Nonprofit Finance Certificate

Many nonprofit organizations struggle with some aspect of financial management, whether it is financial statements or reporting, policy, planning, analysis, strategy, or simply figuring out the roles and responsibilities of all the individuals who share fiscal responsibility for a nonprofit organization. This certificate program supports individuals who manage finances at nonprofit organizations and can be earned in five months. 

Woman reviewing data on paperwork

This certificate includes six eight-hour intensive sessions, two out-of-class meetings including a team project and a practicum.

The center engaged seven practicing nonprofit CFOs representing health and human services, arts and culture, education, and healthcare along with five tax and audit professionals and five nonprofit finance scholars from around the county to design this unique program. The course meets for six eight-hour intensive sessions during the semester, and you have an opportunity to interact with instructors who are actively working in the field. In addition to class meetings, two out-of-class assignments – a team project to assess internal controls and a practicum that may directly benefit your organization- are required to earn this certificate.


Section Instructor Format Schedule start date
CPNL7010.S18.1 Kay Walther, Kathy Fountain, Leslie A. Berardo, Alyssa Hill, Mimi Holt, Michael Pawson, Kristen Simpson On-campus Saturday, February 17, 2018

INSTRUCTOR: Kay Walther, Kathy Fountain, Leslie A. Berardo, Alyssa Hill, Mimi Holt, Michael Pawson, Kristen Simpson
FORMAT: On-campus
START DATE: Feb. 17, 2018

Instructor: Kay Walther

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: 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: Carr Riggs & Ingram, LLC (CRI)

Certifications: CPA

Leslie A. Berardo, CPA, is a partner at Carr Riggs & Ingram, LLC (CRI) and has more than 25 years of experience in public accounting. Before joining GD&D, she was a principal with another local Houston firm where she headed up the governmental and nonprofit audit practice. Her audit experience covers a variety of nonprofit organizations and governmental entities including health and welfare organizations, private foundations, community college, special districts and municipalities. Ms. Berardo is an active member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants.

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: 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: 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: Spring/Summer 2018

Start Date: Feb. 17, 2018

End Date: May 19, 2018

Length: Six Saturdays

Location: Rice campus

Who should apply?

  • Current senior leaders including executive directors, CFOs or CDOs
  • Current staff members of nonprofits who aspire to become a senior leader


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 and managing cash flow
  • Government funding, government reporting requirements and single government audit
  • Audit and tax reporting


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


Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college.

Program Completion Requirements

This certificate requires six eight-hour classroom, intensive sessions, where participants have the opportunity to work with expert instructors. It also includes two out-of-class assignments including a team project to assess internal controls and a practicum.

Application Process

Early application deadline: Dec. 15, 2017

General application deadline: Jan. 12, 2018

To begin the application process, you must submit the following completed forms: 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 will be reviewed after the application deadline. Decisions regarding admittance into the program will be made by an admissions committee and applicants will receive an official decision letter within two (2) weeks from the review period. Applications received after the deadline will be considered on a space-available basis, after the initial group of applicants has been considered. 

Please note that you can fill out the application form on your computer, then print it out and submit it to our office with the items listed in the application. 

Mail completed applications to:  

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


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

Financial Information

Tuition: $3,195 (textbooks included)

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

Scholarship Options

Partial scholarships may be available to individuals currently employed by a nonprofit organization located in the greater Houston area. Please complete the appropriate section of the Nonprofit Finance application if you would like to be considered for program fees assistance. Scholarship decisions will be made by the admittance committee and awarded recipients will be notified at the same time of their admissions decision.

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.

Refund Policy

A 10 percent processing fee will be subtracted from all refunds. Due to the high demand for courses, registrations are considered final as of the dates listed by program area. No refunds will be issued after these dates and credits will not be given for future classes. No refunds will be granted for participants who miss a portion of a program. Refund requests before the deadline must be made in writing to Refunds for credit card payments will be processed as credits to the accounts from which they were paid and may not appear as a credit until the following statement. Refunds for enrollments paid by check take up to four weeks to be processed and mailed by the Rice University accounting office. There is a $30 charge for any check returned for insufficient funds.

The Center for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership issues refunds up to 10 working days before class starts. If books have been issued, the cost of the books and any shipping fees will be deducted.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Session 1: Financial Roles and Policies, Terminology, and Theories

9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Session 2: Internal Controls and Financial Statements

9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Session 3: Financial Statement Analysis, Investments, Liabilities

9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Internal Controls Assignment Due

Session 4: Budgeting, Cash Flows, and Cost Allocation

9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Session 5: Government Funding and Government Auditing

9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Practicum Assignment Due

Session 6: Audits and 990

9 a.m.-5 p.m.