Last updated: September 24 2018

New Gift Planning Designation for Advisors

The Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP), Knowledge Bureau and Spire Philanthropy are pleased to announce their collaboration to introduce a new professional designation for the financial services sector. The MFA™ Strategic Philanthropic Services Specialist designation will denote specialized professional credentials to develop plans for individuals and families interested in strategic philanthropy.

In doing so, qualified advisors will address an investment trend that is increasingly important to investors of all ages.  By tapping into their clients’ philanthropic goals, they will increase opportunities to build trust by better understanding their clients’ values and critical personal causes.

“CAGP is excited about realizing a long-time dream to offer a designation to advisors who want to work more closely with charitably-minded clients to have community impact in mind when planning their finances, retirement and succession”, says Ruth MacKenzie, President and CEO, CAGP.

“We are delighted to partner with CAGP and Spire Philanthropy to provide a meaningful professional course of studies to help advisors assist philanthropists in making investment and giving choices that will leave the biggest impact on society and in the process, utilize tax strategies to support longer-term funding or sustain growth,” said Evelyn Jacks, President of Knowledge Bureau.

“I am looking forward to working with firms and advisors to engage in this important industry designation that will add further trust and credibility to the work of advisors, and impact on charities in Canada”, said Brad Offman, CEO, Spire Philanthropy.

The program will address three key benefits for advisors and their clients:

  • How to incorporate philanthropy into their practice in pragmatic terms
  • How to focus on gift planning strategies and vehicles that are relevant to client’s goals
  • Practical experience with numerous working case studies that allow advisors to apply that knowledge

Firms interested in enrolling their advisors may participate in a pre-registration process for the MFA Strategic Philanthropic Services Specialist designation, which requires completion of three online certificate courses over a period of one year. An in-office presentation may be scheduled and/or advisors may pre-register online for studies that begin on a continuous intact basis in December.

The flexible program features personal instructional support and includes all materials to complete the course and testing requirements. Students can expect to spend approximately 100 hours on the three courses. Group study sessions may also be arranged.

Ruth MacKenzie, President and CEO of CAGP will also be speaking at the Distinguished Advisor Conference in Quebec City, November 11-14 on the topic “The Philanthropic Conversation: How enabling client philanthropy can help build your business and brand”. By booking a table, firms may enroll advisors to attend the conference as a pre-cursor to starting on their course studies.

To schedule an information session on the MFA Strategic Philanthropic Services Specialist Designation, please contact Brad Offman at To enroll in the new online program or the Distinguished Advisor Conference contact Knowledge Bureau at 1-866-953-4769, and for information about CAGP, please visit

Evelyn Jacks, President

Knowledge Bureau

Ruth MacKenzie, President & CEO,


Brad Offman, CEO,

Spire Philanthropy





The Canadian Association of Gift Planners is the only organization in Canada that brings together charitable representatives with professional advisors in one association. Among our fundraising, tax, legal and financial peers, we are looked to as the experts in strategic charitable gift planning.

The 20 CAGP Chapters across the country are essential partners in achieving CAGP’s vision and mission, by building and leveraging local relationships and engaging members to strengthen philanthropy and strategic charitable gift planning. Comprised of and serving CAGP’s 1200+ members across the country, Chapters provide education and professional development designed for charitable gift planners, professional advisors and senior decision-makers, the opportunity to network and connect with their peers and colleagues at the local level is one of the most important and valuable benefits of membership in CAGP.

Local Chapters also offer an array of other initiatives designed to build on local opportunities and address local needs, issues and priorities, such as mentorship programs, LEAVE A LEGACY™ events, newsletters and e-communications.



Knowledge Bureau™ is a national post-secondary educational institute and publisher focused on excellence in financial education. Our mission is to raise standards of practice by focusing on the evolving knowledge and skills required by professionals to manage their client’s wealth with tax efficiency. 

Our comprehensive certificate courses help professionals attain ongoing CE/CPD Credits, train staff or advance professional careers by demonstrating new skills leading to certification, diplomas and designations in a variety of specialized skills. This includes the MFA™ (Master Financial Advisor) Designations, the Distinguished Financial Advisor™ Designations and the RWM™ (Real Wealth Manager) Designation.

Vision Statement:  At Knowledge Bureau, we believe that knowledge is exponentially more valuable, when it is shared. To that end, we aspire to provide an impactful lifelong learning environment in which highly informed clients, working with highly educated specialists, are more likely to collaborate to achieve financial peace of mind – Real Wealth - to the benefit of our bright collective futures in the community.


At Spire Philanthropy, we offer an innovative approach to relationship building between corporations and charities. We work with a variety of public, private and not-for-profit organizations to build long-term, meaningful relationships that have a sustainable, lasting impact.

Our basic philosophy at Spire Philanthropy is to build stronger partnerships between the corporate and charitable sectors. In order to create these partnerships, a new paradigm must be created; one where both corporations and charities recognize the value and benefit equally from it. The funder-receiver paradigm, where the power in the relationship rests with the corporations, undermines the very definition of partnership.

In a true partnership, each side must understand the others motivations and see value in the relationship. Our vast experience in both corporate community investment and non-profit management are the keys to our deep value proposition. We understand the motivations of each partnership and by doing so, and we are able to seek true common ground.

As corporations become more strategic with their community investments, and with charities trying to maximize their limited resources, we work with both parties to develop partnerships that create real value, both intrinsic and financial, for all.

ABOUT THE MFA™ Strategic Philanthropic Services Specialist DESIGNATION

Early Registration Begins October 1 – November 30.  


  1. Module 1 Why Families Give
  2. Module 2 The Role of the Advisor
  3. Module 3 Setting the Stage - Barriers to Giving and Planning
  4. Module 4 Why Family Involvement Matters in Wealth Management
  5. Module 5 Ethics and Judgement
  6. Module 6 What a Successful Plan Looks Like
  7. PMT (Practice Management Thesis): A fulsome case to demonstrate client-centric skills.
  8. Exam (honours gold bar standing with 90% attainment).


  1. Module 1 - The charitable sector landscape
  2. Module 2 - Emerging philanthropic trends
  3. Module 3 - How charities operate
  4. Module 4 - How strategic gifts are cultivated
  5. Module 5 - Understanding tax and philanthropy
  6. Module 6 - How to plan for impact
  7. PMT (Practice Management Thesis): A fulsome case to demonstrate client-centric skills.
  8. Exam (honours gold bar standing with 90% attainment).


  1. Module 1 - Understanding Various Gift Vehicles
  2. Module 2 - Planning with Families, Singles and Survivors
  3. Module 3 - Planning with Business Owners
  4. PMT (Practice Management Thesis): A fulsome case to demonstrate client-centric skills.
  5. Exam (honours gold bar standing with 90% attainment).

TUITION FEES:  $995.00 plus taxes



Refer a Friend       Research    Calculators Course Trials