Organizational Overview: The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law brings together lawyers, community leaders and allies from across the country as the nation’s leading advocate for people living in poverty. We work toward a future where people living in poverty have income security, equal opportunity, and a voice in what happens in their communities.
The Shriver Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a staff of 50 based primarily in Chicago. In 2017 the Shriver Center marked its 50th Anniversary. In the past few years, the Shriver Center’s operational budget has increased significantly, from $4.3 million in 2014 to its $7.5 million in 2018. Accompanying this growth, the Shriver Center’s focus has expanded the scope and reach of its work, attaining increasing national prominence. In 2017 the Shriver Center adopted a strategic plan focused on growth and organizational excellence.
Commitment to Race Equity: We put race front and center in our work. We recognize that inclusion of diverse voices, perspectives, and experiences is essential to understanding and addressing complex issues in our advocacy and within our organization. To that end, we focus on issues that deeply affect the lives and social mobility of people living in poverty: economic justice, housing justice, health care justice, and community justice. We lead, equip, and mobilize multi-state networks to advance an anti-poverty and racial justice agenda. Through training and leadership development programs designed to foster innovation and collaboration, we strengthen core competencies of advocates across the country.
Position Overview: The Shriver Center is seeking a Chief Finance & Operations Officer to serve in an expanded role as we move into our next chapter of excellence. The leader will oversee the operational and financial needs of the Shriver Center, as well as the planning and implementation of strategies and internal processes, including a comprehensive race equity action plan. This is a unique opportunity for an executive with strong strategic, operational, and financial leadership skills to deeply impact a leading anti-poverty advocacy institution that has experienced successful growth. Reporting to the President, this executive will serve as a key member of a strong senior leadership team and have overarching responsibilities as an innovator over our strategy, culture, operations, and financial management. The Chief Finance & Operations Officer will partner closely with the Vice Presidents of Advocacy, Advocate Resources and Training, Communications, and Development to ensure all areas of the Shriver Center are aligned for success.
Strategic leadership: This officer will spearhead the organization's strategic direction by leading and pacing the implementation of the organization's strategic plan, and by assuming charge of annual planning in line with the strategic plan.
Organizational structure and change management: This officer will lead planning to assure healthy investment in staff development, process improvements and performance enhancements. This officer will also assure that we continue appropriate alignment of organizational structure, internal controls and processes matched to growth and change.
Race equity action plan: To be an effective anti-poverty organization, we must equip our advocates and leaders to address the link between race and poverty, and to thrive in a culture that is internally aligned to support this work. As a strategic thought leader on organizational matters, the Chief Finance & Operations Officer will be responsible for oversight and implementation of our race equity action plan, currently under development, to be implemented as an integral, hardwired aspect of our ongoing organizational culture.
Operations leadership: The Chief Finance & Operations Officer currently has a staff that includes the Technology Systems Manager, the Controller, the Human Resources Administrator and additional operations staff, and will be responsible for the strategic and tactical management of these areas. This leader will ensure that all business and support areas are properly coordinated with programmatic areas, and will direct policies and procedures relative to operations.
Finance leadership: This officer will have responsibility for planning, implementing, managing, and controlling the financial activities at the Shriver Center. This executive uses strong financial management skills to assure timely financial reporting, assume leadership of the annual budget process, oversee the audit process, assure financial control and compliance, and advise on financial strategy and investments.
Developing a strong, effective partnership with the President that ensures strategic, anticipatory management of the finance and operations functions.
In consultation with the President and Senior Management Team, forging and implementing the organization’s long and short range strategic planning efforts to develop multi-year budgets, evaluating progress of organizational activity against established goals and relevant benchmarks, and ensuring plans are revised and updated as necessary to respond to external circumstances.
Working with senior leadership and guiding them and their teams to participate in multi-year planning and goal-setting across all program areas to achieve desired results and support the organization’s strategic and mission-related objectives.
Supporting the board, and in particular its treasurer, to facilitate the board’s financial oversight of the organization.
Interfacing with the board’s Audit, Finance, Investment and Personnel Committees.
Assuming responsibility for implementation and constant improvement of the organization’s internal race equity action plan, in conjunction with a staff committee and in coordination with related board activities.
Working to support and enhance human capital management efforts around staffing, training and overall organizational culture.
