2.11 - Endowment Fund and Planned Giving Policy

The Royal Oak Public Library’s (“ROPL” or the “Library”) primary source of income is through a voter-approved millage. Additional income is received through, among other things, state aid to public libraries from the Library of Michigan, penal fines, library fees and undesignated gifts. These revenue sources are the basis for basic library services. The Library Board also recognizes the importance of planned gifts and endowments in enhancing the Library’s programs, facilities, and collections.


  1. ROPL makes the final decision on acceptance, use or disposition of all materials, donations, or gifts, including planned gifts and endowments, and retains unconditional ownership of the gifts. Checks shall be made payable to the Royal Oak Public Library. In no event shall a check be made payable to an individual who represents the Library in any capacity.
  2. Appraisal of non-cash donations are the responsibility of the donor.
  3. Gifts to the Library may qualify as a federal tax deduction; the donor will have to consider his or her particular circumstances for the specific tax effect of their gifts. The Library is not responsible for ensuring the tax deduction of any gift.
  4. The Director, in consultation with the Library Board and any staff member that the Director designates, shall govern and be responsible for the supervision of all activities of any endowment funds established for the Library.
  5. Planned giving can be bequests or other deferred giving through estate planning or outright gifts.
  6. The Library encourages deferred gifts in its favor through any of a variety of vehicles. Donors are encouraged to make bequests to the Library under their wills, and to name the Library as the beneficiary under trusts, life insurance policies, commercial annuities, and retirement plans. Donors may also establish a charitable trust benefiting the Library.
  7. The Library or any of its agents shall not act as a personal representative for a donor’s estate or as a trustee of a charitable remainder trust.
  8. An endowment fund gift may be made by any  means by which assets are transferred to the ROPL directly by the donor or by the donor’s agent upon the death of the donor. The endowment fund gift should identify the Library as the beneficiary.
  9. Endowment fund gifts may be of two general types:
    A. Unrestricted: These are gifts with no specific donor requirements or restrictions as to how they are to be used. Expenditures of these funds are made at the discretion of the Director, in consultation with the Library Board and any staff member that the Director designates, and, if necessary, the City Finance Department, for purposes  consistent with the mission of the Library.
    B. Restricted: These are gifts for specific objectives or interests of the donor and acceptable to the ROPL. These gifts may be in response to a specific request or unsolicited. They may be directed toward and used for special purposes, such as programs, building and grounds, equipment, or Library materials. The Director, in consultation with the Library Board and any staff member that the Director designates, and, if necessary, the City Finance Department, may reject any proposed restricted gift if the Director believes that the restrictions on the gift are inconsistent with the mission of the Library.
  10. Endowment fund gifts may also express the following:
    A. Designated as currently expendable: In the absence of specific donor or use instructions to the contrary, all gifts are considered to be available for current expenditures.
    B. Designated as a true endowment: Donors may direct that a gift be placed into a permanent fund, the corpus of which may not be withdrawn. Gifts of over $10,000 may be used to set up a named, true endowment.
  11. Donor Recognition
    A. The Library will provide written acknowledgment to the donor which clearly describes the nature of the gift and when it was received.
    B. Unless anonymity is specifically requested and with full respect for donor privacy:
    i. Donor names may be published in reports to the Library Board, press, Library newsletters, or via bookplates.
    ii. Endowment and quasi-endowment fund gifts will be named according to the donor’s wishes.

Adopted by the Royal Oak Public Library Board on 10/22/19; revised 2/22/22.