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Statement on Donations & Donor Bill of Rights

Private donors – including individuals, corporations, foundations and friends of the University – play a vital role in helping McMaster University achieve its mission.

The University’s Statement on Donations provides the University’s framework for managing the academic principles associated with accepting philanthropic gifts.

Specifically, the Statement on Donations addresses issues including:

  • Ensuring that gifts support the University’s mission
  • Ensuring that any actions or decisions initiated by a charitable gift comply with all applicable University policies, practices and procedures
  • Guiding the process related to any naming privileges associated with charitable gifts
  • Confirming that the University has the right to accept or decline gifts according to its policies
  • Assuring donors that gifts designated to a specific purpose will be used solely for that purpose
  • Indicating to donors that gifts to McMaster are public acts and, in certain cases, documents associated with giving may also be considered public documents

 To view the complete McMaster University Statement of Donations and Donor Bill of Rights document, click here.


 McMaster University’s Donor Bill of Rights documents the expectations the University has of itself in building strong and respectful relationships with its donors. At McMaster, the rights of donors include:

  • Being fully informed regarding McMaster’s mission and vision
  • Having access to the membership rosters of key University leadership bodies including the Board of Governors and University Senate
  • Having access to the University’s financial statements and investment policies
  • Being secure in the knowledge that donations will be used effectively and for the purposes intended
  • Receiving appropriate recognition, as desired
  • Having the University maintain donors’ anonymity as requested
  • Ensuring that all donor information is handled with appropriate professionalism, confidentiality and security
  • Receiving prompt and accurate responses to any gift-related questions
  • Being able to request exclusion from certain types of communication, including solicitations, upon request


Charitable Giving Policy

McMaster University’s Board of Governors approved the University’s Charitable Giving Policy on December 13, 2007. The policy addresses a wide range of issues related to fundraising activities, charitable giving and donor relations. Our charitable registration # is 11903 5988 RR 0001. These policy directives guide internal activities such as setting fundraising priorities and maintaining confidential information, as well as activities related to the management and security of donated funds. The policy also provides procedural guidance related to the acceptance of gifts – including securities, property, cultural property, insurance and annuities – that require attention to specific laws, regulations and generally accepted fiscal practice.    To view McMaster’s Charitable Giving Policy, click here.  

Gift Acceptance Policy

Like all responsible charitable organizations, McMaster University has a policy that guides decisions on the acceptability of gifts and determining what kinds of charitable gifts the University will and will not accept. The Gift Acceptance Policy was approved by the University’s Board of Governors on December 15, 2011 and describes the circumstances in which the University may invoke its right to refuse gifts that require or create conditions or expenditures that the University deems to be unacceptable. In broad terms, McMaster will not accept gifts that are not consistent with the University’s mission. Specific examples include any gift that may expose the University to liability or embarrassment, require that the University violate the Human Rights Code (Ontario), detract from the academic priorities of the University and/or compromise the University’s academic integrity or academic freedom. McMaster will not accept gifts that require disproportionate expenditures, engagement in a specific business arrangement, participation in a financially unsound situation or dependence on a financial valuation the University deems unreliable. The University will also decline gifts that come with proposals for restrictive conditions that allow the donor to select the recipient(s) of scholarships, fellowship, professorships or other awards or positions. To see the McMaster’s full Gift Acceptance Policy, click here.

Clearance Policy

Clearance is an internal McMaster process designed to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of the University’s fundraising efforts while also working to ensure that donors and potential donors have positive experiences in their connections and communications with McMaster.Approved by the President and Vice-Chancellor on April 14, 2009, the purpose of the Clearance Policy is to ensure that there is a central process managing the volume, direction and organization of McMaster’s fundraising activities. Typically, this process addresses fundraising activities that, if successful, will secure a gift or gifts that trigger (a) charitable gift receipts(s). Under some circumstances, however, fundraising events that involve soliciting support and sponsorship may also come under the purview of the Prospect Clearance process. In these cases, the Support of Fundraising Activities Policy is also applicable. To review the full Clearance Policy, click here. To see the full Support of Fundraising Activities Policy, click here.

