Office of the Controller

Use of University Funds for Gifts, Social Functions, Sponsorships & Donations

Title: Use of University Funds for Gifts, Social Functions, Sponsorships & Donations
Policy Owner: Office of the Controller
Applies to: All Faculty and Staff
Campus Applicability:  All Programs at All Campuses, except UConn Health
Effective Date: June 1, 2017
For More Information, Contact Office of the Controller
Contact Information: (860) 486-0865
Official Website:



As a public university and agency of the State of Connecticut, the University draws funding from a wide range of sources including students, taxpayers and benefactors.  The University has an obligation to these constituencies to use its funds prudently in pursuit of its mission and goals.  All uses of University Funds, therefore, must be directly related to University business and in the best interests of the University.  This policy provides guidance to departments and employees when considering the use of University Funds for gifts, social functions, sponsorships and donations.


All employees and individuals with authority to request, control or approve the expenditure of University Funds.


“University Funds” are all operating and non-operating revenues of the University.  For the purposes of this policy, University Funds also include grant funds managed or administered by the University, unless the terms of the grant contract clearly authorize a usage not consistent with this policy.  University Funds do not include funds from or belonging to the UConn Foundation.

“Sponsorships” include all situations wherein the University provides funds, goods or services to an outside organization in support of one or more activities, events or programs with the expectation of acknowledgment, recognition or promotion.  Sponsorships are discernable from donations in that Sponsorships provide a measurable benefit to the University, whereas donations are provided with no expectation of a measurable benefit to the University.


I.                    Gifts

University Funds may not be used to purchase gifts for University employees or their families in recognition of holidays or personal events such as birthdays, birth or adoption of a child, marriages or bereavement. This restriction does not apply to:

  • Noncash items or benefits offered due to an employee’s status as a donor, student, or member of the general public.
  • Gifts given in recognition of employee achievements or milestones, in accordance with University-wide practices approved by Human Resources.

II.                  Social Functions

University Funds may not be used for social functions or parties attended solely or primarily by University employees such as holiday parties or summer outings.  In limited circumstances, University funds may be used for employee recognition, but only with the prior approval of the President, Provost, or their authorized delegates, or Executive Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer who shall consider, among other factors, the employee’s contribution to the University.  In addition, University Funds may not be used to purchase alcoholic beverages as prescribed in the University’s Policy on Alcohol and Other Drugs (

The restrictions in this policy do not extend to business meals and meetings eligible for payment or reimbursement under the University’s Travel and Entertainment Policy (

III.                Sponsorships

Sponsorships, like other uses of University Funds, must be supported by a clear business purpose and a benefit to the University.  University Funds may only be used for Sponsorships when the anticipated benefits of the Sponsorship equal or exceed the costs.   Benefits may be non-monetary and may include, for example, enhancement of the University’s reputation, recruitment benefits, advertising opportunities or increased visibility.  Sponsorships require the approval of the President, Provost (or their authorized delegates), or Deans.  Employees shall not authorize or approve the usage of University Funds for Sponsorships without documentation or a statement explaining the business purpose of the Sponsorship, including its anticipated benefit to the University.

IV.                Donations

Donations of University Funds are not permitted.

Nothing in this policy is intended to prohibit individual employees from using personal funds for any of the above reasons; however, employees must always comply with the gift rules articulated in the State Code of Ethics for Public Officials (

Exceptions to this policy may be approved on a case-by-case basis by the President, Provost, and their authorized delegates.


The University will not reimburse employees for expenditures of personal funds in violation of this policy, and employees who expend University Funds in violation of this policy will be required to reimburse the University.  Additionally, Violations of this policy may result in appropriate disciplinary measures in accordance with University Laws and By-Laws, General Rules of Conduct for All University Employees, applicable collective bargaining agreements, and the University of Connecticut Student Conduct Code.


University employees shall use their best judgment to expend University Funds only when justified with a business purpose and a clearly identifiable benefit to the University.  The act of requesting, using or approving any use of University Funds constitutes the employee’s official determination that the expense is justified by a business purpose and in the best interests of the University.  When evaluating whether an expenditure is appropriate, employees should consult with the appropriate University offices and departments.  Any uses of University funds not consistent with this policy should be rejected by the appropriate employee.

Specific procedures and forms will vary from department to department, as well as the applicable office or responsible for oversight of expenditures.