The Certificate in Education Foundation Leadership, CEFL, is the professional standard and is the only certification program designed exclusively for education foundation leaders and executives. This program provides foundation leaders with specific skills and knowledge required to lead and manage an education foundation, regardless of size.
Across the country, education foundations and their leaders need to operate more efficiently to impact the education community they serve, more effectively. The CEFL Certification Program strengthens an education foundation to succeed now and into the future with proven standards of excellence for the administration and management of an education foundation regardless of foundation size, geographic location, or education community served [IE: Public, Private, Charter, Magnet, and College].
Based on the Guiding Principles for Education Foundations, the CEFL Certification Program provides critical insights from subject matter experts in six domains. Specifically: Leadership & Planning, Marketing, Legal & Finance, Resource Development, Board Development, and Collaboration.
For additional information about the CEFL Certification Program, please contact our Program Director, Sara Bender, CEFL.Contact Sara
For access to the online learning platform, we must receive payment in advance of the course's start date.
The cost for the six-course program is $3,000 and we provide two payment options:
Potential Training Grants
Some states offer grants to cover training for nonprofit professionals.
The CEFL is offered online in an asynchronous format that is self-paced with weekly deadlines. Optional weekly check-ins over Zoom provide a space to connect in real time with instructors and peers from across the country.
Each course is four weeks; the certificate can be completed in about six months. New in 2023 is a “Flex” week between each course. This allows students the flexibility to work ahead, catch up on any missed work, or just enjoy some time off.
Enrolled students may access course materials beginning April 23; courses begin April 30.
The 2023 Calendar is as follows:
Leadership & Planning provides an understanding of education foundation leadership and organizational development by covering topics of: strategic planning & implementation, program evaluation, volunteer management, liaison and support of the school district, constituent alliance, balancing the four entities of programs, administration, development and marketing/public relations.
“This has made me feel more confident to work with the board on creating a strategic plan. Now I understand how it comes together and the process is not as hard as I thought it would be.” – 2022 CEFL Participant
Marketing provides students with an opportunity to learn the basics of marketing while simultaneously applying and testing knowledge through the development of a social media marketing plan. The course includes a mix of theoretical and practical learning assets that will enhance student's understanding of marketing, (infra)structure, market research, target markets, goals, strategies, analytical data, and budgeting.
“I loved the structure and layout of the course, the assignments we were required to complete, and the class discussion. I feel that I learned so much from my peers and instructor during the last 4 weeks, and I cannot wait to build a better marketing portfolio for my foundation.” – 2022 CEFL Participant
Legal & Finance provides an understanding of the legal aspects and financial management of education foundations. This will be accomplished via addressing key legal issues pertaining to non-profit organizations, both in set-up and in operation such as governing documents, legal & IRS requirements, donor responsibilities, gift restrictions, and ethical considerations on the legal side. Financial management components of the course will include analyzing and reporting on financial statements, management’s responsibilities related to external audits, and budgeting for the organization.
“I like the aspect of learning not only from the instructors, but also from others in the course. They brought up things from their own experience and organizations that really made me think outside the box.” – 2022 CEFL Participant
Resource Development provide an understanding of basic concepts, terminology, structure, revenue streams, and donor engagement demonstrated by a case for support. Students will build on their marketing skills to focus on the donor. Understanding donor perspectives will help foundation leaders set and accomplish development goals in line with overall vision and mission of an education foundation.
“Every detail is perfect. All 5's for instructor, content, format, lectures, materials, attention, feedback, support.” – 2022 CEFL Participant
Board Development provides an understanding of non-profit board governance and fiduciary responsibilities. It will include a review of the roles of boards, typical committee structures, on-boarding of new board members, and expectations. Students will learn techniques to effectively engage board members in furthering the mission of their education foundation. This will include various evaluation techniques for boards, developing board leadership and succession planning, helping the board to effectively engage a broad network in the community, and assisting the board with organizational planning.
“Creating a guide and manual was huge for us. We did not have any materials in place and it helped to set us up and give some direction.” - 2022 CEFL Participant
Education Foundation Collaboration provides an understanding of appropriate educational and community engagement for improving the foundation’s performance. It includes a deep dive into school district structure, responsibilities of superintendents and school boards, and the district planning and budgeting process. Students will learn strategies to engage a network of critical community partners. Volunteer utilization, beyond board and committee membership, will be explored using best practices from the nonprofit sector.
“I will have stronger collaboration with both internal and external partners thanks to the principles shared in this class, and the opportunity to reflect that it offered. It has also expanded my thoughts about other opportunities that I had not previously considered.” – 2022 CEFL Participant
No student or foundation should rely on the information in the CEFL Program in determining whether to act or refrain from acting. All liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of the CEFL Program are hereby expressly disclaimed. The content on this posting is provided "as is;" no representations are made that the content is free of errors, inaccuracies, or misleading information.