Serving as Fiduciary for Nonprofits and Foundations

Vanessa Bechtel, President & CEO, Ventura County Community Foundation
Bonnie Gilles, Chief Financial Officer,  Ventura County Community Foundation

April 29, 2020

Around 50 percent of the nation’s nonprofits are operating with less than one month’s cash reserves, according to GuideStar. Some 7 – 8 percent of U.S. nonprofits are technically insolvent, with liabilities exceeding assets. Our own experience suggests that Ventura County’s percentage of insolvent nonprofits is even higher than the national average. While the financial health of nonprofits vary across sectors, the one constant theme as we’ve helped organizations grapple with their unfortunate financial realities is the disbelief and dismay when board members and internal leadership understand the true nature of their financial positions. We often hear, “But, we’ve had clean audits for years and years," or, "We've worked with our Investment Consultant for years, why didn't he say anything?" Unfortunately, we find that by the time these organizations come to understand their predicament it is frequently too late for them climb out of their poor financial condition, seriously impacting their abilities to fulfill their missions and have positive change on society. It also compromises their ability to honor donor intent and donor restrictions. In this session, we will discuss:

  • How AIFA® and AIF® Designees, CPAs and attorneys can use their expertise to improve the financial health of their clients and organizations they serve in volunteer/ director roles
  • Clean audit opinions and what that really means
  • Unique nonprofit characteristics to consider and contemplate
  • Fiduciary responsibility and the duty of care, duty of loyalty, and duty of obedience
  • An example of how things can go wrong

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