempt to arrange for the transfer of the bequest which can delay the start of a lengthy process.

Not sure whether the call involves a bequest? Here are a few key terms that indicate the donation involves a bequest:

  • Beneficiary
  • Bequest
  • Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT)
  • Estate of (or E/)
  • Executor
  • For Benefit Of (or FBO)
  • Last Will and Testament
  • Payable on Death (POD)
  • Revocable Trust Agreement
  • Transfer on Death (TOD)
  • Trust of
  • Trust Under Agreement
  • Trust Under Authority
    (or T/U/A)
  • Trust Under Will of (or T/U/W)
  • Trustee (or TTEE)

If you receive an inquiry about a bequest, you will want to involve Christine Martignetti, Estate & Trust Settlement Specialist, MIT Investment Management Company (MITIMCo) in E48-200. You can reach her at (617) 452-3966? or send an email to Christine Martignetti. Bequests and gifts made from a donor?s estate are complex financial arrangements, so Christine?s help will be invaluable.

How to treat credit card donations and gifts under $2,000

Gifts from individual donors that total less than $2,000 and all gifts?in any amount?that have been made by credit card should be sent via interdepartmental mail or hand-delivered to the MIT Alumni Association, Office of Records, 600 Memorial Drive, W98-200. Do not send cash through interdepartmental mail, and be cautious when sending sensitive information. Make sure, for example, that credit card details are not visible through holes in interdepartmental envelopes. To consult with staff at the Office of Records, call (617) 253-8270 or email Alumni Office, Office of Records.

Key deadlines

Gifts by credit card

All credit card gifts (sent via mail or made online) must be processed by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, December 31. Please encourage donors to visit the Giving to MIT website until December 31 to make a 2015 contribution. If you have authorization for a credit card gift, please contact the Alumni Association?s Office of Records at 617-253-8270 by noon on December 31 for 2015 processing. In keeping with IRS regulations, any credit card gift that is mailed and postmarked by Thursday, December 31, 2015 but not received by the Office of Records prior to the close of business on Thursday, December 31, 2015, cannot be processed until the new year (2016) and thus cannot be used as a 2015 tax deduction.

Gifts by check

All 2015 gifts by check must have a date of, or prior to, December 31, 2015, and the envelope must be postmarked on or before December 31, 2015. It is therefore critical to keep the original envelope and forward it with the gift. Please submit via interdepartmental mail all 2015 gifts of $2,000 or less to the Alumni Association?s Office of Records at W98-200 or, for gifts $2,000 and over, to the Office of the Recording Secretary at W98-300. The deadline: noon, Tuesday, January 5, 2016.


Please submit any gifts of equipment or other gifts-in-kind to the Office of the Recording Secretary via email at by noon on Tuesday, January 5, 2016.


If you have questions or concerns about a specific gift, please call the Office of the Recording Secretary at (617) 253-5048 or e-mail us at Office of the Recording Secretary. Provide as much detail as possible about the gift (such as donor name, donor ID, receipt #, date, and amount of gift). If a modification is being requested, please provide background and detail about why the modification is necessary.

Both offices will continue to record 2015 gifts during the first few days of January 2016.