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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Upholding Public Trust in Nonprofits through Standards for Excellence Training

Paper figures holding hands

Paper figures holding hands

Sara Tangdall

Sara Tangdall is the former program manager in business, leadership, and social sector ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Views are her own.

Trust in the Social Sector

Nonprofits enrich our lives in a variety of ways by creating a broad array of benefits to society in fields such as charitable, religious, scientific, economic, health, cultural, civil rights, environment, and education. Individuals, corporations, foundations, philanthropists, and government add value to the services that nonprofits provide by investing time, resources, and funds in these organizations. As a result, members of the general public place a great deal of trust in nonprofit organizations and often hold them to a higher standard than for-profit organizations.

When a nonprofit acts unethically, it can result in broken trust and relationships between the nonprofit, funders, the general public, and communities served. It is imperative for the social sector to maintain the trust of these various stakeholders, and Standards for Excellence® offers one route for doing so.

Standards for Excellence® at the Markkula Center

Standards for Excellence logo

Standards for Excellence is a nationally known ethics and accountability training program for the social sector, and the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics is the West Coast’s first and only replication partner. The Center has an exclusive license to implement the program in 14 counties in Silicon Valley and beyond. The national program provides a code, training, and in-depth resource materials, which the Markkula Center has customized to better emphasize the ethical issues across the social sector.

We offer two-day training sessions that cover a variety of topics, including:

  • Mission, strategy, and evaluation
  • Leadership:  Board, staff, and volunteers
  • Finance, legal, and operations
  • Resource development
  • Public awareness, engagement, and advocacy

Standards for Excellence Scholarships

We are currently offering partial scholarships for organizations to attend our upcoming trainings on March 14-15 and to become a member of our Partner in Learning community.

Scholarship applications are accepted on a rolling basis but spots are limited, so we suggest you apply now! If you would like to register for the training without applying for a scholarship, please contact Anita Varma at

Feb 5, 2019

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