Gift Accounts and Donations

Effective: July 1, 2023
Last Update: May 9, 2024

For Seminars Only

Seminars members and associates, guests, foundations, institutions, and other contributors can make a donation or gift to the University Seminars General Fund or to any of our Seminars. An individual seminar can ask Gesenia Alvarez-Lazauskas to establish and maintain a gift account for its use. Individual seminar gift accounts can be used to supplement the limited funding available from The University Seminars for costs such as meals, travel, and lodging associated with regular meetings and conferences.

  • Gifts made to a specific seminar are earmarked for that seminar and may be used for discretionary expenses approved by Columbia University. 
  • Seminars with gift accounts may still apply for travel or conference funding.
  • Seminars are not permitted to maintain independent bank accounts.
  • Gifts are deposited in a separate bank account maintained by Columbia University’s Alumni and Development office and should not be combined with any other payments made to The University Seminars.


Seminars may solicit gifts, but may not charge dues or fees of any sort. These include fees for attendance, receipt of papers, or to remain on the mailing list. By law, solicitations for funding may not promise any service in return for the contribution. All gifts must be voluntary, and no seminar can offer any quid pro quo.

Seminar Chairs should contact our Associate Director of Financial Operations Gesenia Alvarez-Lazauskas ([email protected]) for information regarding wire transfers, gifts of securities, matching gifts, or to receive a Gift Account Report for their seminar. 

Sample solicitation correspondence:

We ask for your financial support to help defray the [Seminar Number and Name]’s operational expenses. Although The University Seminars at Columbia University funds basic expenses, we rely on your generosity to enhance the seminar’s program. We suggest a tax-deductible gift of $______, but any amount you can afford is appreciated.

Please make your donation via our Donate button at our website:, or by check made payable to “Columbia University.” Checks should specify “Seminar # and Name” and the word “gift” on the memo line. Please include your address on the check. Checks can be collected by the Rapporteur during a seminar event or can be mailed to The University Seminars office address: The University Seminars, 64 Morningside Drive, 2nd Floor, MC: 2302, New York, NY 10027.

Columbia’s Alumni and Development officemails tax receipts for all gifts of $10 and above. However, if a donor gives online, Gift Systems will only mail tax receipts at the donor's request.

Online donors will receive an e-mail confirmation for their gift in lieu of a paper tax receipt mailed to the donor's mailing address.

Institutional gifts must be accompanied by a letter of confirmation from the donating organization. The letter must include a contact person and mailing address, as well as specify the contribution amount. Here's an example of what needs to be included in the letter:

This is to confirm that [Institution’s Name] provided funding in the form of an unrestricted gift to support the Columbia University Seminar on [Seminar Name] [seminar number]. Allocation: University Seminars Gift (06889). 

[Institution’s Name] will not receive any goods and services in exchange for this gift. The contribution amount is [dollar amount].

This letter can be emailed to The University Seminars Associate Director of Financial Operations, Gesenia Alvarez-Lazauskas at [email protected].

Ways To Give

  • Go to: Select the "Donate" button in the upper-right corner. This will direct the donor to The University Seminars gift form. Fill in this form accordingly. On the last page of the form, type "Seminar [#] - [Seminar Name]" in the "Special Instructions" box before selecting the Pay by Card button.
  • If the donor wishes to make a gift to more than one seminar; to The University Seminars General Fund and a seminar; or other combination; donor should note how they wish to divide the gift in the "Special Instructions" box.

    For example:
    Write in the "Special Instructions" box: 50% to the University Seminars General Fund and 50% to #403 - Peace Seminar.


  • Checks must be made payable to “Columbia University” with [Seminar number and name] and "Gift" written in the memo line.
  • Checks can be collected by the Rapporteur during a seminar event or can be mailed to the address below. To ensure that the donation is properly credited, please include a note about your gift's purpose and make sure to note "The University Seminars" and add a seminar name. You can find a list of seminars here: 


    Mail your gift to: 

    Columbia Alumni Center
    Attention: Gift Systems 
    622 West 113th Street, MC 4524
    New York, NY 10025 

Please reference the "Tax and Related Information" page from the CU Giving main website here: