Chief Financial Officer


The Cotsen Family Foundation Incorporated was established by Lloyd E. Cotsen in 1985, as he was continuing to build Neutrogena Corporation. Its main purpose was to pursue philanthropic activities in education and the arts, since Mr. Cotsen was an avid and eclectic collector, while being deeply interested in the study of art, related research, and special publications. Over the course of the past decades, he donated virtually all of his major collections to art institutions and museums across the country and in China. Above all, Mr. Cotsen believed that several of his grade school teachers were fundamentally responsible for his success in life, and he had a strong commitment to honoring and rewarding K-6 teachers in public California schools. His fundamental dedication, reflecting his own formative years where he benefited so greatly from these rare teachers, was to provide to other young students and instructors a mentoring program that would bring already experienced and relatively strong classroom instructors toward excellence and greatness.

Mr. Cotsen founded the ART of TEACHING in 2001 to support the development of the kinds of teachers who change and transform “how you view yourself and the world and thus, help change your future.” To do so, he established a unique professional growth opportunity that emphasizes a strong collaborative relationship between a teacher and a skilled mentor, and ongoing professional development training in effective instructional practices that are research-proven and cutting edge.

Participation in The ART of TEACHING is voluntary, with teachers choosing both to apply to the program, as well as the area of practice in which they wish to focus during their fellowship. Schools and teachers are selected through a process performed over several months that includes on-site interviews and lesson observations conducted by mentor teachers and foundation staff. Participation is open to experienced teachers who have a minimum of two years of successful teaching.

Early in the foundation’s history, only coaching training was provided for mentors. Today, mentors and fellows, in addition to weekly coaching, have the opportunity to extend and enhance their pedagogical and content knowledge through professional development opportunities that are widely admired and emulated. During the 2017-2018 school year, the foundation is offering 53 days of training. Each teacher is expected to attend at least five days of training in his or her area of focus. Training workshops are provided in reading, writing, math, social studies, and the use of primary sources.

Through grants provided to each school district, the foundation funds the salary and benefits costs for the mentor teacher’s participation, as the mentor teacher is taken out of the classroom and focuses entirely on coaching and mentoring the cohort of fellows for the two-year period. The ART of TEACHING also defrays all costs associated with the various training sessions, conferences, monthly team meetings, weekly meetings between mentors and fellows, and the annual graduation celebrations. In addition, the foundation provides a stipend for supplies to each fellow for each year of their cycle. Participants engage in ongoing reflection and collaborative assessment with their mentors to determine growth. They are also videotaped teaching in the fall and spring of each year of their fellowships as part of the ongoing assessment process.

The initial pilot project group that was formed in 2001 consisted of 21 teachers from four schools across three districts. Today, 174 teachers (150 fellows and 24 mentors) in 24 schools from across 11 southern California districts comprise the 2018 ART of TEACHING cohort. The foundation now has more than 1,000 alumni and continues to expand its funding in order to intensify the role that Cotsen mentors and fellows—present and past—play in supporting southern California elementary classroom professional development.

As the alumni cohort has grown, attention has been focused on maintaining their participation and building on the expertise they can offer to current participants by giving back. They are a valuable asset with whom the foundation plans to build a viable and powerful network. An annual fall conference, started in 2005, is attended by hundreds of alumni and a special alumni day is offered during the year featuring a recognized authority in a defined content area. Additionally, the foundation awards alumni grants for conferences, networks, and parent outreach, which exceeded $200,000 for the 2017-2018 school year.

Recognizing the reality that principals establish and maintain conditions at the school site that either enhance or impede teachers’ professional growth, the foundation provides professional development support for administrators to increase their content knowledge in math, literacy development, the art of leading, instructional technology integration, and 21st century learning.

In 2006, Mr. Cotsen’s philanthropic interests in the study of art and related publications spun off from the Cotsen Family Foundation and was established separately as the Cotsen Foundation for Academic Research. This entity was formed to advance learning through the financial support of museum exhibits and basic art research, focusing upon but not completely limited to his own collections. Through annual fellowships and academic grants, this foundation provides support to qualified visiting scholars, students, and museum curators to undertake research projects linked to the collections and then ensure that the results of these studies were accessible to the broader academic community. The Cotsen Occasional Press has established an international reputation for the creation of highest quality art books, and their complimentary distribution to libraries and to educational institutions around the world.

In 2011 the Cotsen Family Foundation name was changed to the Cotsen Foundation for the ART of TEACHING in order to focus even more intently on Mr. Cotsen’s interest in developing gifted teachers through mentoring programs—a concentration that continues to drive this larger foundation through the distribution of his estate.

As of June 30, 2017, the assets of the Cotsen Foundation for the ART of TEACHING were approximately $53 million, however this is about to change dramatically.  Due to the passing of the founder in May of 2017, over the course of the next year the foundation’s assets will grow to approximately $230 million, with a required expenditure that more than doubles the current operating budget. For the past six years the combination of program and administrative support has been approximately $6 million, spending 8-12% of the asset base. However, with the dramatic growth of the endowment, the foundation will be adhering to a minimum spending policy of 5% in charitable commitments, thereby increasing the program costs alone from $5 million to roughly $12 million over the next two fiscal budget cycles. Accompanying that dramatic expansion will be a required corporate restructuring related both to strategic planning and to governance.

