Charitable Gifts – Donor Naming Opportunities


The purpose of this policy is to define the scope, standards, responsibilities, and approach for charitable gift donor naming opportunities.

The College for Creative Studies encourages alumni and friends of the College to use private philanthropy to preserve and enhance educational excellence and further the College’s mission. Philanthropy is an integral part of the College’s success, aiding its educational, research, and service activities now and in generations to come. In appreciation and recognition of generous gifts, some donors qualify for naming opportunities. The College also encourages donors to perpetuate their association with educational excellence at CCS through naming opportunities that honor or memorialize themselves, their families, loved ones, colleagues, friends, or organizations.

This policy outlines the standards and procedures for approval, establishment, and maintenance of philanthropic recognition through naming opportunities, in accordance with general College for Creative Studies policies and Institutional Advancement’s Policy – Charitable Gifts – Types and Acceptance, and in general keeping with guidelines of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

This policy is complementary to other charitable gift policies beyond the scope of this particular policy.


This policy applies to all units, departments, faculty, staff, and other interests using the name of the College for Creative Studies and participating in philanthropy on the College’s behalf. It sets the standards for which donor giving may be recognized through naming opportunities. This includes, but is not limited, to:

  1. Buildings, rooms, facilities, physical infrastructure, common spaces, green spaces, elements of spaces, and physical areas of other types;
  2. Named funds, endowed funds, endowed academic positions or programs, general endowment funds, and other ongoing funds;
  3. Collections of books, artifacts, manuscripts, works of art, items of historical significance, and other related items;
  4. Lectureships, seminars, symposia, panels, conferences, conventions, visiting faculty, sabbaticals, and other related events;
  5. Awards, student scholarships (annual and endowed), and special projects and programs that are time-limited;
  6. Identifying the persons authorized to offer and accept a gift with a naming opportunity;
  7. Describing the legal and ethical standards within which gifts will receive recognition;
  8. Describing the standards for donor relations to which the College will adhere.

Philanthropic naming proposals are required to be submitted through Institutional Advancement. This provides coordinated donor relations, as well as:

  1. Authority to negotiate terms of a named gift, including exclusivity of a naming opportunity or term of years for such recognition;
  2. Authority to set gift levels for specific naming opportunities as they fit within the larger context of a campaign or project;
  3. Provide guidance and professional expertise in developing the gift;
  4. Develop appropriate recognition levels for structured and planned gifts that reflect the present value of a structured gift or the potential of a planned, estate gift.
  5. Ensure that ethical and legal fundraising practices are followed;
  6. Checking compliance of the terms and conditions of Institutional Advancement’s Gift Acceptance Policies;
  7. Drafting the Gift Agreement that must accompany each named gift; and
  8. Comply with FASB and CASE standards, as appropriate for the College.

Institutional Advancement will review all proposals to ensure that the proposed naming opportunity:

  1. Enhances the reputation of the College, its standing in the academic community, and in the broader community;
  2. Conforms with the College’s commitment to freedom of academic expression, integrity, and quality of education, while advancing the College’s mission, without endorsing an ideological position or commercial product and/or service.
  3. Recognizes a reasonable and consistent proportion of the cost of the area or program to be named, as well as other considerations that relate to donor recognition.
  4. Honorific naming opportunities will comply with the standards set forth in this policy, generally speaking.
  5. Donor naming opportunities are to be determined by the following considerations:
    • Proportionate – The naming opportunity must fit well with other areas in terms of giving level and expense to produce the recognition.
    • Traffic – The higher the traffic (people using, walking through, or viewing virtually), the higher the dollar amount to recognize as this is greater perceived value by the donor.
    • Visibility – This pertains to who is likely to see or use the area and what the value that has for donors.
    • Type of Use – the area may have high appeal in terms of how it is used.
    • General Appeal – Some areas have naturally high appeal, such as lobbies, building names, space names, and endowments.
    • Donor Market – This is based on the philanthropic market targeted and its capacity and interest in giving.
    • Donor Base – The maturity and depth of the donor base may require higher or lower giving levels.
    • Comparison to Other Organizations – Gauge what recognition similar organizations offer with comparable projects.
    • Creativity – Areas may be combined or sub-divided, for instance. Recognition is planned, but opportunities may justify changing aspects of that plan.


