Full-Time Chief Financial Officer
CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
REPORTING TO: President & CEO
DIRECT REPORTS: Accounting Manager; Voucher & Contracts
LOCATION: Chicago, IL
Founded in 1906, Christopher House has continually evolved to meet the needs of Chicago’s low-income population. With a budget of nearly $19 million and a staff over 200, Christopher House is a family of schools that helps families in low-income communities succeed in school, the workplace, and life. Through their unique and innovative approach, Christopher House helps to effectively close the opportunity gap through a continuum of personalized education with immersive family support, starting at birth. Christopher House operates accredited early learning, elementary and out-of-school time programs grounded in research-based curricula and high-quality instruction. Christopher House also operates centers on the North and West sides of Chicago, in the Belmont Cragin, Logan Square and Uptown neighborhoods. The organization works with families to help them reach their full potential by:
Providing high-quality education to children and their families through Christopher House’s Family of Schools, which include:
• Christopher House Infant & Preschool: Prepares children, ages 6-weeks to 5 years-old, for school, stimulates cognitive growth and develops emotional intelligence.
• Christopher House Elementary School: Builds educational continuity from preschool through elementary school and empowers achievement and perseverance in all students.
• Christopher House After School: Promotes students to develop healthy behaviors, explore new opportunities, achieve academic excellence, and succeed in post-secondary education. For K-5 students, Christopher House offers after-school, and Youth Leadership for grades 6 -12.
• Christopher House Parent School: Offers education and support to help parents provide a safe, self-sufficient, and nurturing home environment conducive to educational success.
Partnering with parents from pregnancy to high school, providing the tools and resources to foster a stable, self-sufficient family. This includes offering counseling, workshops, and family advocate programs to work with families to break the cycle of poverty. Additionally, families can make use of the Christopher House pantry, a robust slate of holiday programs, and their emergency fund for families, among other crisis services.
Using data to inform best practices and offer the highest-level of education and services to the nearly 4,000 children and families they serve. This includes the oversight of the Chicago Benchmarking Collaborative, started in 2009, which acts as an alliance of seven education and human service agencies that collectively work with more than 12,000 low-income individuals throughout some of Chicago’s most underserved neighborhoods.
Over the years, Christopher House has been an innovative leader serving children, families, and communities. In 2013, with the addition of its elementary school in the Belmont Cragin community, Christopher House did much more than add a K-8 school to their portfolio of services; they reimagined what a scholar’s journey could look like if they integrated early childhood education, elementary education, and immersive family services. Today, Christopher House has achieved a model of collaboration enabling four schools—Infant and Preschool, Elementary School, After School, and Parent School—to do much more together than any one school could accomplish alone.
Christopher House is committed to providing educational opportunities and a staff culture that supports diversity, equity, belonging and inclusion. We are evolving in this work and are looking for a leader who is ready to help us achieve our goals around diversity, equity and inclusion which are a primary focus of our current strategic plan.
From kindergarten readiness scores to elementary school reading proficiency, Christopher House scholars are outperforming their peers at all key checkpoints. Their commitment to social and emotional development also ensures students develop into healthy adults. Their success demonstrates real solutions that close the opportunity gap. These solutions require additional investment of time and resources to create a more equitable education system in Chicago and across the country.
SCOPE OF RESPONSIBILITIES
With great programmatic impact and financial strength, the organization seeks their next Chief Financial Officer, to play an integral role in the management and stewardship of Christopher House’s financial resources.
After almost five years of service to Christopher House, the current Chief Financial Officer will be retiring. Reporting to the CEO, the incoming CFO will assume a strategic role in the overall management of the organization and primary day-to-day responsibility for planning, implementing, managing, and controlling all finance-related matters.
Christopher House seeks a leader with the wherewithal to operate within a complex finance management framework, and experience working with multiple government contracts is essential as 80% of the organization’s revenue is sourced from that channel. Adaptability within the dynamic landscape of nonprofit funding coupled with foresight and strategic financial planning that situates the organization for long-term financial health has been its approach to fiscal viability. A collaborative spirit balanced with an effective and autonomous decision-making style is highly valued in communicating with the board, the CEO, and fellow management team members. To effectively support the CEO, the CFO will need to be astute and able to fully maximize growth opportunities, clearly identifying the most impactful levers that translate into the organization exceeding its goals.
Key responsibilities for the CFO include:
• Serve as a member of the senior management team and provide strategic recommendations to the CEO based on financial analysis, projections, cost identification, allocation, and revenue/expense analysis while continuously developing and improving systems.
• Oversee long-term budgetary planning and cost management.
