Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
Ken Jones is not the kind of CFO who is content to sit at a desk. Before joining Casey in 2008, he traveled extensively in Africa, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe as CFO of Danya International, a public health and education organization, and Jhpiego, a nonprofit international health affiliate of the Johns Hopkins University. Before working in the nonprofit sector, Jones held corporate finance positions at Ford Motor, Pfizer, Mirant and Prudential.
“It was important for me to see the programmatic work at Danya International and Jhpiego, and it’s the same for me at Casey,” says Jones, who sees a lot of parallels in his international development experience and Casey’s efforts in the United States. “When you are working in underserved communities, it is about education, economic opportunity and community empowerment.”
Jones oversees finance, accounting, grants management, facilities, operations and information technology, but the Foundation’s core mission is “personally near and dear to my heart,” he says. While earning a bachelor’s degree at Boston University and a master’s degree at the State University of New York at Buffalo, Jones, a Bronx native, worked with Upward Bound and also ran summer programs for youth.
“Seeing how programs like these can make an impact on young people in poor communities definitely affected me,” he says. “As a society, it is critical that we pay for these programs in the short term rather than facing the long-term social consequences.”
After earning an M.B.A. at the Sloan School of Management at MIT and launching his corporate career in finance, he continued to participate in Habitat for Humanity, Paint the Town and other community service activities.
At Casey, Jones has spearheaded policy changes that have moved grant funds to nonprofits faster; provided staff the technology tools they need; and adopted internal control, finance and human resources protocols “that are consistent not only with best practices in philanthropy but from a pure business perspective.” Jones also has helped lead efforts to promote and document workforce diversity and provide “proactive” information to help staff make good budgeting decisions.
The Foundation has opened his eyes to “the fact that there are so many things that systems, communities and families need to integrate to ensure the success of a child, and that you have to continually push the envelope to make that happen.” While it is unrealistic to expect quick fixes, “the belief that over time we can make a difference is what keeps me going,” Jones says.
The idea of reuniting families has special importance for Jones, who 15 years ago in Liverpool, England, was able to locate and forge a relationship with a half-brother and half-sister he had not known. Although communication was a bit hindered by unaccustomed accents on either side, Jones says, “I got to know the British side of my family and they got to know the American side of theirs, and that experience underscores the power and importance of maintaining lifelong family connections.”