Houston, TX

Controller, The Powell Foundation

The Organization


The Powell Foundation is a private, family foundation that strives to be a catalyst for impactful initiatives that enhance the quality of life in the communities it serves. The Foundation prioritizes funding organizations that serve residents in Harris, Travis, and Walker Counties, principally in the fields of public education, the arts, conservation, and human services. A primary focus of the Foundation is ensuring that all children have access to a robust, first-class public education and the support needed to develop to their full potential. The Foundation is incorporated in Texas and governed by a board of eleven directors comprised of two generations of the Powell family and three independent directors. It is served by a small staff located in Houston.


The Powell Foundation seeks an experienced leader to serve as the Controller that will have oversight of all financial activities and reporting for the Foundation. The position requires knowledge of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), effective communication skills, exceptional organizational and problem solving skills, the ability to work independently, and flexibility to adapt to change. The Controller must maintain professional relationships with internal staff and also maintain relationships with board, committee members, vendors, grantees and other stakeholders. The Controller will be responsible for the financial systems, records, and controls for a Foundation with over $350MM in assets with yearly distributions of more than $15 million per year. The ideal candidate is a proactive, hands-on, strategic thinker.  The position reports to the Executive Director.


The Controller’s role includes the following:

Financial Management, Accounting, and Administration

  • Develop annual grants and operating budgets, and provide ongoing fiscal and budgetary management; guides the annual budgeting and financial planning process.
  • Manage all accounting activities; ensure expenditures comply with internal controls and are consistently aligned with general operating and program budgets.
  • Prepare, review, and report monthly, quarterly, and annual financial results and accompanying analyses for internal and external stakeholders; clearly and proactively communicate changes to keep key stakeholders apprised of the Foundation’s financial status. Prepare ad hoc financial reporting and data analysis as requested.
  • Ensure compliance with appropriate GAAP standards and regulatory requirements.
  • Forecast cash flow, continuously collaborating with the Executive Director to assess the financial efficacy of the Foundation’s operations; establish finance and administrative systems to support program operations.
  • Serve as liaison to the Finance Committee and Investment Committee, providing high quality, relevant materials for meetings. Prepare and distribute pre- and post- committee meeting materials including agendas, documents, minutes, etc.
  • In partnership with the Executive Director, Investment Committee Chair, and Finance Committee Chair, manage relationships with external financial and investment advisors, as well as other external vendors.

Legal and Regulatory Compliance; Risk Management

  • Ensure timely and accurate preparation and filing of the IRS Form 990 PF, acting as a liaison to the tax preparation and accounting firm; ensure timely payment of quarterly estimated taxes.
  • Ensure fiscal and programmatic compliance across the organization, effective internal controls, and the effective monitoring results.
  • Ensure financial aspects of grant processing and other components of the Foundation meet IRS guidelines for foundations.  Ensure the timely disbursement of grant payments.
  • Ensure proper insurance policy management, including adequate coverage, renewals, and financial considerations; conduct analysis and review annual insurance and recommend changes as needed; organize and maintain Foundation insurance records and policies.
  • Research and implement accounting and tax best practices for nonprofits; maintain current professional knowledge on accounting, legal, tax and regulatory matters, as relevant to foundations and advise the Executive Director on such topics.

Strategic Leadership

  • Guide long-term budgetary planning and cost management in alignment with strategic plan.
  • Help assess the Foundation’s financial performance against both annual budget and strategy.
  • Assist in the development of metrics for reporting on financial and operational performance.
  • Develop tools and systems to provide critical financial and operational information to the Executive Director and make actionable recommendations on both strategy and operations.

Internal Operations and Organizational Effectiveness

  • Contribute to the continued development of a supportive and collaborative work environment through the active and enthusiastic participation in cross-team initiatives.
  • Work with the Executive Director as a resource for all operational issues; coordinate key aspects of the Foundation’s operations including facilities and technology. Support the development of the systems, strategy and infrastructure of IT for the office, including managing relationships with technology vendors and consultants.
  • Maintain well-documented finance and operations processes and procedures, identify opportunities for procedure efficiencies. Design and implement improvements to operational policies and procedures and train staff on new processes.
  • Support the review of grant applications (as needed) by analyzing non-profit tax returns and budgets.
  • Lead other projects at the request of the Executive Director; participate in and execute other Foundation duties as assigned to support the team and organization.


The successful candidate for the Controller position will be an experienced professional with a minimum of seven years of accounting and/or finance experience.  Experience in the non-profit sector is a plus. Specific requirements include:

  • At least 7 years of accounting and finance experience
  • A minimum of a BA/BS and a CPA.; a masters degree in accountancy (or relevant graduate degree) preferred
  • Strong integrity, credibility, and commitment to the Powell Foundation’s Mission
  • Demonstrated research and analytical skills and ability to prepare reporting materials that drive actions; keen analytical and problem solving skills which allows for strategic data interpretation and recommendations versus simple reporting
  • Advanced knowledge of accounting software, including QuickBooks; demonstrates ease in adopting new technologies to optimize productivity
  • Solid experience coordinating attest activities and managing reporting, budget development and analysis, accounts payable and receivable, general ledger, payroll, and accounting for investments
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills; ability and desire to translate complex financial concepts to individuals at all levels including finance and non-finance managers
  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills and strong listening skills; experience and comfort in communicating with all levels within an organization
  • Strong project management skills and excellent attention to detail
  • Ability to be responsive and accessible to requests for support and guidance, particularly around financial matters
  • Leverages proactive approaches to problem-solving and strong decision-making capability; forward looking thinker, who actively seeks opportunities and proposes solutions
  • Collaborative and team player who strives to understand others and deliver excellent customer service to all stakeholders
  • Exceptional professional maturity, judgment, integrity and trustworthiness in all actions, including ability to maintain confidentiality and exercise discretion with sensitive information
  • Self-awareness and growth mindset; commitment to being a lifelong learner and giving and receiving professional feedback in the spirit of growth and improved performance
  • Comfortable working in a small office environment


Interested candidates should apply here. Letters of interest and resumes will be received until May 28, 2021.

Salary will be set in accordance with the successful candidate’s experience.  A comprehensive benefits package, including health and dental benefits, generous paid-time-off (PTO), a retirement savings plan, and an annual professional development stipend, is offered to all full-time employees.  The position is located in Houston, Texas.

We will contact those candidates who most closely match the requirements. We thank you in advance for your interest.

The Powell Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Applicants and employees are treated without regard to such factors as race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, veteran status, or any other reason prohibited by law.

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