Burned by Big Grantee Failure, Robin Hood Foundation to Help Corporate Finance Professionals Enter NP Sector

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July 8, 2015; Bloomberg Business

NPQ has written often about the Robin Hood Foundation, most recently about its relationship with hedge fund wealth. But this story takes another tack. Apparently, some grantees of the Robin Hood Foundation have been having difficulty filling the role of CFO, so the foundation has chosen to address that problem by trying to entice and train for-profit finance professionals to make the shift to full-time senior—presumably CFO—positions at nonprofit organizations.

The program, called LeaderLink, is reportedly a response to the increased complexities in the role that have been brought with increased government and reporting requirements, organizational complexity, and public scrutiny. All we can say is, “No wonder.” As some may recall, Robin Hood was a high-profile donor to FEGS, which went belly up in a pretty showy way earlier this year. In 2014, it gave the group nearly a million dollars to develop “a new, integrated care model to improve health outcomes and reduce poverty among adults and children with mental illness living in New York City.” That could sting.

“The last few years, the high-profile financial problems of some high-profile nonprofits have highlighted the need for a competent financial person in these positions,” said Deborah Miller Sakellarios, a senior management consultant with the foundation.

The expected salaries for the positions they expect to fill range from $125,000 to $175,000 a year and max out at $250,000. That may be out of our league for most of us, but for something on the scale of a FEGS, with its formerly large annual budget of $250 million. Applicants will be required to take a pilot five-session course, including a unit on nonprofit accounting and they will then be matched with a mentor and job search.

We’d love to hear what our colleagues in NYC think about this as a response.—Ruth McCambridge