Community Foundation Excellence (CFE)

Initially, developed in conjunction with Indiana University's Center on Philanthropy, these courses help community foundation staff, board members and volunteers master the unique aspects of the community foundation field. You'll learn about effective practices, get helpful tools and information and the opportunity to network with others in the sector. Comprehensive and engaging, these courses are an efficient and affordable way to increase your knowledge of the field.

Formerly known as Center for Community Foundation Excellence (CCFE), Community Foundation Excellence (CFE) courses continue to be the premier professional development opportunities for community foundation professionals. All Community Foundation Excellence courses are created and led by experienced community foundation practitioners. Courses currently being offered by the Council on Foundations:

CFE  Fundamentals Course

Designed to help staff and volunteers quickly comprehend organizational essentials this course is for community foundation staff in the early stages of their careers, as well as more experienced staff seeking a review. It is applicable to individuals from community foundations of all sizes and covers topics including:

  • basic information on governance, resource development and donor relations;
  • updates on key legal and legislative issues;
  • information on grantmaking; and
  • review of community leadership and fiduciary responsibilities.

CFE Finance Course

For community foundation CEOs, managers, or board members/trustees with fiscal responsibilities and those new to finance and fiscal administration, this course provides an understanding of the complicated aspects unique to community foundation finances. The interactive two-day course curriculum is designed so that participants will:

  • have a framework for developing policies and practices related to the National Standards;
  • understand the legal and regulatory requirements specific to community foundations, as well as a better understanding of the implications and trade-offs in drafting policies and operating procedural decisions;
  • understand factors to consider in cash management, asset allocation, and fees;
  • address latest changes in FASB requirements, tax reform and donor-advised fund regulations; and
  • be more conversant in complicated fiscal issues, and better able to take your case to your Board. 

CFE Affiliates Course

Affiliates of community foundations come in many different forms, and the varied relationships can often raise many questions for staff and volunteers. This redesigned three-part course will provide an overview of community foundations and affiliate law, and is applicable to individuals from community foundations of all sizes. Topics covered include:

  • the differentiation between an advisory group and a board;
  • National Standards compliance;
  • fundraising for the affiliate fund in cooperation with the host foundation;and
  • how to determine when a fund should become an independent 501(c)(3).


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