Detroit, MI

Vice President of Finance and Administration, The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation

The Organization

About The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation:

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation (the “Foundation”) was created by Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. in 2011 and has been funded by the major portion of his estate, which included the Buffalo Bills franchise of the National Football League, following his death in 2014.

Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. believed effective change should make an impact from the start, yet carry long into the future. The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation began operations in 2015 to continue his legacy—one of generosity and innovation, healthy risk taking and collaboration, and an unshakeable community focus.
With a structure that dictates spend-down of funds by 2035, the Foundation matches the urgency that people in need feel every day and focus on collaborative investments.

In the places most beloved by Ralph C. Wilson, Jr., there are pivotal moments demanding immediate action, promises that require the right support to be kept, and individuals and organizations that are already responding to remaining challenges.

The Foundation supports that good work by responding with investments channeled through its four core funding areas. Within each, the Foundation leverages good work already underway in Western New York and Southeast Michigan, collaborating with organizations, communities, and other funders to disrupt the cycle of need immediately—and lay the groundwork for change that lasts.

The 4 key areas of focused investment are:


For kids, the Foundation looks for opportunities beyond K-12 education to provide more pathways to success. Here, the Foundation focuses on strengthening young minds and bodies with early childhood initiatives (0-5); afterschool programs; and youth sports and recreation programs.


Often weighed down by heavy demands and limited resources, working families and young adults can often miss out on career opportunities. The Foundation will invest in skills training and education that can lead to sustainable career pathways and good paying jobs.


The role of caregiver can be rewarding as well as demanding and overwhelming. Here, the Foundation supports and honors those who care for others – whether family members, friends or professionals – through efforts that provide needed skills, resources, education and respite. Early opportunities will focus primarily on those caring for older adults.


To contribute to strong and sustainable communities, we seek opportunities to invest in: parks, trails and green design; nonprofit support and innovation; and entrepreneurship and economic development levers that spur regional growth, innovation and equity.

The Foundation’s Charter and Mission Statement include the following key elements:

  • As directed by Mr. Wilson, the Foundation must spend down its assets by 2035.
  • The Foundation functions a non-operating grant-making private foundation.
  • The Foundation’s available assets are more than $1.2 billion.
  • A significant share of the resources of the Foundation will be focused on the quality of life of the people residing in Southeastern Michigan and Western New York.
  • The Foundation’s office will be relatively lean, reflecting its 20-year life span. The Trustees have implemented an outsourced chief investment officer model for the management of the Foundation’s assets.

The Foundation is headquartered in Detroit, Michigan.

To learn more about the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, please visit its website:

Position Overview

The Opportunity:

Reporting directly to the President and as a member of the Foundation’s senior management team, the Vice President of Finance & Administration (“VP Finance & Administration”) is responsible for all the Foundation’s financial operations, including preparation of all financial analysis, Foundation’s tax return and audited financial statements.

Working in concert with the Foundation’s Finance Committee, s/he is responsible for oversight of investment managers. S/he is also responsible for the grants compliance and management, administration of the Foundation’s pension plan, and administration of the Foundation’s information technology and human resources.

The VP Finance & Administration supervises the Controller and Grants Manager.  Working with staff, specific areas of responsibility include:

Provide daily financial management, monthly reconciliation, and reporting for the Foundation.

  1. Maintain all financial records of the Foundation including:

• General Ledger
• Payroll Register
• Check Register
• Income and Expense Ledger
• Security Ledgers
• Accounting Procedure Manual

2. Work with the Foundation’s payroll service provider to administer payroll and determine all necessary federal, state, and city income tax forms are filed in a timely manner.
3. Prepare monthly and year-end financial statements.
4. Prepare bank reconciliations on a timely basis.
5. Initiate all approved bank fund transfers.
6. Monitor the tax payment requirements and make appropriate payments as needed.
7. Provide all administrative functions related to payroll records, insurance, and vacation records.
8. Administer the Foundation’s pension plan.

Oversight of investment management. Monitor investment management and cash flow needs of the Foundation; be the Foundation’s lead contact with investment managers.

  1. Monitor the compliance of investment managers and custodians with the investment policies of the Foundation.
  2. Monitor the provision of services by the investment managers, custodians, and other agencies that provide investment services to the Foundation.
  3. Work with the Foundation’s investment managers to prepare performance evaluation reports.
  4. Maintain investment gain and loss schedules.
  5. Review and determine the cash flow requirements, taking into account all grant payment commitments and capital purchases.
  6. Prepare quarterly computation of mandatory payout.

Prepare all legal and tax documents concerning the Foundation’s finances and investments and prepare the annual budget.

  1. Prepare operating budget for the Foundation and monitor fiscal spending, reporting variances to President monthly.
  2. Maintain contact with the audit firm and ensure that an efficient and effective audit is accomplished annually.
  3. Keep current all IRS codes and FASB pronouncements as they apply to the Foundation operation and reporting requirements.
  4. Assure compliance with all Federal, State, and City regulations that apply to private foundations.
  5. Work with the audit firm to prepare the Federal annual tax return, 990PF, and file form with the appropriate Federal and State agencies.
  6. Work with pension providers to prepare and file all reporting requirements for the pension plan including Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation Annual Report and IRS Form 5500CR.

Serve as the Foundation’s lead staff resource on financial matters and administration.

