Fiduciary Essentials® For Foundations and Endowments

"A good reputation allows nonprofits to attract more funds" Source: Why Nonprofits Should Use Reputation Risk Management

Enhance your nonprofit's reputation and you enhance its value to donors and beneficiaries. As a director, you know how a good reputation can increase trust and attract more donors, bring knowledgeable directors aboard, and further your mission.

Using a fiduciary process to manage the assets of your foundation, endowment or trust increases accountability and transparency and helps realize your mission. Achieving certification will strengthen your reputation. But your first step is training.

Watch our video: 'Certification of NonProfit Organizations'


Many trustees, board members and investment committee members are unaware of their fiduciary duties and responsibilities. If you're in a decision-making role (e.g., board member), you are a fiduciary to the nonprofit and it is up to you to ensure that decisions are being made in the best interest of the nonprofit's mission and its beneficiaries. You should be able to answer these key questions:

  • Are your foundation’s assets being managed in accordance with a well-crafted and up-to-date Investment Policy Statement?
  • Do your investment advisors/investment managers acknowledge their fiduciary duty to the foundation in signed service agreements?
  • Are they managing the foundation’s assets prudently, according to the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA)?
  • Are investment advisors/managers monitoring the portfolio according to specific criteria?
  • How is the board monitoring the investment advisors/managers and investment performance, risk, and cost?
  • Do you have processes in place for investment service provider selection and regular reviews?
  • Are investment service provider reviews conducted in a thorough and consistent manner?

If you are uncertain about the answers to these questions, Fiduciary Essentials can help!

Donors assess a nonprofit's reputation, transparency, and how well it is managed. Nonprofit fiduciaries can turn to Fiduciary Essentials® for Foundations and Endowments (FEFE) to learn how to improve your fiduciary decision-making process and protect the nonprofit's reputation.


The Fiduciary Essentials® for Foundations & Endowments course is designed to help fiduciaries and others involved in the investment process improve their fiduciary decision-making and reduce the overall risks associated with managing the nonprofit’s assets.

Delivered within 3 or 4 hours, you will learn:

  • About your important role and responsibilities as foundation or endowment fiduciaries
  • How to reduce reputational, regulatory and litigation risks associated with management of foundation and endowment assets
  • Strategies for implementing an effective and prudent fiduciary decision-making process
  • How to select and work with qualified advisors, consultants and service providers
  • How to document your prudent process in your fiduciary file


Fiduciary Essentials® is the first step in prudently managing your nonprofit:

  • Attract more donors, gifts and board members to your nonprofit
    Donors seek assurance about the quality of your governance, a prudent decision-making framework, and effective stewardship of their gifts. Learn how investment returns from gifts are maximized via prudent processes. This is vitally important to donors.
  • Mitigate your reputational risk
    "For nonprofits…reputation is everything." Enhance your reputation and you enhance its value to donors and beneficiaries "How Nonprofit Organizations Use Reputational Risk Management," Sloan Review, MIT
  • Reduce your personal and institutional liability
    Fulfill your role as a fiduciary and implement a prudent decision-making process to reduce personal and institutional risk.
  • Increase value from your service providers
    Understand service provider roles and responsibilities, e.g. whether they are acting as fiduciaries and learn how monitoring them can decrease costs for services provided.
  • Improve your financial results
    Prudent investment practices and oversight improve investment results. Investment costs are controlled and monitored.


Fiduciary Essentials® workshops for board directors and investment committee members are available:

  • On-site at your organization
  • Off-site in a classroom setting for larger groups

For more information, please contact Carlos Panksep, VP CEFEX at or 416-693-9733.