ACF Workshop Series: Sustainability Through Endowment Program (STEP)

Stable, long-term financial support is a goal that all charitable organizations strive toward. However, this goal can often seem difficult and out of reach — but it doesn’t have to be.

Abbotsford Community Foundation is offering a cost-effective training and coaching program* to help local charitable organizations develop/enhance their endowment and planned giving programs. After completing the STEP workshop series, participants will be able to provide donors with more options to support their organizations in perpetuity. Donors can create a legacy by making a permanent connection between your organization and their family, to continue to give even after they are gone. That’s the power of endowment.

*Special thanks to the Edmonton Community Foundation for allowing us access to their successful and long running Endowment Sustainability Program in the creation of our workshop series.

There are 5 workshops in all where participants will: 

  1. Get buy in within their organization for planned giving and endowments
  2. Learn how to have planned giving conversations with their donors that lead to endowment gifts
  3. Deepen donor relationships through stewardship that is meaningful with their cause/purpose
  4. Become well-versed in tax strategies around different types of gifts
  5. Develop effective communication pieces using the power of storytelling

Time Commitment:

Participating charities will attend five, 2-hour sessions over several weeks. These in person sessions are scheduled on Wednesday mornings (8:30 – 10:30 am) from April 3 – May 1 (April 3, April 10, April 17, April 24, May 1). We will serve a simple breakfast & have coffee, tea, & water available for all participants.

Who Can Attend:

Charitable organizations looking to build or enhance their planned giving programs to support their own endowment funds. Participating organizations are required to have at least 1 staff and 1 board/committee member attend. In the case of organizations where they are entirely volunteer led, a min. of 2 board/committee members are required to attend. It’s ideal for your main fund development staff or Fund Development Committee Chair to attend. Not sure? We’re happy to discuss who might be an appropriate person to bring to these sessions. 

Who Will Be Leading the Workshops:

The program is delivered by Areni Kelleppan, ACF’s Executive Director and a small number of guest presenters. This means that participants will receive quality access to ACF’s extensive knowledge base and expertise in securing long-term financial support.

What Does the Curriculum Look Like:

All workshop sessions will include time for peer sharing, discussion, and learning (because everyone has lived wisdom) and a Q&A portion. Participants will also be given homework to help reinforce the material and also allow for them to share how they’ve applied their learnings for peer feedback. Scroll to the bottom of the page for full series outline.

Organizations interested in participating in ACF’s STEP workshop series or those who may have questions or require more information about the program, should contact ACF in advance of December 1st.

Other Frequently Asked Questions:

Do we have to attend all five sessions?

Yes. This is a program where all the sessions work together to build your organization’s capacity to develop or enhance your planned giving/endowment program. This is why we require a min. of 2 people (although you can bring more) in case someone is unable to attend due to illness, etc.

Can I bring more than 2 people from my organization?

We are open this! Just please discuss this with ACF so we can accommodate those you would like to bring. This is a planned small cohort workshop so that organizations have the opportunity to customize the content to their organization and work on their own planned giving programs.

What’s the cost to attend?

If you already have an endowment with ACF, then it’s a min. gift to your endowment of $1,000 to be made sometime within the next 12 months.

For those without an endowment with ACF, then it’s an initial min. gift of $1,000 to start your own ’emerging fund’.  We can discuss options for how you can do this or make a presentation to your Board if you’re not sure how to make this happen.

How do I sign up my organization?

Contact Areni Kelleppan at or give her a call at 604.850.3755 ext. 1

How many organizations will be in attendance?

Because this is intended to be a small cohort workshop, where organizations have the opportunity to customize and spend time on their own planned giving programs, a max. of 6 organizations will be accepted into the STEP program.

We’re not ready to do this in 2024 but would like to do it later. Will you be offering the STEP program after 2024?

We would definitely like to but that will depend on interest from community organizations and their ability to participate. If you’d like to be on our waiting list to get updates about this program & when it may be offered again, just contact us and let us know.

We respectfully acknowledge that we are located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Stó:lō people, the Semá:th First Nation and Mathxwí First Nation. As treaty People, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, we share the responsibility for the continued stewardship of this beautiful land.