Best Practices Regarding University-Affiliated Foundation Relationships
In November 2012, the Board of Regents Chairman Wm. Eugene Powell established the Task Forceto “assure that relationships between the U. T. System institutions and the U. T. System and affiliatedfoundations are optimally structured to serve as a national model for public universities for the bestmanagement, compliance, and oversight practices.”
For the purposes of this review, university-affiliated foundations are defined as Texas nonprofit trusts orcorporations whose sole, primary, or operationally significant purpose is to provide financial support to aU. T. System institution (see Appendix A for the complete list of foundations affiliated with University ofTexas System institutions considered in this review).
In accordance with the Chairman’s charge (see Appendix B), the Task Force included in its research anddeliberations identification of best practices in seven key areas of university-foundation management, including:
- Best structures for affiliated foundations/university interactions and reporting.
- Ideal location of and staffing for foundation offices.
- Methods for requesting, record-keeping, and provision of funding for university support to assureno impermissible direct benefits to U. T. employees.
- Overlaps in foundation and university fundraising.
- Compliance with current legal requirements concerning conflicts of interest and tax issues.6. Ways to enhance delineation of university and foundation activities to reduce confusion or ambiguity.
The Task Force’s recommendations for best practices are guided by the following findings and principles:
- A workable model for university-affiliated foundation relationships requires a shared visionendorsed by the U. T. System, U. T. institutions, and affiliated foundations.
- The unique and historically significant contributions of each university-affiliated foundation shouldbe acknowledged and respected.
- Independent governance and clear separation of services/duties between university-affiliatedfoundations and their supported universities should be preserved.
- Operational redundancies between university-affiliated foundations and their supporteduniversities should be reduced or eliminated.
- Full transparency in the relationship between each university and its university-affiliatedfoundations is essential.
- Donor intent must be honored by the university and the university-affiliated foundation throughoutthe life of every donor gift.
- Periodic assessment of the role of each university-affiliated foundation and the relationship withthe institution supported is necessary periodically and as circumstances change.