Nonprofit Finance Certificate

Rice University’s Nonprofit Finance Certificate program supports those who manage finances at nonprofit organizations to develop sustainable financial processes and strategies. By earning this certificate, demonstrate to current and potential donors your expertise, experience, value and ability to implement a sound fiscal approach. Scholarships are available.

Woman reviewing data on paperwork

The financial operations you have in place now impact the success of your organization for the future. Many nonprofits struggle with some aspect of financial management, whether it is financial statements or reporting, policy, planning, analysis, and strategy as well as clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of individuals who share fiscal responsibility. By the end of this program, clearly illustrate the proactive stewardship of funds and the efficient financial practices you've established.


Section Instructor Format Schedule start date
CPNL7010.F18.1 Michael Pawson, Kathy Fountain, Kay Walther, Alyssa Hill, Mimi Holt, Kristen Simpson Blended 2-4 p.m. Central time (online); 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (on-campus) Thursday, October 11, 2018

Instructor: Michael Pawson

Job Title: CFO

Organization: Greater Houston Community Foundation

Degree(s): Bachelor of science in chemical engineering and economics and Ph.D. in chemical engineering

Certifications: CMA

Michael Pawson, Ph.D., is CFO at Greater Houston Community Foundation. He previously served as CFO at Genesys Works, Interim CFO at TUTS, CFO at the Houston Symphony, and as an engagement manager at McKinsey & Company (and maintains an ongoing relationship with McKinsey). He has earned the CMA (Certified Management Accountant) and CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner) designations. He has been awarded the University of Minnesota Alumni Association Leadership award and is a former board member of the Education Foundation of Harris County. Dr. Pawson holds a BS in chemical engineering and economics from Caltech and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

Job Title: CFO

Organization: SER-Jobs for Progress of the Texas Gulf Coast, Inc.

Degree(s): BBA (Accounting)

Certifications: CPA, CGMA

Kathy Fountain, CPA, CGMA, has been a CPA for 35 years and has experience working in public accounting, manufacturing and broadcasting. In 2011, Ms. Fountain was named one of the year's most distinguished CFO's for a Charitable Organization by the Houston Business Journal.

Job Title: Partner

Organization: Blazek & Vetterling LLP

Degree(s): BBA

Certifications: CPA

Kay Walther, CPA, is a partner with the firm of Blazek & Vetterling LLP. She specializes in nonprofit accounting and auditing services and currently serves a broad range of nonprofit clients including foundations, social service agencies, civic, business, and cultural organizations, schools, churches, and health-care related organizations in Houston and its surrounding areas. She has more than 20 years of public accounting experience with nonprofit organizations and was previously a manager with Ernst & Young. Ms. Walther is a speaker on technical accounting and management subjects for nonprofits and has presented seminars for The Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at Rice University, the University of Houston Nonprofit Executive Series, the United Way of Greater Houston and its National Financial Management Forum, Houston Chapter of Certified Public Accountants and the National Society of Fundraising Executives. She serves as board member and past president of The Women's Home. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Houston Chapter of Texas Society of CPAs. Ms. Walther holds a BBA from Texas A&M University.

Job Title: Partner

Organization: Carr Riggs & Ingram, LLC (CRI)

Certifications: CPA

Alyssa Hill, CPA, is a partner at Carr Riggs & Ingram, LLC (CRI) and has more than 15 years of experience in public accounting. She has significant nonprofit and governmental audit experience and has served a variety of clients in the manufacturing industry. Ms. Hill graduated from Texas A&M University.

Job Title: Audit Partner

Organization: Blazek & Vetterling LLP

Degree(s): Bachelor's degree

Certifications: CPA

Mimi Holt joined Blazek & Vetterling in 1994 and became a partner of the firm in 2007. She began her accounting career with PriceWaterhouse Coopers where she spent approximately five years and was an audit manager serving a variety of clients including non-profit organizations. Before joining Price Waterhouse, Ms. Holt spent three years as business manager and controller of University of St. Thomas where she supervised the accounting and personnel functions. She received her bachelor of arts degree magna cum laude from the University of St. Thomas in 1986. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Texas Society of CPA’s, and the Houston Chapter of CPA’s. Ms. Holt serves on the audit committee of Catholic Charities USA.