Finally, the Cotsen Family Office, LLC (which was formerly the Cotsen Management Corporation) is owned and operated currently by the Cotsen 1985 Trust, and provides the full range of administrative support to the two foundations, as well as all other Cotsen-related entities. These infrastructure services include accounting and financial reporting, human resources and payroll, technology support, and investment management (although actual investment decisions will continue to be made by external advisors). The Family Office staff are also presently responsible for the annual audit and all tax and compliance reporting requirements. Furthermore, the Family Office group is responsible for property leases, office equipment and supplies, insurance, and all legal matters. Given the passing of the founder, the Cotsen Family Office, LLC is now undergoing a transition and will be expected to merge into the Cotsen Foundation for the ART of TEACHING by the end of 2018. In that process, the staff of the Family Office will transition to become part of the foundation, while continuing to provide the same range of administrative, accounting, and legal support to the foundation.

For more information about the Cotsen Foundation for the ART of TEACHING, please visit the website:


Los Angeles, California

Mission and Vision

The mission of the Cotsen Foundation for the ART of TEACHING is to transform good teachers into great teachers. This transformation occurs through a program in which proven educators receive coaching and mentoring to achieve the highest levels of teaching excellence.

Exceptional teachers change the lives of children. These consummate professionals spark a passion for learning in the hearts and minds of young people. They open up new worlds of understanding, give new tools for exploration, and embolden the confidence of children as learners.

The foundation’s vision is that every child experiences the magical touch of outstanding teachers and for a lifetime they remember those who helped them become exuberant, lifelong learners. To reach toward their vision, the Cotsen Foundation for the ART of TEACHING funds individual teaching fellowships and grants to elementary schools in California to implement the Art of Teaching mentoring program.

Reporting Relationships

The Chief Financial Officer (CFO), an exempt position, reports to the President, Dr. Barry Munitz, with a dotted line to the Board Chair, Mrs. Margit Sperling-Cotsen. This executive also works closely with the Executive Director and the Board of Directors, as appropriate. The CFO will manage a team of financial and administrative support staff, and additionally oversees outside service providers in the areas of investments, legal, and tax.

Position Concept

The Cotsen Foundation for the ART of TEACHING seeks an experienced, results-oriented Chief Financial Officer for the strategic financial health of the foundation, assuring fiscal soundness, workplace effectiveness, and the provision of mission-centric services. The CFO will function as a key member of the foundation management team and will be responsible for planning and oversight of all the foundation’s financial activities. This executive will serve as an operational CFO who is highly engaged as a collaborative partner in effectively managing the development and execution of strategic financial plans, program-specific plans, and annual operating and capital budgets. The CFO will ensure the integrity of all financial statements in collaboration with the Board Chair, President, Executive Director, and the Board. S/he will enable accountability and effective decision-making by delivering clear, accurate, and timely performance information to management and staff. In addition, the CFO will work closely with the President and Board of Directors on all strategic and tactical matters as they relate to financial planning and reporting, budget management, forecasting, and the investment of endowment assets. The Chief Financial Officer oversees and guides the day-to-day operations of the finance team, which includes accounting, budgeting and planning, banking and treasury, tax planning and compliance, and investment operations; as well as human resources, technology, legal matters, facilities, and general administration of the office.

The CFO accomplishes all job duties in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, federal/state regulations, foundation policies and guidelines, and sound business practices. The foundation will have an annual operating budget of approximately $12 million, assets of approximately $230 million, and approximately 20 full-time employees, as well as outside vendors and advisors.

Over the next several months, the CFO will have responsibility for consolidation of Mr. Cotsen’s estate, the financial affairs of Mrs. Cotsen, and the merger of the Cotsen Family Office into the Cotsen Foundation for the ART of TEACHING in addition to the likely dissolution of the Cotsen Foundation for Academic Research. This is expected to be an intensive period of transition, during which time the CFO will act also as the Chief Executive Officer of the Cotsen Family Office; the process is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

Specific Duties

Under the direction of the President, the CFO is responsible for the financial and key administrative aspects for the foundation, as follows:


  1. Serve as a steadfast, hands-on leader and manager who is a collaborative, team-oriented, self-motivated consensus builder and can affect change.
  2. Provide ongoing operational and strategic leadership input across foundation concerns, while offering a comprehensive view of the foundation’s business affairs through relevant financial and management reporting.
  3. Play a key role in developing an internal financial business partner model that supports the President and Executive Director in their planning and budgeting, financial risk analysis, staffing and resourcing cost, actual vs. plan, and related financial toolset and discipline.
  4. Encourage and foster involvement and education in critical business areas.
  5. Utilizing modern technology as a critical communication and business management tool, advance the success of the foundation in serving its mission.
  6. Review the finance and investments, human resources, and information technology needs of the foundation, and evaluate the effectiveness of outsourcing tasks as appropriate, while retaining responsibility for outcomes.


