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Fiduciary Responsibility

A term referring to a relationship in which one person owes a fiduciary duty, a high standard of care, to the beneficiary. The primary duties are the duty of care and the duty of loyalty. Directors, trustees, managers and certain other advisors of nonprofit organizations owe fiduciary duties to the organizations they oversee, similar to the duties of directors at for-profit companies. However, unlike fiduciaries of for-profit companies or pension trusts, fiduciaries of foundations and endowments owe legal duties of obedience to the organization's charitable mission and to the observation of the social purposes required of nonprofits. The fiduciaries of charitable organizations must approach investment and program-related investment decisions with these duties in mind. 

Fixed Assets

Tangible property used in the operations of an organization, but not expected to be consumed or converted into cash in the ordinary course of events, e.g. facility, equipment, furniture, etc.

Fixed Income

These securities, commonly in the form of Treasury bonds, corporate bonds, CDs and preferred stock, provide periodic income payments at predictable intervals and an interest or dividend rate known in advance by the holder. The relatively low risk of fixed income securities generally translates into relatively lower returns.


Formally a "foreclosure suit"; the procedure whereby a lender takes possession of collateral that has been pledged under a loan upon a default.

Functional Expense Classification

A method of grouping expenses according to the purpose for which costs are incurred. Functional Expenses include program expenses, general and administrative expenses, cost of goods sold, and financing expenses. Audited financial statements sometimes include a Statement of Functional Expenses.

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