• Engage the board’s finance committee around related issues, trends, and changes in the organization’s finances and operational delivery.
• Facilitate cross-department collaboration with management team to ensure financial solutions support Christopher House’s strategy.
• Ensure financial decisions reflect Christopher House’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. In partnership with HR, identify and problem solve opportunities to increase equity of financial decisions, including more equitable pay structures.
• Manage regulatory and bank reporting, maintaining banking relationships and the development of internal control policies and procedures.
• Oversee budgeting and monitor progress and present operational metrics both internally and externally.
• Maintain internal controls and safeguards for receivables, costs and program budgets and actual expenditures.
• Ensure finance staff maintain financial record systems in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and monitor the use of all funds.
• Consistently analyze financial data and present financial reports accurately and timely; clearly communicate monthly, quarterly, and annual financial statements; monitor progress and changes, while updating the CEO and board on Christopher House’s financial status.
• Assist the management team in the annual budgeting and planning process; administer and review all financial plans and compare to actuals with a view to identify, substantiate, and correct variances as appropriate.
• Oversee all financial, project/program and grants accounting; ensure expenditures are aligned with grant and program budgets throughout the grant/fund period; collate financial reporting materials for government, corporate, and foundation grants opportunities.
• Manage and track the performance of invested assets consistent with policies and investment guidelines.
• Oversee the preparation and approval of all contractual and financial reporting materials and metrics for funding organizations and board of directors; prepare and communicate monthly and annual financial statements.
• Manage cash flow and forecasting & coordinate all audit activities.
• Review and approve preparation and finalization of monthly and annual financial reporting materials and metrics to the finance committee and board of directors.
• Review all formal finance procedures, processes, and administration, recommending improvements to existing systems, managing them thereafter.
• Support, develop and supervise Christopher House’s five-person finance team.
• Work collaboratively to integrate services with all departments and as a member of the management team, participate in overall agency planning and administration.
• Assist Program Directors in meeting their program specific budget goals and planning future financial activities.
• Hire and supervising fiscal and eligibility staff leveraging team member’s strengths, while clarifying roles and responsibilities.
• Identify relevant training programs to develop team’s individual performance and organizational goals.
• Actively seek to align programs with related best practices or standards for high quality.
• Analyze data with team members to determine explanatory information related to process improvement measures.
• Propose recommendations for improving quality of services and/or department’s outcomes system; ensure successful implementation of agreed-to action plans.
• Use outcome findings to enhance the organizations public image and promote programs to families, volunteers, funders, and stakeholders.
• Proficiency with government grants and with the ability to navigate multiple funding streams.
• Strong knowledge of Head Start and Early Head Start financial process and compliance.
• Strong financial forecasting and modeling abilities.
• Knowledge of the complexities of the city of Chicago, its political frame, and implications to the Christopher House’s viability.
• Alignment with the organization’s mission, vision, and core values.
• An innovative and entrepreneurial mindset, an eye for healthy diversification of revenue streams.
• An inclusive mindset; facilitating and encouraging open dialogue with colleagues.
• A warm, clear and direct communication style.
KEY SELECTION CRITERIA
• 10+ years of relevant professional experience with increasing responsibility.
• A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance; graduate degree preferred.
• Eight plus years of accounting and finance experience, ideally in a complex nonprofit with multiple programs.
• Effective communication, team building, influence, change management abilities, as well as compliance and risk management experience.
• Experience working with, supporting, and engaging with non-profit boards.
• Capability to work both strategically and hands-on to deliver results using project/program management and leadership skills.
• Solutions orientation: an ability to adapt to a range of challenges and present creative alternatives.
• A supportive management style that demonstrates initiative, patience, flexibility, sound judgment and collaboration with an interest in developing the skills of staff and colleagues.
PERSONAL / PROFESSIONAL ATTRIBUTES
• Patient, transparent and forthcoming; able to effectively communicate critical issues that impact the organization and programs within.
• Agile and the able to navigate ambiguity within a dynamic environment.
• Commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in life and work.
• Appreciative of differences and high emotional intelligence with adaptability to a broad range of personalities, temperaments, and audiences.
• Exceptional leadership presence with effective change management abilities.
• A consensus builder able to convene diverse and divergent opinions and shepherd people toward common goals and progress
• Interpersonal sensitivity and an awareness of the range of societal and community related issues.
• Integrity, loyalty and the desire to hold himself/herself and others to the highest professional standards.
• High EQ, maturity, with an ability to understand and operate thoughtfully with the culture of the organization.
How to ApplyPlease direct all applications, nominations, and inquiries to DHR International via christopherhouseCFO@dhrinternational.com
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