Buildings, Facilities, and Area Naming

Buildings: General guidelines suggest that naming a new physical structure for the life of that facility requires a donor investment of 25-50% of the construction costs or privately raised contributions. A minimum of $1,000,000 is required for smaller buildings and larger buildings require a minimum of $5,000,000. Revocable bequests and other revocable gifts are not the basis for naming any part of a physical structure, but may be considered when the gift has matured. If a donor desires exclusive naming rights within a building, the donor must pay 100% of the costs of the building.

Wing, Floor, Centers, or Significant Portion of a Building: Minimum gift of $500,000 for smaller areas and $1,000,000 for larger areas.

Large Lecture Hall: A hall that accommodates at least 100 students requires a minimum gift of $500,000.

Small Lecture Hall: A hall that accommodates fewer than 100 students requires a minimum gift of $250,000.

Equipped Laboratory: A minimum of 50% of the cost or a gift of $100,000-$500,000 is required.

Large Studio or Classroom: A room that accommodates more than 25 students requires a minimum gift of $200,000.

Small Studio or Classroom: A room that accommodates fewer than 25 students requires a minimum gift of $100,000.

Conference Room or Board Room: A minimum gift of $150,000 is required.

Outdoor Space: A minimum gift of $100,000 is required.

Campus Office: A minimum gift of $25,000 is required.

Deferred Maintenance: It is recommended that donors endow a portion of all named spaces for upkeep. An additional gift amount of 10% is recommended.

Endowment of Academic Positions, Departments, Programs, and Opportunities

Deferred Maintenance: Each gift of named endowment funds for physical spaces needs to include 10 % as funds for deferred maintenance and physical plant costs.

Named Department: The minimum gift level begins at $2,500,000.

Named Department Head or Chair: A minimum gift of $2,000,000 is required.

Named Faculty Position or Professorship: A minimum gift of $1,000,000 is required.

Named Program: A minimum gift of $1,000,000 is required.

Named Annual Scholarship, Competition, Prize, Award: A minimum annual gift of $1,500. For scholarship naming minimums, see policy Scholarships Funded by Private Gifts, line 3.2.1.

Named Program Funds: A minimum of $25,000, payable over up to five years is required.

Other: From time to time, other projects, such as directorships, lectures, symposia, student enhancement, research, professional development, and facility funds may be considered, and the amount will vary with each circumstance.

Capital Campaigns and Special Projects: Generally, the guidelines for naming opportunities in capital campaigns, comprehensive campaigns, and special projects will adhere to the guidelines described in this policy.

Approval and Compliance

All naming opportunities exist in a context. Institutional Advancement develops various donor recognition and naming plans according to the stated aims of the College and the giving interests of the donor community. These plans may establish higher gift levels for particular naming opportunities that are greater than the minimums stated in this policy.

All naming opportunity proposals are to be developed through Institutional Advancement. Institutional Advancement will then present all proposals of $500,000 or more for consideration and approval by the President.

Pending such approval, discussion with donors or other stakeholders regarding philanthropic naming opportunities remain provisional.

Upon approval, Institutional Advancement will administer the implementation of the naming opportunity in collaboration with the donor, faculty, department, and or physical plant, as meets the circumstances.

For a naming opportunity, a donor(s) will present a minimum of 20% of the gift total, in cash or assets that can be promptly liquidated, when a Gift Agreement is executed. Pledges are expected to be paid at least annually for a period of not more than five years.


The College reserves the right to withdraw or alter a naming opportunity if it constitutes a significant impairment to the College’s reputation or if the agreed-upon philanthropic contributions are significantly reduced. In such circumstances, the College will make a reasonable effort to work with the donor to adjust terms of the gift and pursue other financing opportunities.

The duration of a name on any facility ordinarily continues as long as the facility is used in the same manner or for the same purpose for which the naming occurred. Upon demolition, replacement, substantial renovation, or redesignation of purpose, the College may deem that the naming period has concluded. The appropriate College representative will make all reasonable efforts to inform the donor and his or her representatives in advance when the naming period is deemed to have concluded. The College may, but is not required to, provide for the appropriate recognition of the previous name in or near new and renovated facilities.

Requests for special circumstances or exceptions are to be given to Institutional Advancement for consideration.


The Office of Institutional Advancement is responsible for assuring this policy’s standards, compliance, and implementation.

February 10, 2021

March 4, 2021

Institutional Advancement