Proactively developing a best-practice understanding of legal and policy advocacy to fight poverty and promote racial justice and of how the organization’s finances and operations can best be aligned to achieve successful outcomes and maximum impact, ensuring that the Shriver Center’s allocation of resources is consistent with its values and realizes the race equity plan.
Optimizing technology across the organization to enhance and streamline workflow and identifying technological solutions to automate and/or improve finance and accounting functions.
Serving as a strategic partner to the VP of Development to interpret fundraising strategies and short and long-term goals into operation and program expenditure budgets as well as collaborating on reforecasting and refining multi-year philanthropic revenue projections.
Partnering with the VP of Communications to assure messaging that is aligned with strategic intent.
Stewarding the full range of finance-related functions, including the annual budget, endowment, audit, treasury, risk management, investments, operating and strategic reserves, compliance, internal controls, debt, and related relationships with financial institutions.
Instituting rigorous, best-practice processes in budgeting and financial planning and analysis, cost management, program improvement, metrics and/or policy changes. In doing so, creating greater integration and collection of data and leading a cross-departmental team in understanding how data can be used strategically to meet programmatic and revenue goals.
Ensuring that all finance and operational aspects of the Shriver Center are in alignment with overall objectives and reflect the institution’s core values; setting high standards for integrity, accuracy, productivity, professionalism and cooperation in the workplace, reflective of the race equity action plan.
The ideal candidate possesses the following professional and personal qualities, skills and characteristics:
Operations Acumen and Finance Expertise The Chief Finance & Operations Officer will be a strategic, visionary and creative operations and finance leader with the tactical ability to “deep dive” into the details with strong quantitative and analytical skills. This officer is able to transition seamlessly between the “big picture” and details. This leader will possess a high level of intellectual horsepower with a collaborative, creative and service-oriented mindset. The ideal candidate will bring deep experience running a 21st century finance department and the ability and confidence to ensure that the Shriver Center’s financial oversight is of the highest caliber. This officer must have proven experience in budgeting, strategic forecasting and planning, and in overseeing accounting, financial reporting, compliance and risk management of a complex organization. This officer will be skilled at presenting financial information in a clear, confident fashion to a range of constituents with varying levels of expertise.
Ability to Execute for Results The Chief Finance & Operations Officer will have the skills to provide leadership and innovative thinking for a new institutional chapter following a period of significant growth. As a strategic partner to the President and Senior Management Team, this officer will conceptualize and analyze problems and solutions in a proactive, constructive, creative manner that will result in improved performance across the organization. A sound problem solver with excellent reasoning skills, this executive has the ability to understand and deal with complexities with ease and creatively overcome obstacles to achieve goals. This officer will execute for results with a high degree of responsiveness and motivation.
Values-based Leadership The Chief Finance & Operations Officer will have the knowledge and experience to help assure alignment of our work with our core value of race equity, and will be able to facilitate the growth of our teams to effectively address race and poverty, internally and externally. This leader will lead through influence and build rapport across the organization, modeling the capacity to manage effectively across lines of race, ethnicity, age, experience, positional power, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation.
A Passion for the Mission The Chief Finance & Operations Officer will bring a passion for the mission of the Shriver Center. This is a leader who understands, and embraces, that operations and finance functions of an advocacy organization are dedicated to serving the overall mission of the institution to use the law and policy to advance the cause of equal justice and to improve quality of life and opportunity for people living in poverty. Sensitive to the Shriver Center’s culture, this executive will be committed to effectively leading teams and serving as a strategic partner to support the goals of the organization. This individual will bring a deep appreciation for the business challenges that nonprofits face and an excitement to be part of a team that is focused on identifying creative and strategic solutions to help the Shriver Center thrive.
A working knowledge of 501c(3) structure and operations is preferred. An advanced degree such as an MBA would be ideal.
About Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. We put race front and center in our work. We recognize that inclusion of diverse voices, perspectives, and experiences is essential to understanding and addressing complex issues in our advocacy and within our organization. To that end, we focus on issues that deeply affect the lives and social mobility of people living in poverty: economic justice, housing justice, health care justice, and community justice. We lead, equip, and mobilize multi-state networks to advance an anti-poverty and racial justice agenda. Through training and leadership development programs designed to foster innovation and collaboration, we strengthen core competencies of advocates across the country.