'Tis the season for year-end gifts

November 30, 2017

At MIT, that can mean last-minute philanthropic gifts from donors aiming to make the December 31st tax deadline. But whether the gift is part of an end-of-year tax strategy or an act of generosity, all gifts of $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 2017 donation, all gifts must be received in W98 by Monday, January 8, 2018. (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 Timothy Perry in W98-304B (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 unsure of who to contact 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 an already 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. Bequests and gifts made from a donor's estate are complex financial arrangements, so her assistance will be invaluable.

Christine Martignetti
Senior Officer, Estates and Special Assets
MIT Investment Management Company (MITIMCo), E48-200
(617) 452-3966.

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

While the Institute is closed on Sunday, December 31st and Tuesday, January 2nd, the Office of Records will be physically open from 8:00 AM until 2:00 PM on both dates for gift processing. Additionally, The Office of the Recording Secretary will be physically open from 8:00 AM until 2:00 PM on Tuesday, January 2nd.

Gifts by credit card

All credit card gifts made online must be processed by 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Sunday, December 31st. Please encourage donors to visit the Giving to MIT website until December 31st to make a 2017 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 31st for 2017 processing.

Gifts by check

All 2017 gifts by check must have a date of, or prior to, December 31, 2017, and the envelope must be postmarked on or before December 31, 2017. It is therefore critical to keep the original envelope and forward it with the gift. Please submit via interdepartmental mail all 2017 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, Monday, January 8, 2018.


Please submit any gifts of equipment or other gifts-in-kind to the Office of the Recording Secretary via email at by noon on Thursday December 28, 2017.


If you have questions or concerns about a specific gift, please call the Office of the Recording Secretary at (617) 253-5048 or email us at Office of the Recording Secretary. Provide as much detail as possible about the gift (such as donor name, 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 2017 gifts during the first few days of January 2018.