Change, not charity is the founding principle of the Liberty Hill Foundation.
When Liberty Hill began in 1976, it was a daring new foundation that turned philanthropy on its head. Today it is a national leader in social justice. Organizing and advocacy powered by Liberty Hill has changed national policies, launched social change movements, transformed neighborhoods, and nurtured hundreds of community leaders who respond to the experience of injustice by fighting for their rights.
In 1975, four young people who had inherited wealth met for a picnic in Topanga Canyon to discuss better ways to donate to progressive causes. In conversations continuing into 1976, Sarah Pillsbury, Larry Janss, Win McCormack and Anne Mendel—inspired by two already active alternative foundations—agreed to hire a consultant to see if there was a need for a similar foundation in Los Angeles.
By the mid-1980s, Liberty Hill had formed an infrastructure for reaching out and listening to grassroots leaders. The community grew as national economic policies were having a significant impact on the lives of poor people and people of color; homelessness was rampant; the crack epidemic dealt South Central Los Angeles a severe blow. In 1986, 2.7 million immigrants gained documentation in a milestone that resulted in a lasting demographic shift. Community organizers in Southern California responded with the birth of the environmental justice concept and the beginnings of multiracial strategies that are now a hallmark of the Los Angeles social justice movement.
Governed today by a 15-person Board of Directors, Liberty Hill has an $6.5 million annual operating budget and a 25-person staff. Liberty Hill’s strategic grantmaking program, Fund for Change, provides vital unrestricted funds to community-led organizations in the economic, racial, environmental, and LGBT justice sectors. It also administers $4 million annually in grants from donor advised funds and creates giving circles for donors with common interests in the Southern California area.
Additionally, Liberty Hill is raising $6 million to strengthen Los Angeles as a national model for a peaceful and prosperous future for everyone. The Foundation’s “Agenda for a Just Future” will end youth incarceration as we know it, fight for a roof over every head, and eliminate the hazards of urban drilling.
In this newly created position, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) will report to the Executive Vice President. The CFO is responsible for directing the finance and operations functions of the organization. The CFO will supervise two finance staff and will share oversight of an Executive Assistant/Office Manager with the President/CEO. Key responsibilities include the following:
Provide strategic recommendations based on financial analysis and projections;
Staff the Finance, Audit and Investment Committees of the Board of Directors;
Participate in Foundation leadership and management through active participation on leadership teams;
Represent the organization externally, acting as liaison to banking and investment advisors;
Provide guidance and leadership in examining new funding opportunities, including government grants/contracts, to further define the Foundation’s business model;
Partner with the President/CEO, EVP and Board to develop and execute Liberty Hill’s strategic plan.
Financials, Budgets & Reporting
Oversee the preparation of monthly financial statements including Statement of Financial Position, Statement of Activities and Budget to Actual Variance;
Prepare quarterly financial reports for the Finance Committee including analysis of major variants and changes to the Foundation’s financial position;
Work with the Investment Committee to review, monitor and analyze investment activity and asset manager performance;
Manage cash flow and investments in accordance with board-approved policies;
Plan, coordinate, and manage the annual budgeting process;
Supervise the maintenance and reconciliation of general ledger accounts;
Manage short-term cash flow and asset investment;
Oversee month-end close process, ensuring accuracy of accounting entries, revenue and expense recognition and proper capitalization of assets;
Oversee long-term financial planning and forecasting.
Controls, Compliance & Audit
Manage the relationship with the outside accounting firm for the annual audit and coordinate all audit activities including preparing schedules and providing requested information to the auditors;
Prepare additional schedules as needed for preparation of the Foundation’s tax return;
Review Form 990 to ensure the accuracy of the agency’s tax return and coordinate the Audit Committee’s review;
Oversee the development and updating of financial policies, procedures and internal controls ensuring appropriate board approval and GAAP compliance;
Assist the Audit Committee in periodically selecting an outside independent auditor;
Oversee risk management and ensure legal compliance for the Foundation.
Oversee administrative functions for the Foundation, ensuring smooth daily operations.
Procure, monitor, and manage the Foundation’s insurance;
Conduct analysis of space needs for lease negotiations and involve the Board as well as Foundation staff as appropriate;
Ensure IT systems are adequate to meet the Foundation’s needs and enhance staff effectiveness.
Staff Management & Development
Attract, retain, and motivate high-performing staff;
Demonstrate leadership and provide supervision necessary to motivate staff to carry out Liberty Hill Foundation’s mission;
Provide regular feedback to staff as well as accept feedback and suggestions from team;
Train, coach and develop staff to ensure full utilization of skills and promotional opportunities.
Relative to the size of its $6.5 million annual operating budget, Liberty Hill’s financials are quite complex. The Foundation currently manages and provides reporting for 60 donor advised funds. The CFO supervises the outside investment managers to ensure the $4 million in donor funds as well as the Foundation’s $5.2 million endowment are invested in accordance with the donors’ investment objectives and Liberty Hill’s social justice values. Additionally, the Foundation’s operating income includes roughly 50 foundation grants and 20 restricted individual gifts, each of which has its own budget, reporting and expense allocation requirements.
To meet the demands of a financially complex organization, the successful candidate will bring the following:
At least seven years’ progressively responsible accounting experience, preferably with a nonprofit organization, ideally with a foundation that both makes and receives grants;
At least 3 years’ experience in a leadership role;
Exceptional fund accounting and financial management skills;
Awareness of financial management and investment strategies for non-profit organizations;
Demonstrated excellence in managing finance, accounting, budgeting, controls and reporting, ideally in the nonprofit sector;
Expertise assessing, refining, developing and recommending financial policies/procedures and systems;
Government grant accounting experience would be a plus;
Computer proficiency in Windows operating systems and with MS Office software, including Word and Excel is required;
The ability to operate Internet applications and email as well as external vendors’ and proprietary software programs is essential;
Knowledge of databases and computerized financial accounting systems ideally experience with Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge and Financial Edge platforms;
Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Finance or Business Administration from an accredited college or university is required; CPAs are preferred, as are candidates with an MBA.
The ideal candidate will be enthusiastic about collaborating with a broadly diverse group of internal and external stakeholders representing an expansive range of experience, perspectives and expression. In addition to sharing a passion for social justice and embracing Liberty Hill’s core values of diversity, equity and inclusion, the successful candidate will be:
Articulate and able to communicate complex financial matters into clear and accessible language;
Able to manage multiple projects and to set realistic and achievable goals and timelines;
Skilled in analyzing data, interpreting results, projecting outcomes and synthesizing solutions;
A team-builder with strong management and leadership skills;
An innovative thinker with creative solutions to improving processes and effectively managing complex budget tracking and expense allocation requirements;
Knowledgeable of Los Angeles County’s communities;
Highly energetic, resourceful and flexible with solid judgment and decision-making skills.
Additional Salary Information: Our client is offering a highly competitive salary commensurate with experience as well as a comprehensive benefits package. Basic relocation expenses are possible for an exceptional candidate.
Internal Number: 450
About Liberty Hill Foundation
McCormack+Kristel is a national provider of executive search consulting services for nonprofit and philanthropic organizations. Established in 1993, as McCormack & Associates, by veteran search consultant Joseph A. McCormack, the firm was among the first national search practices to specialize in diversity recruiting.In 2013, Michelle Kristel joined the firm following a career in nonprofit leadership. The McCormack+Kristel partnership offers clients the complementary benefits of Joe’s seasoned recruiting expertise and Michelle’s nonprofit executive experience. With offices in California and New York, the firm serves a broad spectrum of public health, human services, advocacy and social justice organizations.