Private endowments, foundations and public charities (such as community foundations) have honorable motives and strive to operate in a way that respects their philanthropic origin. Board members or trustees of a charity have fiduciary duties to the organization. As investment stewards, they must care for the organization's assets and put the organization's interests first.

Foundations compete for donor dollars. In an environment of increasing investment anxiety and questionable trust, such competition can be particularly fierce. The CEFEX Certification Mark can help to overcome donor anxiety and mistrust by publicly demonstrating a foundation's outstanding commitment to accountability, diligence and fiduciary process. Certification also enables a foundation to maximize investment performance and thereby maximize support of its donors.

The CEFEX Certification Mark is a demonstration that the foundation, endowment or charity has undertaken a detailed fiduciary assessment, thereby ensuring that the organization is adhering to the best fiduciary practices.

If you represent a foundation, endowment or charity, the CEFEX Mark can:

  • help you to increase the number and size of charitable contributions
  • demonstrate your stewardship to existing donors
  • better serve beneficiaries.

Excellent investment stewardship helps fulfill the organizations objectives to maximize the return on donated and accumulated financial assets. It demonstrates the organizations sensitivity to fiduciary issues, including asset allocation, service provider selection and conflicts of interest.

Donors: Why should you care if the organization is CEFEX-certified?

The CEFEX Mark is a sign that the organization receiving your funds adheres to the industry's best practice in investment management. This means that YOUR donation is in good hands. The investment committee managing your donation is committed to managing according to the industry's standard of excellence.

How can you get a foundation or charity to apply for CEFEX?

If the organization you want to donate to, does not have the CEFEX Mark it may just be that it isn't aware of it yet. You can download a brochure here.

What if your foundation or charity is using the CEFEX Mark but you think it doesn't have the right to use the Mark or doesn't meet the CEFEX standards?

If you have any doubts, please contact us at We will follow-up with a phone conversation to determine further action if necessary.

The CEFEX Mark of Excellence for Endowments, Foundations & Charities.

CEFEX offers a simple way to assess your organization's fiduciary excellence.
Our online "Self Assessment of Fiduciary Excellence (SAFE) contains 15 questions selected from our Standard.
Click here to be directed to our online SAFE".