  1. Oversee financial planning and analysis, including developing both short-term and long-term budgets, projections, and accounting.
  2. Direct the planning and preparation of interim and annual financial statements and reports, and assure that all federal, state, and charitable filings are completed accurately and efficiently.
  3. Oversee and evaluate business guidelines and accounting practices, including the continuous review and improvement of appropriate policies, internal controls, accounting standards, and procedural systems.
  4. Oversee and manage finance functions, including: internal and external financial reporting, cash flow, foundation budget, tax reporting and compliance, general accounting, and transaction processing.
  5. Optimize the management of bank and deposit relationships and initiate appropriate strategies to enhance the foundation’s cash position on a broad overall basis, in addition to managing cash flow investment risk and yields.
  6. Continually improve the timeliness and accuracy of the foundation’s cash flow and management of the billing and collections process, as well as month end, quarterly, and year end closings.
  7. Participate as an active member of the team that selects a new third-party investment manager and evaluate the option of outsourcing CIP.


  1. Work with outside counsel to manage legal issues related to trust matters, corporate filings, labor and employment, and other foundation related matters as needed.

Human Resources

  1. Oversee and manage human resources and payroll, including compensation and general personnel policies and practices, benefit plans, reporting, and compliance.


  1. Other duties, as assigned by the President, that are deemed necessary to support the foundation’s mission.

Candidate Qualifications

As the financial manager of the foundation, the CFO must possess and project the utmost integrity and highest standards of professional conduct, and must be an individual marked by accomplishment and experience to exercise the leadership of a capable, collegial, and motivated professional community. Expected qualifications include:

  • Demonstrated financial, administrative, and operational oversight at the senior level with a minimum of eight to 10 years of successful senior level experience in relevant fiscal and operational management with increasing responsibility. The successful candidate will have a leadership style characterized by openness, trust, collegiality, and creativity, coupled with decisiveness and a strong commitment to the foundation’s vision, core values, and strategic priorities.
  • Nonprofit experience is highly desirable. The Cotsen Foundation for the ART of TEACHING is willing to consider corporate finance executives with a clear understanding of the distinctive nature of the nonprofit and education sectors; however, passion for education and its importance to society is crucial.
  • Significant experience working with governing boards and committees. Must be able to establish and maintain effective working relationships with board members and all levels of staff, as well as a variety of constituencies—education and administration. Due to the diversity of the foundation’s activities, the CFO should be adept at navigating a complex environment with stakeholders who may not always have a common agenda.
  • A strong financial leader who can stand up to scrutiny and model consistent and ethical behavior.
  • Excellent financial, administrative, and analytical skills with a demonstrated aptitude for contract negotiation and project management. This leader will possess strong planning, financial management, and organizational skills.
  • Must be a strategic thinker with the ability to understand the vital issues affecting the foundation and provide unbiased analysis to key staff, colleagues, and the Board. Will have the vision and courage to break new ground, while ensuring and advancing the financial health and stability of the foundation.
  • Nuanced understanding of non-profit regulations and ideal operating principles as it pertains to staff, programs, and standards and practices is desirable. This will include extensive experience with budget and financial analysis, and detailed comprehension of GAAP. The successful candidate will have current knowledge and a commitment to keep abreast of the latest laws, policies, regulations, and rulings relating to the administrative and financial matters of the foundation.
  • A dedicated customer service orientation with the willingness to proactively find solutions to complex problems and answers to unconventional questions.
  • This leader will be a visible, transparent, entrepreneurial, and boots on the ground leader who possesses superb management skills who is accustomed to working in a team-based and interdependent environment. The CFO will also be a low ego, highly energetic, and forward-thinking individual with a strong work ethic, as well as an enthusiastic and passionate approach to the work.
  • Proven ability to manage and develop financial talent is critical to the CFO’s success. S/he must possess adept leadership aptitude with successful experience in building an organization and strengthening that organization’s capacity to grow and adapt. Must be able to train, mentor, and motivate staff.
  • Proficiency in institutionalizing and streamlining financial, accounting, and budgeting processes so they are not dependent on the capability of any one finance professional. Robust program budgeting skills, particularly as they relate to building new programs, are highly valuable.
  • Exceptional interpersonal, written, and verbal communications skills, blended with the facility to be an effective, engaged, and interested listener. This must include the ability to articulate and explain complex financial issues to staff, board members, and all other stakeholders in a clear, non-technical manner. This extremely strong communicator will have to translate financial data so that it can be utilized effectively by those who do not possess a business orientation. The CFO must be able to step outside of finance and speak to mission and values.
  • Ability to exercise tact in dealing with sensitive, nuanced, and confidential issues and situations.


The successful candidate will hold a bachelor’s degree and a Master of Business Administration or CPA.


A review of applications will commence immediately, continuing until the position is filled. Interested individuals are encouraged to submit their credentials as soon as possible for full consideration. Complete applications should be submitted electronically and should include: a cover letter and a current resume reflecting work experience from college forward.


Krista Haley, Associate
Shelli Herman and Associates, Inc.
11693 San Vicente Blvd., Suite #104
Los Angeles, California 90049
Office: (800) 396-0595 ext. 7