Gift Agreement Documents

McMaster University employs a number of documents and forms that facilitate the administration of certain types of charitable gifts. These gift agreements provide clarity to both the donor and the University and help ensure a satisfying and mutually agreeable philanthropic process. They also describe the relevant responsibilities with regard to issues such as naming, recognition and pledge payment schedules. McMaster has established standard templates for gift agreements related to:

Deed of Gift (under $200,000) - Template

Donor Questionnaire for Gift in Kind - Donor Questionnaire

Notification Sample A - Notification Sample A

Notification Sample B - Notification Sample B

Endowed Chairs or Professorships - Template

Endowed Scholarships, Bursaries or Academic Grants - Template

Named Spaces or New Buildings- Template


Naming Policy and Procedures

Certain gifts to McMaster provide the privilege of naming a physical space or academic entity in honour of the donor. This is a long-standing tradition at the University, dating back to the founding of the institution. The University is named, of course, in honour of its first donor, Senator William McMaster.The Naming Policy & Procedures approved by the University’s Board of Governors on December 16, 2010 describe the process and conditions required to name a space or academic entity in honour of a donor (individual, corporate, organization or foundation) or individuals or organizations that have provided exceptional service to McMaster. The policy also provides guidance on creating plaques and naming signage. To view the full Naming Policy & Procedures document, click here. Policy Guidelines for Establishing Named Chairs & ProfessorshipsSome exceptionally generous donors make gifts to McMaster that help the University establish – either for a defined period or in perpetuity – new faculty positions.
 These positions – usually either chairs or professorships – generally involve both naming opportunities for the donors and specific obligations and procedures the University must follow to establish and maintain the positions. These regulations and procedures are described in the Policy Guidelines for Establishing Named Chairs and Professorships, approved by the University’s Board of Governors on June 18, 2009. The policy guides the process for the approval and appointment of named chairs and professorships, including the minimum gift amounts required to create these types of positions.
A full copy of the Policy Guidelines for Establishing Named Chairs and Professorships is available here.   Naming Opportunities STUDENT AWARDS (UNDERGRADUATE AND GRADUATE)
One of the most popular, impactful and financially accessible ways to create a named philanthropic legacy at McMaster is through giving to student support. There are a several types of student awards that donors can create and name through their generosity:

  • Scholarship: based on academic merit
  • Bursary:based on financial need
  • Academic Grant:based on academic merit and financial need
  • Athletic Financial Award:for student athletes
  • Exchange Award:for students studying abroad for a semester
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship:for Master’s or PhD students judged against province-wide competition
  • Travel Award:for academic travel during the summer semester

For more information, download the Investing in Students brochure or contact:Office of Stewardship & Donor Relations1-905-525-9140 ext. 27666 or   CAPITAL (BUILDINGS, SPACES & FACILITIES)
Many buildings, rooms and other spaces on the McMaster campus are named in honour of individual, corporate, foundation or organization donors. Some donors choose to dedicate their naming opportunities to memorializing family members.Named buildings and spaces create lasting and visible legacies at the University while also supporting new and renovated facilities that are critical to McMaster’s growth and excellence. Spaces dedicated to teaching, learning, research, student services and recreation are available across the University for donor naming.

For more information on available naming opportunities, please contact:Office of Stewardship & Donor Relations1-905-525-9140 ext. 27666 or   ACADEMIC ENTITIES
McMaster is home to more than 100 scholarly institutes, research chairs, professorships and academic/research programs named in honour of donors. These naming opportunities usually arise as part of a specific fundraising campaign or in response to the exceptional generosity of a visionary donor.As each of these situations is unique, we recommend contacting the University to arrange a personal discussion if this opportunity is of interest.
Please contact:Office of Stewardship & Donor Relations1-905-525-9140 ext. 27666 or

Report on McMaster's Endowment

McMaster University’s endowment has grown significantly thanks to the generosity of donors who want their gifts to provide benefit to the University in perpetuity.


The capital of the endowment remains untouched while the income generated by that capital provide the funds required annually to support a variety of awards, programs and activities. McMaster has approximately 1,800 individually named endowed trust funds as well as a general endowment that receives undesignated bequests.


McMaster’s overall endowment is now more than $800 million dollars and was ranked the seventh largest in Canada by the Canadian Association of University Business Officers.


For the most recent facts, figures and performance information related to McMaster’s endowment, click here.