National School Foundation Association Certification Program Developed Through Partnership With National University's Sanford Institute of Philanthropy

April 22, 2015

Chicago, Ill. — April 23, 2015 — The National School Foundation Association (NSFA), the recognized leader of the Pre-K-12 education foundation movement in the United States, announced today the launch of a specialized certification program that sets the gold standard for quality education foundation leadership. Believed to be the only one of its kind in the nation, the program is offered completely online based on curriculum developed through a unique educational alignment with National University's Sanford Institute of Philanthropy, a provider of innovative fundraising strategies for nonprofits.

The NSFA's Education Foundation Leadership certification program recognizes a growing need to address funding gaps for the nation's Pre-K-12 schools through a formalized professional development process. The coursework foundation for the certification process comes from San Diego-based National University, the second-largest private nonprofit university in California, and its Sanford Institute of Philanthropy. Created through the support of philanthropist T. Denny Sanford, the Institute offers seminars, certificate programs and a master's program with an emphasis on cause sales, cause leadership and fundraising — developed by the University's School of Business and Management and Division of Extended Learning. The Institute also collaborates with organizations to help create customized programs.

“The role of education foundations in our society is becoming even more urgent as we have seen significant education cuts over the past decade and a realignment of resources that have forced schools to make difficult choices that impact student success,” said NSFA Executive Director Nina Menis. “We are very pleased to be offering this unique program through our partnership with the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy at National University since it reinforces our goal of providing high quality professional development opportunities that benefit our schools.”

The Education Foundation Leadership certification program, announced today at the NSFA's 10th Annual National Conference April 22-24 in Chicago, is meant to augment the NSFA's current training and support efforts to its more than 1,000 member foundations through a curriculum that emphasizes leadership, financial management and relationship building. Education foundations are privately operated, nonprofit organizations established to assist public and private schools, and many are facing increased education needs. According to a 2014 study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, states are providing less per-pupil funding for K-12th grade than they did six years ago, which has led in many cases to larger class sizes or the reduction of programs.

“We are so pleased to be collaborating with the NSFA to help train a new generation of education foundation leaders, whose work is critical to the future successes of our K-12 schools,” said Dr. Michael R. Cunningham, President of National University. “This is a wonderful example of the nonprofit and education communities working together to create a better tomorrow.”

Registration for the Education Foundation Leadership Program begins this month, and courses will start by Summer 2015. Program completers receive a certificate of completion from National University, and the formal certification through the NSFA.

The curriculum for the NSFA certification program is designed to be completed in six months. Developed through a collaborative process with the NSFA, it emphasizes skills and knowledge required to effectively lead education foundations, with fundraising elements integrated throughout the program. Areas of focus include: Building and sustaining a well-connected and engaged board of directors; Efficient organizational planning and development; Key financial management techniques; Establishing effective and cooperative relationships with school districts and other community stakeholders; Key legal requirements and comprehensive resource and marketing strategies.

About The National School Foundation Association

The National School Foundation Association (NSFA) is a recognized leader of the Pre-K-12 education foundation movement in the United States, providing training and support for their development and quest to increase student achievement through strategic philanthropic investment and involvement. Supported in the early stages with a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the mission of the NSFA is to provide support, training, and resources to education foundations and their leaders to maximize their success. This mission is accomplished through State Affiliate Organizations (Florida, Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Utah), individual memberships throughout the United States and with the support of partners, business leaders, education leaders and government officials who share our passion for quality educational programs for our nation's schools.

About National University

Founded in 1971, National University is the second-largest private, nonprofit institution of higher education in California. With 30,000 students and more than 140,000 alumni, National University is the flagship institution of the National University System. National University is dedicated to making lifelong learning opportunities accessible, challenging, and relevant to a diverse population of students. Five schools and one college — the College of Letters and Sciences; the School of Business and Management; the School of Education; the School of Engineering and Computing; the School of Health and Human Services; and the School of Professional Studies — offer more than 100 graduate and undergraduate degrees and 23 teacher credentials. Programs are offered at locations throughout California and across the nation, and are also available online. National University is headquartered in La Jolla, California.

About the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy

Established through a generous gift from philanthropist and businessman T. Denny Sanford, the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy is housed at National University and trains existing and future nonprofit leaders. The Institute's unique approach to philanthropy applies proven business principles and a fundraising focus to cause organizations with the aim of maximizing their positive impact in our communities.

Media Inquiries

National University
Anna Cearley
Director of Public Relations
Phone: 858-642-8163
Cell: 858-210-0942

National School Foundation Association
Nina Menis, Executive Director
Phone: 866-824-8513
Cell: 630-863-6613