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San Jose State University

Chief Operating Officer - Tower Foundation


San Jose State University (SJSU) is a comprehensive public university located in San Jose, California, the third largest city in the state. Founded in 1857, SJSU is the oldest public college or university on the West Coast. The founding campus of the 23-campus California State University system, San Jose State provides a comprehensive university education, granting bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in 145 areas of study with an additional 108 concentrations — offered through its nine colleges. With approximately 36,000 students and nearly 4,370 employees, San Jose State University continues to be an essential partner in the economic, cultural and social development of Silicon Valley and the state, annually contributing about 10,000 graduates to the workforce.


The university’s 154-acre metropolitan campus, the fifth largest in the CSU system, is at the epicenter of Silicon Valley, the global hub of technology innovation and America’s leading patent-generating region. This provides an exceptionally rewarding learning environment for students. Technology and other firms in Silicon Valley employ more graduates from SJSU than from any other university in the nation. In fact, San Jose State alumni comprise the largest share of Apple’s workforce of any college or university. Further, the number of SJSU alumni employed at the top five technology companies in the Valley consistently ranks in the top three. Silicon Valley firms regularly seek SJSU students for internships, summer work programs and for assistance with research and development projects.


Since the arrival of President Mary A. Papazian in 2016, San Jose State has experienced a transformational shift in culture and momentum as it seeks to become a pre-eminent urban public university. With record-breaking enrollment and a renewed commitment to excellence in teaching and research, SJSU is well positioned to grow and innovate while strengthening its connection to the Silicon Valley community and to fulfilling its social justice mission of access and equity.


A Campaign for the Future: Investing in Extraordinary People

In 2013, SJSU successfully completed “Acceleration,” the first comprehensive campaign in its 154-year history. The university has recently completed a comprehensive and inclusive strategic planning process with input from the university and other communities and collaboration with nearby industries. The 10-year plan, Transformation 2030, lays the groundwork for unparalleled growth, ensuring a dynamic future for SJSU as a leading 21st Century urban public university recognized nationally and internationally for the quality of its academic programs and research and the applied learning and educational access opportunities it provides to students.


To help realize its vision for the future, SJSU continues to plan for a major comprehensive campaign, the most ambitious private fundraising effort in its history. The campaign will include investments in teaching and research programs and significant renovations and capital improvements to the university’s physical plant. In addition, it will seek increased support for endowed chairs and professorships, graduate fellowships and undergraduate scholarships as well as for program initiatives that improve the quality of student life and the teaching and research mission of the university. 



Part of the University Advancement Division, the Tower Foundation is SJSU’s auxiliary organization dedicated solely to philanthropy. Tower assists with the development, investment, administration and banking of all SJSU philanthropic donations. The foundation subscribes to the Donor Bill of Rights.


The Tower Foundation seeks an experienced and innovative professional to serve as its Chief Operating Officer (COO). The COO is responsible for leading the foundation team and its operations into the future while reinforcing the mission and core values of the university and assuring high-quality services to and support for university leadership, students, faculty, staff, and donors. Reporting to Theresa Davis, Vice President for University Advancement and the CEO of the Tower Foundation, the COO is a key member of the VP’s leadership team and an active participant in making strategic decisions involving SJSU’s fundraising program. They provide operational vision and direction to the foundation and oversees advanced accounting and financial analysis, investments, endowment administration and stewardship, gift and grant administration and stewardship, audits, accounts receivable and accounts payable.


The COO serves as the secretary of the foundation board and manages all activities related to it. In addition, they prepare and track performance of the foundation's budget and provides administrative oversight for University Advancement projects funded through Tower. The COO will manage a team of nine and ensure that the foundation meets its obligations to Tower and University Advancement employees. The COO will ensure the effective use of financial resources in a manner consistent with the mission and values of SJSU, supporting key objectives of increasing revenue, controlling expenses, improving giving and donor retention rates, and attracting new donors and new gifts.


