When does a mission-driven CFO initiate the crucial turnaround of an erstwhile nonprofit that’s been losing money for years and has a legacy pension plan dragging down its balance sheet? Before he’s even been offered the job. Or at least that’s how you take care of business if you’re March of Dimes Senior Vice President and CFO Dave Damond.
“I came in with a change management plan,” reveals the former KPMG auditor, who was a finance executive with American Red Cross before launching himself into his current role in 2018. “In fact, when I was interviewing, they showed me what the current table of organization looked like. And I said, ‘Yeah, that’s wrong—here’s what it should look like.’”Read More
Damond got the job and immediately implemented his plan, which included replacing a 30-year-old legacy ERP installation with a cloud-based system (within a year), hiring new talent (including a controller), and addressing that drag on the balance sheet as interest rates fortuitously plummeted.
“We saw that a lot of organizations were actually doing buyouts of defined benefits pension plans,” Damond recalls, while detailing the mechanics of his change plan. “It was something that we had to jump on right away, and we took this opportunity to offer buyouts to all of our people who were already retired.” The move saved the organization $20 million, adds Damond, who these days is also involved with cash flow analytics, fund-raising KPIs, managing through COVID, and AI solutions in which his finance group is considering investing.
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CFOTL: Tell us about this organization and its unique history …
Damond: A lot of people may not remember what we do—especially younger people—but we were really the organization that defeated polio. Roosevelt founded us in 1938, and people were sending dimes into the White House for the research that really helped to spur the end of polio. They actually helped with the largest clinical trial for children that ended up helping to solve the problem.
Polio was totally eradicated by 1979. In the mid-’70s, we pivoted to taking on cures for more birth defects, which eventually evolved more into dealing with challenges associated with preterm birth, which is a very big problem in this country. We try to help moms and babies with the problems of preterm birth.Read More
Our motto is really, “Strong mom, strong babies.” We’re trying to get ahead of this problem. We’re researching and educating in this area. Like any good nonprofit, we have a mission on the ground.
On our ground, we have buses that go out to areas of the country where moms can’t get good prenatal healthcare. We provide support in NICUs. If they have a baby who’s born early, we teach the mom how to provide proper care and give them support while they’re in the hospital.
Like most nonprofits, we educate beforehand. We do research on preterm birth with a lot of big universities—such as Stanford, Chicago, and the like—that are helping to solve the problem from a research standpoint.
My goal since I started with the organization has been to get the group to focus less on transactions and more on financial planning and analysis work. Every year, we say, “What are we going to tackle this year? Where are we going to spend a lot of time this year?” And we look for solutions that can help to us get there.
March of Dimes | www.marchofdimes.org | Washington, DC