Chief Financial Officer

Position Description and Ideal Candidate Specification
East Foundation
San Antonio, Texas

The East Foundation is a nonprofit tax exempt organization, created through the generous gift of the East family upon the passing of Robert C. East on June 18, 2007. Its charitable activities are operated as an integrated program of research, education and outreach. The Foundation’s mission is “to support wildlife conservation and other public benefits of ranching and private land stewardship.”
The focus of the Foundation’s work is to:

  • Educate the general public on wildlife conservation and the relationship of wildlife with livestock and ranching.
  • Use scientific research to understand and improve the productivity of native rangelands for both wildlife conservation and livestock production.
  • Manage its ranchlands as a working laboratory that includes cattle ranching as an integral part of the overall operations of the foundation.

The Foundation owns 218,000 acres of ranchland in South Texas (including 100,000 acres net mineral interest), total net assets of $700+ million, and has a $12-14 million annual operating budget. Approximately 45 employees work in three major locations (San Antonio – headquarters; the Hebbronville office; and the San Antonio Viejo Ranch outside Hebbronville. There are two related organizations, East Ranches LLC and East Foundation Investments LLC.

The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization; originally a private foundation [section 501(b)(1)(B)], in 2016 it took the opportunity to switch to a newly-created category, Agricultural Research Organization [ARO – section 509(a)(1)]. For more information see www.eastfoundation.net.

The Challenge: This is a new position for the East Foundation. The CEO is looking for an experienced senior financial executive, ideally with a blend of for-profit and non-profit experience, to serve as a strategic business partner to him and to the senior leadership team. The new CFO will need to help define and create the template for this position, bringing together the accounting for the ranches and for the Foundation as whole and strengthening its ability to grow in support of its mission.

Position Summary

The Chief Financial Officer will play a pivotal role in the overall management of the Foundation, providing financial leadership and guidance to the Foundation’s CEO and senior leadership team.

The CFO will serve as a key member of that team, and will oversee and manage all financial functions and staff, including financial planning, operations, statements and analysis, compliance, cash management, and oversight of the annual audit and tax returns and reporting.

The CFO must ensure that the East Foundation’s transition to Agricultural Research Organization status (a five-year test period that began in October 2016) is smooth and in full compliance with IRS requirements.

Relationships

The Chief Financial Officer will report to the President and CEO, Neal Wilkins.

The CFO manages four direct reports in bookkeeping and accounting functions.

The CFO will work with, and serve as the senior financial advisor to, the senior leadership team. The CFO will serve as financial liaison to the Board and, working with the CEO and the Director of Investments, will provide support to the Investment Committee.

The CFO will manage the Foundation’s banking relationships, as well as those with its auditors and tax advisors/preparers.

The CFO will serve as the public liaison with external parties concerning the Foundation’s public financial reports.

Position Priorities (To be evaluated during the first six months.)

  • Participate in strategic planning, and ensure that appropriate financial support will be available for its implementation.
  • Review the progress toward full Agricultural Research Organization status to ensure its successful completion.
  • Work toward consolidating the Foundation’s and the ranches’ accounting and reporting; evaluate the current financial management software (QuickBooks), and determine whether new software and systems would better provide for supporting this consolidation.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Work with the CEO and the Board to create long-range financial plans for fulfilling the Foundation’s operating and capital needs.
  • Manage the overall allocation and utilization of financial resources.
  • Oversee and manage all financial activity including accounting, budgeting, cash management, and fund management, aligning financial plans with strategies and business objectives.
  • Maintain financial management policies, procedures, and controls; investigate and recommend financial management software; and develop and maintain the common chart of accounts and standardized budgets and financial reporting.
  • Direct the preparation of financial statements, and analyze and report on financial results; conduct month-end and year-end closing; and maintain effective internal controls to assure safeguarding of assets and reliability of financial statements.
  • Manage support for the annual audit, and supervise/support preparation of tax returns.
  • Manage the Foundation’s banking relationships.
  • Oversee risk management, and manage the insurance portfolio.
  • Ensure compliance with all relevant state and federal tax regulations including reporting and filing requirements.
  • Manage property tax issues and relationships.
  • Partner with the Director of Investments with regard to investment management and appropriate consideration of investment returns and risks.
  • Represent the Foundation externally, as appropriate, on all financial/reporting matters.

Ideal Experience

  • Education: a bachelor’s degree is required; in addition, graduate studies in business, finance, accounting or other relevant fields would be a plus. CPA certification is strongly preferred.
  • Experience: at least 10 years of financial experience in a management role, preferably some of that with a nonprofit organization or a foundation; a blend of for-profit and non-profit experience would be ideal.
  • Proven financial planning and analytical skills, and expertise in accounting, strategic financial planning, budgeting, internal control and reporting principles, techniques, and standards within a nonprofit business environment.
  • Experience in a non-hierarchical working environment and proven teamwork skills are important.
  • Excellent communications skills – oral, written, and presentation – are required.

Ideal Personal Profile

  • An experienced senior executive who can assure that financial considerations are an essential part of the Foundation’s planning process and its operations.
  • A seasoned financial executive who understands the transparency and compliance requirements of a nonprofit environment.
  • An innovative team player who has the skills and the flexibility to make the financial function a positive contributing partner in all Foundation activities, rather than a constraint or limitation.
  • An individual with a deep commitment to the Foundation’s mission and an appreciation for its unique contributions to conservation, wildlife, and ranching.
  • An executive with the professional stature and the personal character, standards, and integrity to serve as a leader and as a representative of the Foundation.

For more information contact:
Dorothy Drummer & Associates
Executive Search Consulting
301 Congress Avenue, Suite 2100
Austin, Texas 78701

(512) 320-9983 telephone
(512) 750-1664 cell
dorothy@dorothydrummer.com