Tower Board Administration

  • Serve as secretary of the corporation and staff liaison to the Tower board of directors.  Oversee preparation of agendas and materials for board committees

  • Identify potential new members; select cohorts or groups of potential new directors for further research, present to VP/CEO

  • Track board member engagement and ensure compliance with applicable laws


Tower Foundation Administration

  • Develop and administer appropriate policies and effective procedures in support of University Advancement. Ensure compliance with federal, state, CSU system policies and regulations 

  • Analyze and monitor Tower’s financial position, using generally accepted and prudent financial models and tools. Provide counsel to and recommend actions to the CEO/VP

  • Oversee coordination of financial statements and corporate tax returns as well as preparation for external and CSU audits 

  • Oversee foundation budget. Track performance and report results to the board of directors

  • Provide counsel to university advancement regarding gift instruments and structures. Provide strategic guidance on corporate and foundation gifts and unusual / nonmonetary gifts

  • Through continuing education and networking with peers, remain up to date on nonprofit fiscal management best practices and applicable state and federal laws

  • Closely collaborate with colleagues in university advancement, finance and administration, academic affairs, research and innovation, athletics, and other units to strengthen relationships with donors

  • Serve as the staff expert for non-cash gifts as well as complex gift arrangements, staying in regular communication with colleagues in advancement services, development officers, attorneys and/or donors


Endowment Accounting

  • Oversee the SJSU endowment, accounting for additions, monitoring investment performance, portfolio balancing, and reconciliations

  • Provide direction and messaging for communication of investment performance and endowment strategies to campus stakeholders, donors and stewardees

  • Ensure donor intent is met; suggest and implement strategies to improve compliance with evolving laws and professional standards


Administrative Oversight for Tower-Funded Projects, Investments and Nonmonetary Gifts

  • Provide fiscal and operational oversight for major projects that are supported by Tower funding, as directed by the VP/CEO. Provide counsel to SJSU leadership, deans, faculty and others on gift agreements, acceptance and accounting as well as gift reporting/stewardship

  • Assume responsibility for oversight and resolution of donor-led or funded projects

  • Ensure appropriate spending and that Tower and university controls are followed

  • Provide regular reporting on expenditures and progress to the CEO/VP of Advancement


Human Resources

  • Manage, support and mentor a team of nine professionals, including the controller, human resources manager, grants manager and senior endowment accountant

  • Oversee Tower’s overall HR functions. Ensure human resources functions comply with foundation policies, state and federal laws and CSU policies and guidelines

  • Manage Tower Foundation risk management; ensure appropriate insurance coverage to protect the foundation from risk






A Bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance or a related field. CPA or MBA preferred.​


  • A minimum of eight to ten years of experience with at least five years in a managerial role leading finance, operational and governance areas of a nonprofit, philanthropic or educational organization

  • Experience leading, managing and mentoring a team

  • Experience with and strong knowledge of generally accepted accounting principles for governmental and not-for-profit organizations

  • Experience creating and editing internal and external financial statements

  • Experience with federal and state law including those related to taxation issues for not-for-profit organizations as well as those relating to charitable giving

  • Experience reviewing and communicating investment goals and performance to boards, staff members and organizational leadership

  • Experience administering charitable grants, including legal and reporting requirements, donor stewardship and managing any intellectual property issues

  • Experience implementing investment strategies and portfolio balancing, investment reconciliation, and evaluating fund manager performance 

  • Experience with philanthropic board best practices 



The successful professional will have or be:


  • Ability to analyze complex legal requirements and determine the appropriate actions to take

  • A comprehensive understanding of employee compensation and job classification policies

  • Thorough knowledge and understanding of federal and state legal requirements for corporations and not-for-profit organizations that affect the foundation

  • A high level of initiative, attention to detail and strong organization skills

  • Strong self-motivation and ability to work as part of a collaborative team

  • Demonstrated analytical, research, written and oral communication skills

  • Understanding of legal and ethical requirements related to donor intent

  • Unquestionable integrity and commitment to professional ethics, and the ability to responsibly handle sensitive and confidential information with discretion

  • A creative team member with a clear commitment to the mission of the organization

  • Strong interpersonal skills and expertise coalescing support from internal and external customers from diverse backgrounds 



A competitive salary and generous employee benefits package will be offered. To be considered for this position or for additional information on the opportunity, please send cover letter and resume to or contact:

David N. Randall

Randall Search Associates

415 767 3814

Tower Foundation employment is separate and distinct from San Jose State University or State of California employment.  Tower Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, pregnancy, sexual orientation, age, medical condition, military service, veteran’s status, marital status, national origin, physical or mental disability, or any other status protected by federal, state or local laws.  Reasonable accommodations will be provided for applicants with disabilities who self-disclose.

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