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Gift Acceptance Guidelines

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (the "Museum") encourages the solicitation and acceptance of gifts from numerous thoughtful supporters that will help the Museum to further and fulfill its mission. In order to be assured that the Museum is a responsible steward of these gifts and that these gifts are in the best interest of the Museum, the Board of Trustees of the Museum adopted Parts I through V of the following guidelines (the "Guidelines"), effective as of January 14, 2014.


I. Purpose of the Guidelines
II. Gift Review Committee
III. Compliance with Tax Laws and Requirements
IV. Restrictions on Gifts
V. Types of Gifts
VI. Library Gift Policy


I. Purpose of the Guidelines

The purpose of the Guidelines is to govern the acceptance by the Museum of inter vivos gifts, pledges, bequests, and other planned gifts, and to provide guidance to prospective donors. The Guidelines apply to all gifts received by the Museum.

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II. Gift Review Committee

Any gift that does not comply with these Guidelines must be reviewed and approved by the Gift Review Committee, which shall be appointed by the Director and President and composed of staff members from the following departments, as appropriate in each case: Development, Finance, Investments, and Counsel's Office. As indicated below, certain proposed gifts (such as gifts of art and real estate) require the approval of the Board of Trustees or the Executive Committee.

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III. Compliance with Tax Laws and Requirements

The Museum shall comply with all tax laws and other legal requirements regarding gifts.

Unusual aspects of, or structures for, proposed gifts should be reviewed by the Counsel's Office. The Museum will not knowingly facilitate a donor claiming an improper tax deduction or other benefit. No proposed gift shall be accepted if it generates an improper "private benefit" for the donor or if the proposed gift is an "excess benefit transaction" (as defined under section 4958(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended).

The Museum shall comply with all Internal Revenue Service reporting requirements, including, upon a donor's request, the completion of the donee statement of IRS Form 8283 and, where applicable, the filing of IRS Form 8282.

The Museum shall acknowledge all gifts in writing to the extent required by law.

Donors are responsible for obtaining appraisals of gifts where required for the donor's tax return. The Museum does not select the appraiser, hire the appraiser, or pay for such appraisals.

Donors are responsible for seeking independent legal and tax advice in advance of making a gift to the Museum.

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IV. Restrictions on Gifts

A. Gifts of Art

The Museum generally does not accept restrictions on gifts of art; any exceptions require approval by the Board of Trustees.

B. Gifts Other than Art

At the discretion of the Vice President for Development, any proposed gift to the Museum (other than art) that is subject to restrictions pertaining to use may be reviewed by the Gift Review Committee to ensure that the restrictions are consistent with the mission and administration of the Museum. The Museum generally does not accept securities that are subject to restrictions as to sale or liquidation. In the event that the restrictions are inconsistent with the Museum’s mission, its administrative principles, public policy, or the law, the Museum shall decline the gift.

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V. Types of Gifts

A. Gifts of Cash or Publicly-Traded Securities

The Museum accepts gifts of cash and publicly traded securities. The Director, President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Investment Officer, Secretary and General Counsel, and Vice President for Development, or their designees, are authorized to accept gifts of cash or publicly-traded securities.

B. Gifts of Closely Held Stock or of Interests in Partnerships, Subchapter S Corporations or Limited Liability Companies

In considering whether to accept gifts of closely-held stock or interests in partnerships, subchapter S corporations, or limited liability companies, the Museum should thoroughly examine all aspects of the proposed gift, including (1) the value of the proposed gift (potentially obtaining an independent appraisal), (2) the marketability of the proposed gift, (3) any restrictions on transfer, (4) whether the proposed gift will generate unrelated business taxable income, and (5) whether acceptance of the proposed gift could expose the Museum to any liability. The Director, President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Investment Officer, Secretary and General Counsel, and Vice President for Development, or their designees, are authorized to accept gifts of closely-held stock or interests in partnerships, subchapter S corporations, or limited liability companies.

C. Gifts of Art

All proposed gifts of art to the collection of the Museum must be recommended by the curatorial staff and approved by the Director and the Board of Trustees or the Executive Committee, in accordance with the provisions of, and procedures set forth in, the Museum's Collections Management Policy and By-Laws. The Director, President, Secretary and General Counsel, and Assistant Secretary are authorized to confirm to donors the Board of Trustees' or the Executive Committee's acceptance of gifts or bequests of art following the vote of the Board of Trustees or the Executive Committee.

D. Gifts of Tangible Personal Property Other than Art

In considering whether to accept a proposed gift of tangible personal property other than art, the Museum shall consider (1) whether the proposed gift is related to the Museum's mission (e.g., resources for the Museum's Education Department or books for the Library), (2) the financial value of, and any potential liabilities associated with, the proposed gift, (3) the costs associated with receiving, maintaining, or selling the proposed gift (including costs of insurance, shipping, storage, care, and/or appraisals), (4) any restrictions on the use or sale of the proposed gift, and (5) whether, if appropriate, the proposed gift can be sold easily without significant cost. The Director, President, Secretary and General Counsel, Chief Financial Officer, and Vice President for Development, or their designees, are authorized to accept gifts of tangible personal property other than art.