Job Title: Partner

Organization: Carr Riggs & Ingram

Degree(s): MA

Certifications: CPA

With more than 10 years of diversified accounting, tax, and consulting experience, Kristen Simpson specializes in tax preparation, review, and planning for both individuals and small businesses. Ms. Simpson’s industry expertise includes working with clients extend across a number of industries including real estate, transportation, manufacturing and distribution, and professional service firms. She is a member of both the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants (TSCPA). In addition to being a CPA, Ms. Simpson is a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt with considerable expertise in software integration, training, and logistics.

Term: Fall 2018

Start Date: Oct. 11, 2018

End Date: Nov. 09, 2018

Schedule: 2-4 p.m. Central time (online); 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (on-campus)

Length: Three Thursdays (online), and Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (on-campus)

Fee: $3,195 Fee includes textbooks.

Note: Application deadline is Sept. 14. See APPLICATION PROCESS tab below for more information.

Who should apply?

  • Aspiring nonprofit finance professionals
  • Current senior leaders including executive directors, CFOs or CDOs
  • Current staff members of nonprofits who aspire to become a senior leader
  • Current finance staff members in for-profit or corporate roles


Attention CPAs:

The Glasscock School of Continuing Studies is a Registered CPE Course Provider We have registered with the Texas State Board of Accountancy (Registration no. 600) to meet the requirements of the continuing professional education rules covering maintenance of attendance records, retention of program outlines, qualifications of instructors, program content, physical facilities and length of class hours. This registration agreement does not constitute an endorsement by the Board as to the quality of the program or its contribution to the professional competence of the licensee.

Rice University is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be addressed to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. 150 Fourth Avenue North, Suite 700, Nashville, TN, 37219-2417. Website:

CPE credits: 50

Fall 2018 Application Deadline: Friday, Sept. 14, 2018

To begin the application process, you must submit the following items: the program application form, résumé or curriculum vitae, a personal statement and one professional letter of recommendation. 

Once all required documents have been received, completed files are reviewed after the application deadline. All communication including admittance decisions are made through email. 

Submit completed applications:

Via email (preferred):

Via mail:
Rice University Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies
Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership
PO Box 1892 - MS 550
Houston, TX 77251-1892

For additional information regarding the application process, please contact our program coordinator at 713-348-6009 or via email at for further assistance.

Blended Format – meets online and on campus

This offering meets for a total six sessions during the semester. For three sessions, the cohort meets online and three sessions are spent on-campus with fellow participants and instructors. 

The certificate program concludes with the successful completion of an individual strategic practicum project. 

Fall 2018 Blended Schedule

Session 1: Financial Management Theories, Terms, Roles and Policies (online) Thursday, Oct. 11 2-4 p.m. Central time
Session 2: Internal Controls (online) Thursday, Oct. 18 2-4 p.m. Central time
Session 3: Financial Statements (online) Thursday, Oct. 25 2-4 p.m. Central time
Session 4: Financial Statement Analysis, Investments and Liabilities (on-campus) Wednesday, Nov. 7 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Session 5: Audit, Government Funding and Audit (on-campus) Thursday, Nov. 8 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Session 6: Budgeting, Cost Allocation, Managing Cash Flow and 990 (on-campus) Friday, Nov. 9 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Practicum Project Due Date January 2019  

Classroom Format

This offering meets for six eight-hour intensive sessions during the semester. There are two out-of-class assignments – a team project to assess internal controls and a practicum that may directly benefit your organization.

The certificate program includes a total of forty-eight hours of classroom content and successful completion of an individual strategic practicum project. 

Topics include the following: 

  • Financial management theories, terms, roles and policies
  • Internal controls, risk management and financial statement presentation
  • Financial statement analysis, investments and liabilities
  • Budgeting, cost allocation, managing cash flow and 990
  • Government funding, government reporting requirements and single government audit
  • Audit and tax reporting

Tuition: $3,195 (textbooks included)

Scholarship Options

The Glasscock School offers scholarships for professionals working to earn the Nonprofit Finance Certificate. Please contact for more information. 

Note: Employees of 501c3 organizations in the greater Houston area may be eligible for financial aid of up to 50 percent of tuition.

Alternative Payment Options

Payment plan options are available by request for those who do not qualify for the scholarship option and need additional assistance. Payment plans may also be requested to pay the remaining balance of the program fees after scholarship funds have been awarded. Payment plans will not be granted after the start of the program. Contact the program coordinator for the required forms needed to request this option.