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Statement of Principles on Private Gifts

As both a trust instrumentality of the United States and a 501(c) (3) organization, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Wilson Center) relies on a combination of federal and private funds to fulfill its mission to tackle global issues through independent research and open dialogue to inform actionable ideas for Congress, the Administration and the broader policy community.  While federal appropriations provide base funding, including support for our well-known fellowship and scholars programs, the Wilson Center could not operate without generous private financial support.

The Wilson Center recognizes the extraordinary contributions that its private supporters provide and seeks to engage them as much as possible in Center activities of their interest, as it does with other public and private stakeholders; however, its presidentially appointed Board of Trustees, in coordination with staff, reserves all responsibility for determining the direction, and content of its programming.  As a public trust, the Center maintains the highest standard of independence, non-partisanship, and professionalism in carrying out its activities.  In consonance with its mission and its charter, the Center seeks to present a broad and diverse range of views on every issue and under no circumstances engages in lobbying activities.

As a public trust, the Center adheres to the highest standards of transparency and disclosure on funding sources and makes these available publicly each year.

Purposes of Gifts

The Wilson Center accepts gifts from individuals, foundations, agencies, corporations, and other entities to further its mission of tackling global issues through independent research and open dialogue.  The Wilson Center does not accept donations that do not further the purposes determined by the Center, that pose a conflict of interest, or that impose restrictions on the Center's programming priorities or the independence of its research and activities.

The Center will, on occasion, accept gifts from foreign governments.  All foreign government funding has to be approved by the board of trustees or its executive committee and will be subject to determination that it reflects the Center’s priorities and does not influence its research findings.

The Center makes all possible efforts to ensure that its funding sources are diverse and ensure that it is dependent on no single source of non-federal funding.


As a public trust, the Wilson Center discloses all gifts above $1000 from public or private sources annually. The Center may make a rare exception to this policy and grant a donor request to remain anonymous only if the request does not conceal any real or perceived conflict of interest, or raise any other ethical or legal issues.  Any request for anonymity must receive approval from the Director in consultation with Legal Counsel.  Donations from foreign entities cannot be given anonymously.

Gift Acceptance and Benefits

The Wilson Center accepts a gift only if it can fulfill the donor's intended purpose in a manner consistent with its mission and existing programmatic priorities.  

The Wilson Center seeks to recognize its supporters publicly and can choose to provide specific kinds of recognition that may include public listing, naming of programming or space, a donor plaque, or other kinds of public recognition for specific events, depending on the significance of the gift.

The Center greatly appreciates the advice and suggestions it receives from stakeholders, both donors and non-donors, but it reserves exclusive right to determine all content and participants in programming and findings of research.  The presidentially appointed Board of Trustees is the guarantor of this independence and has sole authority for setting policies and program priorities, in coordination with staff.