  1. Advise President on all financial matters.
  2. Maintain and review Foundation insurance coverage. Meet with insurance agent annually.
  3. Assist in the preparation of the agenda for the Trustee and Committee meetings and facilitate the work of the Finance Committee.
  4. Monitor all expenditure responsibility grants for compliance.
  5. Prepare minutes of Finance Committee meetings.
  6. Prepare special reports or statistics required by the President or the Board of Trustees.
  7. Assist in any special projects relating to the financial operations of the Foundation.
  8. Ensure that all financial policies and procedures established by the Board are adhered to and carried out.
  9. Maintain effective communications with and monitor the quality and efficiency of services by all agencies providing fiscal services to the Foundation.

Serve as the Foundation’s Human Resource and Office Administrator.

  1. Make sure staff is following Personnel Policies and are informed.
  2. Retain and safe guard Foundation’s human resource records – pension and 403(b), long term disability, health insurance, payroll and FSA records.
  3. Keep abreast of best practices as it relates to Foundation’s human resource needs.
  4. Manage daily office operations; ensure office machines are operating effectively and inventory is ordered on a timely basis to meet our needs in achieving success in day to day operations.
  5. Serve as lead contact with building management on pertinent matters.
  6. Under direction from President, administer Vacation/PTO/Sick policies.

Serve as the Foundation’s Information Technology Administrator.

  1. Work with the Foundation’s technology consultant to maintain the computer system and assure that all applications are functioning properly.
  2. Maintain backup planning and response as required.
  3. Serve as point person to troubleshoot staff issues regarding office software, network drives and connection, and office equipment before contacting outside consultant.
  4. Maintain records of computer expenditures and replacement timelines.
  5. Work with Foundation staff to address individual technology needs and develop plans to address those needs.

Grants Management and Compliance.

  1. Work with the Vice President – Programs in assuring that all grantees are in compliance with IRS regulations and the Foundation’s grantmaking policies and procedures.
  2. Work with program staff to provide analysis of grantee financials, audits and 990’s.
  3. Supervise the Grants Manager and assure that all grantee report and evaluation requirements are met.
  4. Maintain appropriate files of grantee required materials.
  5. Oversee and supervise the Trustee Designated Giving Program.
  6. Oversee and supervise the maintenance of data in the grants management software program.
  7. Prepare and maintaining grant commitment schedules.

Candidate Profile:

The ideal candidate will have the following professional and personal qualities, skills and characteristics:

A Strategic Leader who Executes for Results

The VP Finance & Administration is a strategic, tactical and results-oriented leader with the ability to translate the Foundation’s strategic goals into clear objectives and plans. The VP Finance & Administration will be an architect and a builder with the ability to set priorities decisively, delegate responsibilities, allocate resources and establish accountability across the organization to ensure results. The VP Finance & Administration brings experience converting strategy into effective execution, offering creative, practical ideas to achieve the Foundation’s strategic direction. The ability to leverage the expertise of the staff and Trustees and hone the organizational systems and processes will be key for success. S/he will understand and approach complexities with ease and be able to creatively overcome obstacles to achieve the organization’s goals.

Finance Expertise & Business Acumen

The VP Finance & Administration will have experience running a 21st century financial department, allowing the senior leadership and Trustees to be assured that the Foundation’s financial oversight is of the highest caliber. S/he must demonstrate a high level of intellectual horsepower and a curious, collaborative, strategic mindset. S/he must be able to ‘deep dive’ into the details of the business aspects of the institution while staying focused on the big picture. S/he is able to conceptualize and analyze both problems and solutions in a constructive, collaborative manner geared towards helping the entire organization improve performance. The VP Finance & Administration understands the climate of philanthropy and the challenges with regards to regulatory, legal, compliance and other related areas. S/he must possess unquestioned integrity, ethics and values; a leader who can be trusted without reservation.

Building Relationships and Using Influence

The VP Finance & Administration must establish rapport and cultivate relationships across all levels of the organization and empower a diverse staff and external constituents to deliver results. This includes Foundation staff, Trustees and a broad range of external constituents. It is imperative that s/he foster an atmosphere of collaboration and partnership across the organization. S/he will understand the need to learn the history and culture of the Foundation before making recommendations. S/he offers creative, yet practical ideas to achieve the strategic direction of the Foundation, doing so with a deep understanding and commitment to the traditions and nuances of the organization. A leader that exudes an ‘executive presence’, s/he must be highly articulate and a deft communicator who is able to convey the Foundation’s successes and opportunities with passion and intensity in written and verbal formats in both formal and informal situations. This individual will foster trust and collaboration among team members and will possess the ability to manage through change with flexibility and poise.

A Passion for the Mission and a Cultural Fit with the Foundation’s Values

The VP Finance & Administration is a leader who shares the values of Mr. Wilson and will uphold his legacy impeccably. With the spend-down nature of the Foundation and the focus on outcomes, this will be a leader who will actively assess and adopt strategies and approaches to achieve the Foundation’s goal of maximum impact and honor Mr. Wilson’s qualities as an entrepreneur and risk-taker. Entrusted with overseeing the financial and operational health of the Foundation, s/he will have a deep sense of appreciation for the responsibility and honor of having been selected to this role and to have the opportunity to fundamentally impact the lives of so many.

How To Apply

Koya Leadership Partners, a national retained executive search firm that works exclusively with mission-driven organizations, has been retained for this search.  Anne B. McCarthy and Alison P. Ranney are leading the search. To express your interest in this role please email Anne and Alison directly at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

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