Chief Finance & Operations Officer, Council of Michigan Foundations

CMF was founded in 1975 and was the second regional association of grant makers established in the United States. Born out of the opportunity to influence relevant state and federal tax policy following the historic tax hearings of 1969, CMF has continued to lead the sector, both in Michigan and the nation, in advancing the potential impact of its philanthropic partners.

Since its founding, CMF has been a strong advocate and leader for the philanthropic sector in both Lansing and Washington, DC. In the 1990s, the organization helped establish the first state-legislated charitable tax credit for gifts to community foundation endowments and facilitated the creation of a network of community foundations covering all 83 counties in the state. Simultaneously, CMF led efforts to build capacity in the next generation of philanthropists by supporting the development of endowed youth funds, overseen by committees of high school students, in each of these community foundations. Building on this initial work, and with the support of partners like Learning to Give, CMF has become a national and international resource for philanthropic organizations who are seeking to grow the influence and potential impact of youth in philanthropy. CMF is leading on other efforts including important policy efforts in the area of education by hosting a statewide initiative, Launch Michigan, a multi-sector parternship focused on structural reforms on our state’s education system.

These and many other successes have helped to build and advance a strong culture of public-private partnerships within Michigan, resulting in more than 25 initiatives and collaborations. With a strong legacy of success in leading the sector both regionally and nationally, the organization is well positioned to continue to convene, guide, and represent Michigan’s philanthropic community as they seek to deepen and expand their impact.

CMF is now in the midst of organizational change, engaged in transforming its strategic direction, renewing its relevance, deepening its engagement with members and increasing its impact on the sector. As the organization approaches the 50th anniversary of its founding, CMF is taking the time to reflect on and redefine what it means to be a leader for the community of philanthropy and for Michigan, with an eye toward the future. This work has begun with strategic planning to position the organization for strengthened leadership in the field of philanthropy. By October 2020 a new strategic framework will be developed that identifies three to four core priorities, each with a set of clear, actionable objectives. The CFOO will engage in efforts to develop tactics and implementation plans to inform the following year’s budget.

To facilitate organizational realignment, CMF is shifting its business model to strengthen its position with unrestricted revenues for long-term sustainability and improved operation of core services to members. Other aspects of the new business model include growth in revenue from operations and member services.  Also planned is a comprehensive restructuring of CMF’s geographic footprint, talent agenda, and overall policies to support CMF values and aspirations as a 21st century organization.

In this current environment, more than ever before, CMF is positioning itself to respond in bold and innovative ways. In addition to being responsive, it will anticipate what’s on the horizon and intentionally drive change. The new CFOO will be a central player in leading these elements of the work in close partnership with the CEO and CMF leadership team.

More information about the Council of Michigan Foundations may be found at:

The Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF), Michigan’s leading resource for philanthropy, seeks nominations and applications for the position of Chief Finance & Operations Officer (CFOO).  Stewarding finance, operations and investments, the CFOO will report directly to the CEO and serve as an important senior leader in a dynamic, evolving leadership organization.

Over the next few years, CMF will advance a new vision that will change the way CMF engages and supports Michigan’s philanthropic community.  The next chapter will include an updated business model, a new organizational footprint, a modern talent agenda, and new policies that support CMF’s values and aspirations as a 21st century leadership organization.  The CFOO will play a critical role in the success of this transformation of one of the nation’s leading philanthropy-serving organizations.

The CFOO will be a strategic and innovative thinker who understands the complexities of a membership organization serving the philanthropic sector.  They will partner closely with the CEO and provide support to the board finance and investment committees in the strategic stewardship of the organization.  The CFOO will lead and work closely with a group of seasoned directors responsible for finance, grants and information management, reception and facilities, information technology, membership administration, and talent and culture to adapt CMF’s internal systems for impact, agility, and sustainability.  Leadership experience, transparency, and emotional intelligence in collaborating with internal and external stakeholders are crucial along with the ability to inspire and manage high-performing teams.  The CFOO will embrace and help to advance CMF’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and foster a culture of curiosity, innovation, excellence, and purpose in a time of transformation.

This search is being conducted by NPAG.  Application instructions can be found at the end of this document.


