Position Overview

The Pfaffinger Foundation has retained Sterling Search, Inc., to search for its new President & Chief Executive Officer.

The Pfaffinger Foundation (Pfaffinger) is a unique institution which provides individual financial assistance to employees and retirees of the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers. Building on its strength in making small grants to individuals, Pfaffinger also makes one-time grants to other working poor individuals recommended by a network of private social service agencies in Los Angeles.  The Foundation directly helps several hundred clients each year, and considers its core strengths to be: 1) making small grants to individuals, 2) high quality case management, and 3) effective teamwork with a small staff of nine.  A number of community grants are also made in Southern California promoting self-sufficiency for the disadvantaged.  The budget for all activities exceeds $4 million annually and is funded from an $80 million endowment.

The Pfaffinger Foundation was established in 1936 by Frank Pfaffinger, who worked for the Los Angeles Times for 53 years beginning in 1887. He served as the business manager of the newspaper for decades.  Mr. Pfaffinger was a philanthropist who cared deeply about the welfare of his fellow employees, often anonymously helping employees in need.  He set aside the bulk of his estate to create a permanent foundation that would assist “needy employees and former employees of The Times Mirror Company,” and their families.  Since the Foundation’s assistance program became fully operational in 1945, grants have been made continuously to employees, retirees, and their families.

Frank Pfaffinger’s extraordinary insight created a legacy that continues into the 21st Century. Direct financial assistance, coupled with the support and guidance of professional case managers, make Pfaffinger a rare and remarkable organization.  Managed by a professional staff under the direction of a board of directors, the Pfaffinger Foundation provides assistance for such needs as medical expenses, emergency food and shelter, and other basic necessities due to unforeseen financial difficulties.  In recent years, with the rapid decline of the newspaper industry, the need for the Foundation’s assistance has increased.

Although its core program remains the highest priority, in 2000 Pfaffinger developed a program to assist other working poor individuals in the Los Angeles area. Clients from several private social service agencies are referred to the Foundation for one-time assistance.  Pfaffinger has prevented eviction, helped clients take advantage of housing opportunities, and assisted with such basics as food and clothing.  The Foundation also takes on special philanthropic projects from time to time.

Current Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Stephen Meier is retiring. With that departure, the opportunity has arisen to hire a new President & Chief Executive Officer charged with building on Pfaffinger’s track record by further developing the organization’s vision and achieving its goals for continued financial stability and community engagement.  Mr. Meier will continue as the Board Chairman during a transition period.

Specific Duties and Responsibilities

Responsible for all aspects of the company’s 501(c)(3) charitable foundation, to include program oversight, grant making, committee support, internal and external partnerships, and foundation growth.

Create, communicate and implement the Foundation’s vision, mission, and overall direction in concert with the Board of Directors.

Oversee the daily operations of the Foundation and serve as the Board-designated authority to sign all documents, speak, write and publish for the Foundation, initiate and finalize financial processes, and administer, review, and manage all other activities for the Foundation as directed by the Board.

Lead, direct and evaluate the performance of the Vice President and the Controller and, indirectly, other staff.

Plan full Board meetings with the Board Chair. Participate in and, in most cases, plan Board Committee meetings with the committee chairs.  Ensure the proper retention of all Board records.

Prepare and present memoranda, reports and analyses for Board and Board Committees. Communicate and implement approved recommendations.

Partner with the Vice President to oversee the community grants program. Develop charitable contributions analyses and reports.

Regularly review financial data, exercising control as authorized by the Board of Directors.

Implement the investment policy as adopted by the Board, including primary interface with investment advisors and related outside professionals.

Under the direction of the Audit Committee, authorize transfers of funds and investments in accordance with Board policy.

Collaborate with the Audit Committee to ensure effective oversight of asset management including review of investments. Maintain regular communications with the Audit Committee Chair and implement decision and strategies as directed by the Audit Committee.

Propose to Board enhancements to policy, programs, practices and procedures to accomplish core functions and implement such policies, programs, practices, and procedures as the Board approves.

Support Governance Committee in identifying and recruiting Board members. Provide for new members’ orientation to the Foundation and the Board.

Participate in Case Committee discussion during application review and provide determination of eligibility as needed.

Additional Job Functions and Responsibilities:

Ensure that each member of the Board is well-informed with respect to the Board’s responsibilities and Pfaffinger’s activities.

Assure the filing of all legal and regulatory documents to maintain compliance with relevant laws, regulations and fiduciary requirements.

Establish effective and transparent internal controls and record keeping.

Interface with professional advisors including General Counsel and Independent Auditors.

Analyze staff’s compensation programs in collaboration with Vice President.

Develop succession planning program for key positions and report biennially to the Board of Directors.

Represent the Foundation at external meetings.

Exhibit full knowledge and support of Pfaffinger’s philosophy and professional standards.

Stay current with trends in the Los Angeles geographic area specifically in the social service and foundation fields; develop and foster relationships with philanthropic leaders in Southern California.

Undertake special assignments as requested by the Board.


Knowledge of:

In-depth understanding of governance, regulations for foundations and philanthropic trends.

Financial management acumen including principles and concepts of portfolio management, endowments and institutional investments.

Roles and fiduciary responsibilities of the CEO, the Board, Board Committees and financial advisors.

Management policies and best practices for hiring, training and evaluating performance of staff.

Systems thinking and organization development.

Proficiency with MS Office software.

Ability to:

Demonstrate diplomatic skills and a natural affinity for cultivating relationships and persuading, convening, facilitating, and building consensus among diverse individuals.

Establish and maintain strong working relationships with other professionals and key stakeholders in the field while maintaining professional boundaries.

Understand trends in the newspaper industry and the unique relationship of Pfaffinger and the Los Angeles Times, and appreciate the institutional history of the Times and the former Times Mirror Co.

Identify problems and opportunities and address them; bring those which are appropriate to the Board and/or its committees; and facilitate discussion and deliberation.

Enable the Board to fulfill its governance functions and facilitate the optimum performance by the Board, its committees and individual Board members.

Understand and interpret financial statements.

Maintain confidentiality at all times, in public, in committee meetings, in consultation, and outside of the office.

Communicate effectively orally and in writing with strong presentation and delivery.

Exercise tact and diplomacy when dealing with sensitive, complex, and/or confidential situations and issues.

Lead strategic thinking and planning efforts.

Make clear and timely decisions.

Work collaboratively with other private and public philanthropic agencies.

Exemplify highest level of integrity in the execution of duties.

Education and Experience:

Any combination of education and experience to satisfy the mentioned knowledge, skills and abilities.

A Bachelor’s degree —preferably with emphasis on marketing, management, philanthropy or communications– is required. A Master’s degree is preferred.

Minimum of 10 years professional experience as a senior executive or in another responsible management position, or as a chief executive officer, executive director, or president of a corporation, nonprofit or philanthropic organization.

Proven prior work experience to meet the above duties and responsibilities.

Professional experience with significant executive leadership accomplishments in business, philanthropy, or the nonprofit sector.

Demonstrated leadership towards the creation of a shared vision for staff, the board and stakeholders.

Commitment to results, change management, strong leadership and executive administration.

Strong verbal and written communication skills.


A competitive compensation package will be offered to attract an outstanding candidate.


Any resumes sent or telephone calls made to The Pfaffinger Foundation will be redirected to Sterling Search, Inc.

714-433-7040 or info@sterlingsearchinc.com

The Pfaffinger Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Please submit your resume to Sterling Search Inc. via the form below, and include the job title in the subject line.

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