A decade ago, AGB and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), working with a national task force, developed an illustrative memorandum of understanding (MOU) that was widely promulgated and served as a model for agreements at many institutions and systems. This illustrative MOU, originally published in 2005, provided a catalyst and starting point for conversations among institution and foundation leaders about the role of foundations, the structure of development, and the respective responsibilities of institution and foundation boards.
While the principles informing the 2005 illustrative MOU remain sound, the context in which foundations operate has changed significantly. The growing need for private support is leading many institutions to explore changes to the structure of their development programs and encourage their foundations to play a more-active role in fundraising and assume increased responsibility for real estate projects. At the same time, institution administrators and boards may feel the need to exercise increasing levels of oversight over affiliated entities that represent important institutional resources and potential risks that might fall outside of the parameters of the institution’s risk management practices.
To help public institutions and foundations adapt to these changes, in 2014 AGB again worked with CASE and an advisory group of public higher education leaders to revise the illustrative MOU and develop new recommendations regarding best practices in the development and implementation of MOUs.