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Unrestricted and Restricted Gifts

You may direct that your gift be designated to a specific fund (i.e., a named scholarship, the History Department, a research project, etc.) — this is considered a "restricted gift," and you can be confident that the Stony Brook Foundation,  a 501 c(3) organization, will steward your gift as you intended. 
Gifts that are not restricted to any fund are considered "unrestricted" donations, which offer the University a flexible resource of funds that are often used for unexpected or opportunistic needs such as sending students to a conference, hosting a visiting scholar, purchasing necessary lab equipment, etc. 
New York State covers only around 18% of our operating budget, much of the State funding is used just for operating costs and other capital improvements. This way, private unrestricted dollars can be devoted to activities and programs more directly connected to our academic mission.