E. Gifts of Real Estate

Proposed gifts of real estate must be approved by the Gift Review Committee and the Board of Trustees or the Executive Committee. In determining whether to accept such gifts, the donor will be asked to disclose, and the Gift Review Committee will thoroughly review, all potential benefits and burdens associated with the proposed gift and evaluate (1) the value of the proposed gift, (2) whether there are any financial, environmental, or other liabilities that would be required to be assumed upon acceptance of the proposed gift, (3) the costs of carrying the property, including but not limited to insurance, property taxes, and maintenance, (4) whether the property would be useful to the Museum, (5) whether the property would be readily marketable, (6) whether the property is subject to any liens, easements, restrictions, or other limitations, and (7) whether the gift is a straightforward outright conveyance of a fee simple interest or whether the gift is in another form (e.g., a gift of a remainder interest or a gift of real estate to a charitable remainder trust). Real estate transactions must be authorized and executed by the Director, President, Chief Financial Officer, or Secretary and General Counsel.

F. Life Income Gifts

Proposed life income gifts will be reviewed for acceptance under the guidelines established, as appropriate, by the Museum's senior planned giving officer, in consultation with the Gift Review Committee. Charitable gift annuity agreements must be signed by the President, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Investment Officer, Secretary and General Counsel, Treasurer, or Assistant Secretary.

G. Life Insurance

The Museum may accept gifts of paid-up insurance provided that all rights and incidents of ownership are irrevocably transferred by the donor to the Museum. The Museum shall review on a case-by-case basis the circumstances under which the Museum shall accept partially paid-up policies where continuing premiums are due and/or a restriction is made on the gift. The Director, President, Secretary and General Counsel, Chief Financial Officer, and Vice President for Development, or their designees, are authorized to accept such policies. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Museum may be named primary or secondary beneficiary of any life insurance policy.

H. Other Gifts

The Museum may accept other types of gifts on a case-by-case basis with the approval of the Gift Review Committee.

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VI. Library Gift Policy

A. Donating Books to Watson Library

We are grateful to the friends of the Metropolitan Museum, who for almost a century and a half have generously donated books to Watson Library. The Library welcomes gifts of books and other research material that falls within the scope of its collecting policies.

Please be aware that gifts may be accepted in whole, in part, or be declined. The Library staff will determine the suitability of proposed gifts. For example, the Library is unable to accept gifts if they unnecessarily duplicate existing holdings, if the subject matter is outside the scope of its collecting policy (see Library's Collection Development Policy), if they are in poor physical condition, or if there are donor restrictions the Library cannot honor.

If you are considering a donation of books or other materials, please contact Holly Phillips, Associate Manager for Acquisitions (contact information below).

B. Acknowledgement

Upon receipt of the gift, the donor will receive a formal acknowledgement letter from Kenneth Soehner, Arthur K. Watson Chief Librarian. He may be reached at (212) 570-3934 or ken.soehner@metmuseum.org.

C. Appraisals

Please note that the Library is prohibited from appraising or estimating the value of any gift. The appraisal is the responsibility of the donor.

D. Conditions of Acceptance

Gifts are accepted with the understanding that they become the property of the Library and that the Library has sole discretion making decisions about their retention, cataloging, location, and their use and disposition. Materials accepted but not added to the Library's holdings may be sold, exchanged with other libraries and institutions, or disposed of through other means including charitable organizations. The Library is unable to return gifts or advise donors of their ultimate disposition.

E. Tax Deductions

Donors who wish to claim a tax deduction should consult their income tax advisor or the Internal Revenue Service website in order to understand the proper procedures and consequences.

For contributions valued at more than $500 for which a donor would like to take a federal tax deduction, the Internal Revenue Service requires you to complete IRS Form 8283.

For contributions valued at more than $5,000, the Internal Revenue Service requires you to obtain a qualified appraisal that should accompany your return. Consult IRS Publication 561 on Determining the Value of Donated Property for the appraisal requirements.

In certain situations, if the Library does not add the entirety of your gift to the collection, your tax deduction may be impacted. We encourage you to consult your tax advisors on the consequences of making an in-kind gift to the Library.

F. Contacting the Library

For questions about donating books to Thomas J. Watson Library, please contact Holly Phillips, Associate Manager for Acquisitions, at (212) 650-2504 or holly.phillips@metmuseum.org.

For questions relating to general gift policy matters, contact Lisa Bagshaw, Assistant Counsel, Department of Secretary and Counsel, at (212) 396-5551 or lisa.bagshaw@metmuseum.org.

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Last updated: Saturday, February 6