This policy sets forth the standards and procedures for the retention of the records of the Research Foundation of the City University of New York. It is intended to ensure the organized retention of records for retrieval, to guard against premature destruction of records and to effectively utilize the resources of the Foundation's storage capacity. 


This policy is applicable to all Central Office Foundation employees.


The Foundation requires that financial, legal, operational and other records be maintained in a consistent and logical manner.  Maintenance, retention, and disposal procedures for Foundation records must be followed systematically by staff members in each department or office.  This policy is intended to ensure that the Foundation:

  • meets legal and sponsor standards;
  • optimizes the use of storage capacity;
  • preserves the history of the Foundation;
  • destroys outdated records in a timely manner.

Definition of a Foundation Record

A Foundation record is the original or copy of any writing, regardless of physical form or characteristic that contains information related to the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activity of the Foundation.

Electronic Records

Electronic record means any Foundation record that is created, received or stored on a local workstation or a central server, e.g., email, word processing documents, spreadsheets and databases.  Record retention periods apply to Foundation records regardless of their physical format.  Electronic records are to be managed in the same manner as paper records to ensure compliance with this Policy and retained in accordance with the retention requirements presented in the attached schedule, regardless of whether the electronic records are the record copy or duplicates. 

Electronic Mail

Business related email is a Foundation record, and must be treated as such. Each email user must take responsibility for sorting out personal and junk messages from business related messages and retaining Foundation records consistent with this policy.  Email that does not meet the definition of a Foundation record should be deleted immediately from the system.  Business related email is to be printed and filed in the same manner as paper records, so that the email records can be destroyed in accordance with this policy.  Printed email must be kept with any associated attachment or file and must contain metadata, i.e., header information including; who sent the message, who the message was sent to, the date and time the message was sent.       

Records Retention Schedule

The attached Records Retention Schedule provides a detailed list of Foundation records for each department and prescribes the period for retention. A Foundation record, regardless of the format in which it is created, must be retained for designated periods of time and may only be disposed of in accordance with the attached schedule.  If a record is not listed on the schedule it does not mean that it can or should be destroyed without first considering the general requirements of this policy and consulting with Foundation's Counsel. 

Disposal and Destruction of Records

Those Foundation records designated for destruction after fulfilling their retention requirement must be disposed of in an appropriate method.  If it has been determined that it is appropriate to dispose of certain records they should be destroyed in accordance with the Foundation's records destruction procedure. 

Litigation Holds

When litigation against the Foundation or its employees is filed or threatened, the law imposes a duty upon the Foundation to preserve records that pertain to the subject of the litigation. Litigation holds will be sent to the appropriate persons and departments. The litigation hold overrides the Record Retention Policy. Destruction of documents related to the litigation would be suspended and records would be held until released by Foundation's Counsel.


The Record Retention Schedules will be revised periodically by management to include additional records, to change retention periods, or to address records no longer useful or obsolete and to determine the most effective and technologically appropriate manner of retention.


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