Rural Innovation Strategies, Inc. (RISI) and its sister organization the Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) work together as a fast-growing action-tank focused on closing the rural opportunity gap. Our mission is broad and ambitious: advancing economic prosperity in rural America through the creation of scalable entrepreneurship and tech job creation in a network of small towns and cities across the country.
We take a systems approach to addressing all aspects of this challenge, including strategy consulting that advances local innovation hubs and broadband infrastructure. With philanthropic resources, we deploy technology job training and placement, and elevate our network communities through film and national press. We also manage a $5 million seed capital investment fund that invests in early stage technology startups.
Since our founding in 2017 with a seed grant from Reid Hoffman (Founder of LinkedIn), we have been on an aggressive growth trajectory that was only accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the past year, we have nearly doubled in size, added new research capacity funded by national foundations and federal agencies, and completed data analytics and geospatial mapping services used by Fortune 100 companies. While based in Vermont, our organizations serve rural communities across the country. Today our Rural Innovation Network is comprised of 18 communities and we are are on a trajectory to grow the Network to 50 communities by the end of 2023.
Recognizing the diversity of rural communities, CORI and RISI have called for transformative action to address the tremendous disparities communities face and are actively working internally and externally to further transformation efforts including ensuring our network communities reflect the diversity of the country. Across the varied challenges, CORI and RISI partner with rural community leaders and employers to build capacity to develop digital economy ecosystems that are truly inclusive.
In this next stage of growth, we are looking for a seasoned and dynamic leader who can design and maintain our financial infrastructure and provide meaningful input into our rapidly evolving organizational strategy. Our next Director of Finance:
- Is excited to design and manage the finances of a mission-driven organization that blends the best of private-sector innovation with social impact values
- Can help us prioritize and evaluate a broad set of new opportunities for revenue generation, joint ventures and mission impact as they arise
- Can ensure RISI and CORI are operating sustainably and effectively against core goals, and in compliance with our legal and tax requirements
- Has the insight and vision to shape RISI and CORI’s future goals and objectives
The Director of Finance will report directly to the Executive Director and will also supervise a staff of one or two junior finance/accounting professionals.
Key ongoing responsibilities:
- Managing the financial operations and day-to-day fiscal health of the organization -- The Director of Finance will be responsible for maintaining/improving the procedures and infrastructure necessary to provide timely financial data across the enterprise. This will include:
- Overseeing accounting processes, finance team, financial software selection, and databases
- Preparing accurate, timely reports on fund balances, cash flow, and other key financial elements for leadership and assisting the executive director on key financial decisions
- Overseeing team budget-to-actuals reviews, including reporting for foundation and federal awards
- Monitoring expenses and flows between various legal entities, including a 501c3, a taxable non-profit, a seed-stage investment fund and multiple real estate LLCs.
- Manage the annual audits, tax returns, and other annual filings across the organization
- Leading business development strategy -- The Director of Finance will work closely with CORI’s team leads to assure that:
- Fundraising and Business Development activities are aligned with strategic priorities
- Staff have needed financial information to communicate to funders and are correctly assessing the cost-benefit of a potential project or grant
- Our various entities are optimized to ensure the greatest impact and can attract all forms of capital to address this critical problem
- Leading annual strategic planning and budgeting process -- The Director of Finance will lead the annual strategic planning process, conducting the workshops, leadership sessions, offsites, and board engagement necessary to construct a set of organizational objectives, execution steps, and measurable results that will enable RISI and CORI to best achieve its mission over the course of the year. Subsequently, the Director of Finance will develop an organizational budget (informed by team-level planning) that will enable the organization to achieve these objectives in a sustainable way.
- Supporting Executive Director in CORI Board of Directors communication and engagement -- The Director of Finance will support the Executive Director in preparing for quarterly board meetings including designing an agenda, creating reports on key strategic and financial topics, maintaining a board dashboard, and engaging board members individually on select topics.
- Managing multidisciplinary projects with strategic importance to RISI and CORI -- Given the wide variety and complexity of RISI and CORI’s various program areas, the Director of Finance will at times be called on to project manage organizational initiatives that cut across multiple teams (e.g., due diligence on a new earned revenue initiative, pilot consulting initiatives, strategic joint ventures, launching a new investment fund as a follow-on to the CORI Innovation Fund, etc).
- 7+ years of experience in finance, management/strategy consulting, accounting, or related field
- Strong preference for individuals with executive leadership experience, especially financial leadership experience for a complex, mission-oriented enterprise.
- CPA preferred, but not required
- Experience with social enterprises that bridge across nonprofit and for profit entities preferred
- Commitment to our mission of returning prosperity to rural places
- Strong financial expertise and analytical skills, especially with preparing financial models and reports across multiple entities
- Capacity to manage a wide set of priorities simultaneously
- Team management experience and an ability to direct and coach colleagues within a non-hierarchical organizational structure
This job description is intended to convey information essential to understanding the scope of the job and the general nature and level of work performed by job holders within this job. However, this job description is not intended to be an exhaustive list of qualifications, skills, efforts, duties, responsibilities or working conditions associated with the position. This job description is general and may evolve over time. The description is subject to periodic updating. At management’s discretion, the employee may be assigned different and/or additional duties or responsibilities.
- Please make sure your application materials are tailored to showcase your ability to succeed in this specific role.
- Cover letters are required. If you are applying via a platform that does not have a cover letter field, please include one in your resume file, otherwise your application will not be considered.
- Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible.
- RISI will manage the application and review process using our Workable platform. Please direct all inquiries through this system. We are unable to respond to phone inquiries at this time.
We are an Equal Opportunity Employer—people of color, people with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. We are committed to a diverse workplace, and to supporting our staff with ongoing career development opportunities. We are interested in your ambitions, personal experiences, great ideas, and passions, and believe that everyone’s unique story and perspective adds value to our organization.