May 25, 2023

Welcome to a very special final episode of Season Four!

In this episode, you’ll learn how one foundation built the internal political will to make internal reforms so they can provide grants that better serve their grantees and their communities. Host Rusty Stahl sits down with Kenneth Jones, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Equity Officer of one of America’s major foundations, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. They discuss why and how MacArthur Foundation has increased the amount of money in their grants for “indirect costs” from 15% to 29%, nearly double and one of the highest rates we know about.

This is the fourth installment of our special series, Smashing the Overhead Myth Once and for All! Be sure to check out the first installment (S4E3 with Rodney Christopher of BDO), which sets the context, provides the backstory, and defines terms for the entire series. You can binge the whole series in this Spotify playlist or find them spread across Season Four.

We’ll be taking a podcasting break during summer 2023. We will return this fall with Season Five. We’ll amplify more great guests, transformative ideas, and practical tips for investing in the nonprofit workforce.


Guest Bio:

Kenneth Jones - Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

As Chief Operating Officer, Ken is responsible for all aspects of the finance, accounting, tax, audit, information technology, grants management, administrative services, core services and facilities functions for the Foundation. He also serves as the Chief Equity Officer for the Foundation. In addition, Ken implements and evaluates the Foundation’s financial objectives and performance to support MacArthur’s priorities and programs.

Prior to joining MacArthur, Ken was the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for the Annie E. Casey Foundation. In this role, he oversaw the finance, grants management, business technology and facilities & operations functions as well as the disaster recovery & relief process for the foundation. He traveled extensively in Africa and Southeast Asia as CFO for Danya International, a public health and education organization and Jhpiego, a nonprofit international health affiliate of Johns Hopkins University. Ken held previously corporate finance positions at the Ford Motor Company, the Pfizer Corporation and the Prudential.

Ken received his Master of Business Administration degree from the MIT Sloan School of Management, a master’s degree in economics from the University at Buffalo and a bachelor’s degree from Boston University.

Ken serves on the boards of the Mission Investors Exchange, the Thurgood Marshall Academy, the Public Justice Center, the Joint Center, the Southern Education Foundation, the Center for Urban Families, the Steve Fund, Collegian Directions and Corus.

He is a Who’s Who Black Baltimore recipient, Arthur Vining Davis Fellow for the Aspen Ideas Festival, Presidential Scholar at Concordia College – New York, Smart CEO Magazine Executive Management Award recipient, DCA Live Star CFO awardee, Leadership Greater Chicago Daniel Burnham Fellow and ABFE James Joseph Lecturer. Ken was in the 2nd cohort of the Council of Foundations’ Career Pathways Program.

Listen on Spotify.

Listen on Apple Podcasts.

View all previous episodes of the podcast.