Annual Gift Credit

Amount of an individual's gift that's credited to MIT's annual giving totals.

Alumni Participation

The alumni participation rate is determined by calculating the percentage of alumni donors out of a pool of active alumni.


A sum of money committed to an organization by will or trust and made available upon the donor's death. The donor retains all assets during his or her lifetime. Read more about bequests.

Bricks and Mortar

An informal term referring to buildings or construction projects.

Capital Campaign

An organized drive to raise substantial funds in support of an institution's major needs such as construction or renovations, endowment, or special programs.

Capital Gains Tax

A tax on capital gains, which are the difference between proceeds from the sale of a capital asset and the original cost of that asset.

Celebratory Gifts

Such gifts serve two goals: they further the Institute's service to society, and they celebrate personal milestones—such as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, graduations, or retirements. Celebratory gifts may be designated toward a specific MIT program or fund, or their use may be left to the discretion of the Institute. Read more about Memorial & Honorary Gifts.

Challenge Grant

A grant made on the condition that other contributions will be secured, usually according to a particular formula and usually within a specified period of time. The objective is to encourage expanded giving from additional sources. 

Charitable Gift Annuity, Deferred Gift Annuity

An agreement between MIT and a generous donor whereby the donor makes a contribution in exchange for MIT's promise to pay one or two annuitants a fixed income for life. Funds remaining after the death of the last annuitant will be used by MIT for purposes specified by the donor at the time of the gift. The minimum gift to fund a charitable gift annuity is $10,000. Read more about charitable gift annuities and deferred gift annuities.

Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT)

A legal device allowing the transfer of assets into a separately managed trust that will provide the donor and/or the donor's beneficiaries with payments for life or for a specific term of years. After the donor's death, the remaining assets (the "charitable remainder") pass to MIT. Read more about charitable remainder trusts.

Charitable Remainder Unitrust (CRUT)

A popular type of charitable remainder trust that pays a percentage of the fair market value of the trust, valued annually, to a maximum of two beneficiaries age 55 or older. The minimum gift to a unitrust is $100,000. Read more about charitable remainder unitrusts.

Crediting Period

The range of time in which gifts are counted for a fundraising campaign or effort. The annual crediting period for MIT Annual Giving is July 1 to June 30 (also known as the fiscal year). Visit the GIFT AND PLEDGE CREDITING page to learn more, including what counts towards the REUNION GIFT CREDITING rules.

Cross Credit

An association of a gift to an individual who is not the primary donor of that gift. Gifts can be assigned "cross credit" if the individual's relationship to the gift is made known to MIT. Cross credits are used for donor stewardship, cultivation, and recognition. The gift is only counted once toward MIT's annual giving totals.

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Designated Fund

One of the 30,000+ funds to which donors can allocate their gifts to MIT.

Discretionary Funds

Funds that are distributed at the discretion of the fund administrator(s).

Donor Recognition Categories

Levels determined by the Annual Giving Board to recognize significant annual giving. Membership in donor recognition categories is determined by household giving totals and includes corporate matching gifts. 

Emma Rogers Society

Society for widows and widowers of MIT alumni and faculty. Read more about the Emma Rogers Society.

Endowed Fund

A permanent fund whose principal remains intact and is invested. The income generated is either reinvested into the fund or is used to support programs or activities.


The principal amount of gifts and bequests that are stipulated to be kept intact and invested to create a source of income for an organization.

Expendable Fund

A fund from which dollars are used on an as needed/annual basis without preserving a minimum dollar level. Both principal and income may be spent.

Fiscal Year

MIT's fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. Annual giving runs on the same fiscal year as the Institute, and this is also considered MIT's gift crediting period.

Friends of MIT

Includes non-alumni parents, widows, MIT staff and faculty, and unaffiliated individuals.


Fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups. Read more about FSILGs.

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Gifts in Honor

Like memorial gifts, gifts in honor accomplish two significant goals at once: They honor someone whom the donor loves or admires, and they further the Institute's service to society. Gifts in honor, like memorial gifts, may be designated toward a specific MIT program or fund, or their use may be left to the discretion of the Institute. Read more about Memorial & Honorary Gifts.

In-kind Contribution

Non-cash gift of services or of tangible property—equipment, works of art, books, etc.—rather than of cash or appreciated property. In-kind contributions (also referred to as "gifts in kind") must be appraised or evaluated before they are accepted by the Institute.


Independent Residence Development Fund. The IRDF is a special endowment fund that offers targeted grants and low-interest loans to help FSILGs (Fraternities, Sororities, and Independent Living Groups) maintain and improve their properties. Read more about IRDF.


Katharine Dexter McCormick (1904) Society. The Society honors alumni and friends who have made life income gifts to MIT, or who have notified MIT of a bequest provision in their will. Read more about the Katharine Dexter McCormick (1904) Society (KDMS).

Life Income Fund

A form of planned gift that is set up, invested, and managed by MIT, where up to two beneficiaries receive payments for life or for a pre-specified term of years. Read more about planned gifts.

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Matching Gift

A grant program whereby a company will contribute a specific amount of money to MIT based on the amount of a gift made by an employee (and sometimes by the employee's spouse or a retiree) to the Institute. Specific guidelines are set by each employer. Matching gifts are included in MIT's annual giving dollar total, and are added to an individual's gift total for purposes of donor recognition. Read more about matching gifts.

Memorial Gift

A gift to commemorate a family member, classmate, faculty member, or friend. Read more about memorial gifts.

Need-blind Admissions Policy

MIT policy that directs the Institute's leaders to admit students based solely on their academic potential rather than on an their ability to pay full tuition, room, and board.

Operating Support

Contributions made to cover an organization's day-to-day, ongoing expenses (e.g., salaries, utilities, office supplies).

Planned Gift

A form of charitable contribution whereby the donor retains assets for life (in the case of bequests), or the donor and/or the donor's beneficiaries are given payments for life or for a specified term of years (in the case of life income funds), after which all remaining funds are transferred to MIT. Read more about planned gifts.


A commitment by an individual or corporation to make a future contribution. Some donors, especially when preparing to celebrate a reunion, make multi-year pledges. Pledges are not included in MIT's annual giving totals, but are included in Reunion Gift campaign dollar totals, as set forth in MIT’s Reunion Gift Crediting Rules.

Restricted Fund

Contribution made for a clearly specified purpose and none other.

Seed Money

A grant or contribution used to start a new project or program.

Unrestricted Gift

A gift whereby the donor authorizes the Institute to decide how the money will be used. Read more about why unrestricted gifts are so important to MIT.


The rate of return on an investment.

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