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What’s the difference between a gift, a grant, and a contract?

A gift is a voluntary and nonreciprocal donation of personal (cash, securities, books, equipment, life insurance, etc.) or real property provided by a non-governmental donor for which no goods or services are expected, implied, or forthcoming.

There are two types of grants – specific and non-specific. A specific grant results from a successful grant proposal submitted by the University. The University commits resources or services as a condition of the grant to carry out a specified project and is subject to terms and conditions, a specific period of performance, and may require delivery of a product, usually a technical report. A non-specific grant is a gift designated as a “grant” by a donor. Nonspecific grants usually result from the submission of a proposal.

A contract is a written agreement defining the role of the University in executing performance outlined in a narrowly defined scope of work.

For more detailed definitions of gifts, grants and contracts, see the Definition of Gifts, Grants and Contracts 3D Memo.

Updated on October 29, 2020

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