Working closely with the President and CMF Leadership Team, the CFOO will advance the overall CMF strategies and goals.  The CFOO can expect to engage with the following opportunities and challenges:

Support the CEO, Board, and Leadership Team in Strategic Leadership

  • Ensure strong and clear communication and engagement with the CEO about the status of the organization’s business functions, resource development, and support of CMF trustees engaged in audit, finance and investment responsibilities.
  • Serve as a key leader and information guide to support the CEO and CMF Leadership Team in robust ways including analysis of data and suggested action steps for efficiencies, reforms and operational innovations.
  • Serve as an ambassador for the organization’s work and advisor to CMF members and the broader philanthropic community on financial and operational excellence.

Lead Day-to-Day Operations and Administrative Activities with an Eye Toward Continuous Improvement

  • Oversee Operations, Talent Development and Human Resources, Finance and Investments, Data Systems and IT in a manner consistent with CMF’s mission and values.
  • Identify and implement new and sustainable approaches to streamline and optimize systems that will improve CMF operations and serve members’ needs.
  • Create talent development systems that recruit, develop and retain the best talent in the field.

Operationalize New Strategic Directions and Business Strategies

  • Bring a broad organizational perspective and develop an entrepreneurial approach to the business model that includes a new “revenue development” beyond dues, projects and sponsorships while examining high demand special projects needed to maintain the core operations.
  • Partner with the CEO to assess risks, note opportunities for expansion, set overall goals and metrics, and propose programs or systems to move CMF’s strategies forward.

Manage and Sustain Financial Systems

  • Manage CMF’s sophisticated finances, from revenue generation, investment strategies, resource development, resource allocation, to cost management.
  • Work with the Board, CMF Leadership Team and CEO to actively predict, plan, and address short- and long-term cash requirements and create budgets in coordination with department leaders and other executives.
  • Deepen the organization’s enterprise development and business model analysis of CMF’s finances to position the organization for long-term growth and sustainability.

Manage Multi-Campus Operations to Support Strategic Performance

  • Embrace the “power of place” to increase the effectiveness of the organization and CMF team members and promote relationship building and collaboration in communities where members lead and engage.
  • Examine office configurations to ensure effective alignment of geographic office locations with CMF’s current work, including the opening of a Lansing office, continuing its Grand Rapids office, and relocating CMF’s Detroit presence.

Evaluate and Maintain Policies for Sustained Organizational Effectiveness

  • Continually analyze, evaluate and recommend administrative policies in alignment with changing organizational needs and compliance regulations using a thorough, consultative decision-making process in close partnership with the CMF Leadership Team and CMF employees broadly.

CMF’s significant transformation process involves every area of the organization.  Along with deep financial and operational acumen, the successful candidate will also be a strategist and an innovator who understands the complexities of a membership organization that supports philanthropy.  While no one candidate will embody all the qualifications enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:

  • Innovative leader with proven track record of effective, transparent and engaging leadership in a dynamic, complex organization;
  • Strong skills and experience in finance, accounting, and investment monitoring and controls;
  • Experience with nonprofit finances and customer focused portfolios preferred;
  • Demonstrated ability to drive institutional goals and aspirations;
  • Entrepreneurial mindset and analytical, problem solving abilities;
  • Experience managing complex operations in a multi-campus environment;
  • Excellent communicator with demonstrated written, verbal and interpersonal skills;Customer service mindset and demonstrated ability to communicate, influence and develop meaningful relationships with stakeholders;
  • Understanding of philanthropy (grant makers and donors) and the nonprofit sector and their unique business models;
  • Knowledge of Michigan philanthropy, the values of the field, and CMF’s role in adancing them preferred;
  • Strong organizational skills;
  • Strong collaboration and facilitation skills;
  • Ability to steward a talent agenda that ensures CMF can attract and retain the top talent in the field; and
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and the desire to advance equity in the work of the organization.
How To Apply: 

This search is being conducted with assistance from Linh Nguyen, Katherine Jacobs, and Vanita Bhargava of NPAG.  Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

Applications, including a cover letter describing your interest and qualifications, your resume (in PDF or Word format) and where you learned of the position, should be submitted to: [email protected].  In order to expedite the internal sorting and reviewing process, please type your name (Last, First) as the only contents in the subject line of your e-mail.

Hiring Organization: 
Council of Michigan Foundations
Chief Finance & Operations Officer
City and State: 
Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, MI

The Council of Michigan Foundations recognizes the incredible benefits of a diverse and inclusive team and is an Equal Opportunity Employer.  Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.