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Campus Foundations

Campus-Related Foundations


Foundations support and promote the activities and programs of SUNY campuses by providing a variety of activities such as support, advice and counsel regarding fundraising, gift and grant management; developing and managing real property; and providing a strong base of private-sector support. Philanthropy provides financial aid and scholarships to students in need; advances the campuses’ research and academic mission; and helps compete for student and faculty talent. Support provided by the foundations to SUNY have a lasting impact on students who receive scholarships, professors given new research tools, and students taught by highly ranked professors.

Audit Guidance

Campus Contract

Foundations should monitor their campus contracts to ensure the contracts are renewed in a timely manner. Contracts should be amended to incorporate any changes between a foundation and its campus such as any new activities the foundation is providing on behalf of the campus.

Written Policies and Procedures

Policies and procedures should be developed and kept current for all key business functions including cash receipts and disbursements, gift acceptance, spending, endowment funds management (including asset allocation, the selection of investment managers and the spending formula), investment management, procurement (including travel expenses and credit cards), payroll, inventory, agency accounts, conflicts of interest and whistleblowers.

Cash Controls

Foundations should contract for Positive Pay services with their banking institutions. Positive Pay provides security against check fraud by working with the bank to honor only those check number and amounts that are matched electronically and not honor checks that have been altered.


Foundations should periodically review award criteria with donor agreements to ensure scholarships are appropriately awarded.

CPA Management Letter

As part of the audit of the financial statements, foundations should require their independent auditors to provide a management letter outlining any recommendations for improvements and the foundations should prepare a corrective action plan with a timeline to complete the corrective action.

Required Reporting

Foundations should file all required reports in a timely manner including Forms 990, 1099, W-2, and 941 (Internal Revenue Service), CHAR500 (New York State Attorney General), and any other required reports. The foundation also needs to ensure certain taxable benefits such as personal use of an automobile are properly accounted for and recorded.

Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA) Compliance

Foundations that are writing CGAs must register with the NYS Insurance Department as required by Section 1110 of NYS Insurance Department code and must also meet the annual filing requirements.

Download a copy of these guidelines:  Word | PDF

For more information:

Office of the University Auditor
State University Plaza, Room N120
Albany, NY 12246

University Audit

Useful Links:

SUNY Campus-related Foundation Guidelines

Donor Bill of Rights

Internal Controls and Financial Accountability for Not-for-Profit Boards

Statement on the Governance Role of a Trustee or Board Member (NYSED)