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Ad Hoc Committee to Review MIT Gift Processes

About the Committee

The Institute is committed to furthering MIT's mission through the fostering of relationships with individuals and organizations that result in goodwill and philanthropic engagement. The size, scale and complexity of the philanthropic landscape has increased in recent years, as well as societal expectations for greater operational transparency.

The Institute has recently installed a new process to support the assessment of risk in international engagements as well as a new office (Office of Strategic Alliances and Technology Transfer) to support the development of non-federal proposals and agreements. However, as revealed by the recent events surrounding Jeffrey Epstein's donations to MIT, a review of the Institute's processes surrounding gifts is called for.

In this regard, a new committee, the Ad Hoc Committee to Review MIT Gift Processes, is charged with reviewing MIT's current processes for soliciting, processing and accepting gifts to the Institute, including policies, practices and organizational roles and responsibilities related thereto, and with recommending improvements to facilitate efficient, transparent and responsive decision making with respect to gifts.

Specifically, the committee should:

1)   Become familiar with MIT's current processes for soliciting, processing and accepting gifts to the Institute, including due diligence practices;

2)   Study processes of peer institutions for the solicitation, processing and acceptance of gifts;

3)   Use the Institute's receipt and acceptance of gifts from Jeffrey Epstein and other gifts as case studies to identify areas for improvement; and

4)   Recommend changes to MIT's current gift solicitation, processing and acceptance processes.

5)   The committee will work in conjunction with the Ad Hoc Faculty Committee on Guidelines for Outside Engagements which is charged with defining a set of values and principles to guide the assessment of outside engagements. Several members of the Ad Hoc Committee will sit as voting members of this committee.

The committee is encouraged to solicit input and advice from community members (staff, students, and faculty). The committee's final product is a report with findings and recommendations to the Provost and Chair of the Faculty due June 1, 2020. The committee should provide an interim report by January 15, 2020, which could contain initial recommendations.

The committee will work closely with the Ad Hoc Faculty Committee on Guidelines for Outside Engagements to consider how principles being developed might impact processes under consideration.