POSITION DESCRIPTION - April 2018
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
“For the improvement of social and living conditions in the United States.”
The Russell Sage Foundation – the principal American foundation devoted exclusively to research in the social sciences – seeks an energetic, creative, detail- and results-oriented Chief Financial Officer to take an important leadership role as a financial steward for the Foundation. With investment, accounting, tax, and technology expertise, the CFO will work with a high-performing team and collaborate effectively across the organization. As part of a vibrant intellectual community, he/she will be a collegial professional and possess an appreciation for the Foundation’s important mission.
ABOUT THE FOUNDATION
One of the oldest American foundations, the Russell Sage Foundation was established in 1907 for “the improvement of social and living conditions in the United States.” The Russell Sage Foundation is an operating foundation, serving as a research center, a funding source for studies by scholars at other academic and research institutions, and an active member of the nation’s social science community.
The Foundation funds innovative social science research in four main program areas and several special initiatives; supports visiting scholars, researchers, and journalists; and publishes books and a journal based on the work of its grantees and visiting scholars.
The Foundation has assets of about $380 million, an annual operating budget of about $15 million, and a staff of about 35. Located on the upper east side of New York City, its architecturally distinguished seven-story structure serves as an ideal venue for research and collegial activities.
Reporting to the President, the Chief Financial Officer is responsible for the overall financial management of the Foundation, which includes investments, accounting, the annual audit, taxes, payroll, cash management, and relations with the trustees and the financial community. The CFO will oversee the day-to-day accounting and investment activities of the Foundation and is also responsible for overseeing the employee benefits and operations management functions. The accounting manager and, the benefits manager directly report to the CFO.
RESPONSIBILITIES AND PRIORITIES
- Lead and support a committed team. Provide high-level, proactive financial management expertise and leadership to the Foundation on all fiscal and investment matters. Provide oversight of day-to-day operations, services, and activities, and inspire team to greater heights.
- Investment Responsibilities – Attend Finance Committee meetings and prepare the agenda, minutes, investment summary reports, and additional reports and information as needed. Execute the investment strategies of the Finance Committee. Maintain relationships with investment managers and evaluate their performance. Stay current and anticipate developments and opportunities in the financial markets and alert the President and the Finance Committee as appropriate. Draw funds from investment accounts at the beginning of each month to cover the month’s anticipated expenses and research award payments.
- Account and Auditing – Coordinate the annual audit in conjunction with the Foundation’s accounting firm. Prepare financial statements and related notes and schedules for the financial statements for review by the auditors. Prepare, with finance department staff, backup schedules to support numbers in financial statements. Prepare the Foundation’s tax return, Form 990-PF, and backup schedules supporting the numbers in the tax return in preparation for the accounting firm to review prior to filing. Implement/update as necessary organizational policies and accounting practices; ensure maintenance of appropriate internal controls and financial procedures. Remain current on GAAP and not-for-profit accounting best practices. Prepare the Foundation’s annual budget, with support from the finance department staff, department heads, program directors, and program officers. Monitor and ensure that the departmental budgets stay within budget.
- Foundation’s Retirement Plan – Oversee the retirement plan with the assistance of the Benefits Manager. The finance committee members are the fiduciaries for the plan. The CFO arranges with TIAA to meet with the finance committee each year to evaluate the plan and review the performance of the investment options.
- Operations and Management – Work with the insurance broker to ensure the Foundation’s office insurance adequately covers the Foundation against liability, including worker’s compensation, publisher’s liability, D&O, fiduciary and crime, cyber, travel, and package policy which covers the buildings and their contents. Help design a healthcare plan that adequately covers staff and keeps costs in check. With the benefits manager, determine that all the employee benefits insurance is adequate and reasonably priced. Review research award reports prepared by the grants manager after each Board meeting. Oversee banking relationships. Ensure that Marsh Island (a conditional Foundation gift to the state of Louisiana) is maintained as a wildlife refuge and that the Foundation receives one-half of all oil and gas revenue from any mineral leases on the island.
- Board Relations –Work in partnership with the Finance and Audit Committees of the Board of Trustees and make presentations to full Board of Trustees.
- Performance Management – Assess and evaluate the team structure and functions. Make changes where necessary to ensure that operations are effective. Measure efficacy of service delivery with a clear sense of metrics. Work with President and Director of Administration on annual compensation package for staff. Define team goals and performance expectations, providing guidance, and conducting regular performance evaluations for directly-reporting staff.
IDEAL EXPERIENCE AND CHARACTERISTICS
The Chief Financial Officer will have or be:
- A strong working knowledge of investment theory and practice.
- Serve as a prudent steward of the Foundation’s resources.
- Expertise in accounting principles and practice, preferably as they apply to foundations and related tax issues.
- Strong knowledge and a comfort level with computer software and systems. An ability to maximize the effective use of technology.
- Proven managerial problem-solving skills as a results-oriented executive. An ability to get things done. Demonstrated ability to balance long-term goals with daily operational issues.
- A collaborative manager with the ability to nurture high-performing teams. An ability to set goals, track progress, and assess effectiveness of the team.
- Excellent interpersonal skills. A consensus builder with an inclusive style and approachable demeanor; an individual who treats others with respect and openness. A team player able to work in a small office environment with a collaborative culture.
- A concise effective communicator with a penchant for detail. Someone who can communicate with highly sophisticated and knowledgeable finance/investment experts, as well as those who may require extra guidance and support.
- An absolute appreciation and strong interest in the social science research mission of the Foundation.
- A high degree of emotional intelligence and self-awareness. A life learner with a self-reflective nature.
- A strong work ethic, impeccable integrity, and a sense of humor.
- A minimum of 10 years’ experience with a foundation, nonprofit, or relevant private-sector investment firm with accounting, audit, and investment management responsibilities.
- Professional certification (CPA) and graduate degree required.
For more information about the organization and its programs, please visit www.russellsage.org.
The Russell Sage Foundation seeks a diverse pool of candidates. Salary will be negotiable commensurate with experience.
Applications, including cover letters and resumes, and nominations should be sent to the attention of Paul Spivey at RussellSage@PhillipsOppenheim.com.
Russell Sage FoundationApril 2018