Definitions

donation

Donation of Constantine

Document concerning the supposed grant by the emperor Constantine I (the Great) to Pope Sylvester I (314–335) and later popes of temporal power over Rome and the Western Empire. The gift was said to have been motivated by Constantine's gratitude to Sylvester for miraculously healing his leprosy and converting him to Christianity. Based on legends from the 5th century concerning Sylvester and Constantine, the Donation was probably written at Rome in the mid 8th century and was related to the coronation of Pippin III, the first Carolingian king of the Franks. Proved in the 15th century by Lorenzo Valla to be a forgery, the document was already questioned by the emperor Otto III (r. 996–1002) but was often cited in the 11th–15th centuries to support papal claims in the struggle between church and state.

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A donation is a gift given, typically to a cause or/and for charitable purposes. A donation may take various forms, including cash, services, new or used goods as i.e. clothing, toys, food, vehicles, emergency or humanitarian aid items, and can also relate to medical care needs as i.e. blood or organs for transplant. Charitable gifts of goods or services are also called gifts in kind.

Legal aspects

Donations are gifts given without return consideration. This lack of return consideration means that, in common law, an agreement to make a donation is an "imperfect contract void for want of consideration. Only when the donation is actually made does it acquire legal status as a transfer or property. In civil law jurisdictions, on the contrary, donations are valid contracts, though they may require some extra formalities, such as being done in writing.

In politics, the law of some countries may prohibit or restrict the extent to which politicians may accept gifts or donations of large sums of money, especially from business or special interest groups (see campaign finance).

In countries where there are limits imposed on the freedom of disposition of the testator, there are usually similar limits on donations.

The person or institution giving a gift is called the donor, and the person or institution getting the gift is called the donee.

Donating in the name of others

It is possible to donate in the name of a third party, making a gift in honor or in memory of someone or something. Gifts in honor or memory of a third party are made for various reasons, such as holiday gifts, wedding gifts, in memory of somebody who has died, in memory of pets or in the name of groups or associations no longer existing. Memorial gifts are sometimes requested by the survivors (e.g. "in lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to ABC Charity"), usually directing donations to a charitable organization for which the deceased was a donor or volunteer, or for a cause befitting the deceased's priorities in life or manner of death. Memorial donations are also sometimes given by people if they cannot go to the ceremonies.

See also

References

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