Nonprofit work fits CFO’s desire to make a difference
Small Nonprofit | Kim L. D’Errico, CFO
Special Olympics Virginia, Richmond
When Rick Jeffrey was coming on board as president of Special Olympics Virginia in 2000, Kim L. D’Errico was his first hire. If you ask him, he’ll say it was a good one.
D’Errico was seeking a change from the large public accounting firm where she’d worked since college. Jeffrey was looking to land a highly qualified individual to help propel forward the nonprofit that provides sports training and athletic competitions for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
“We were very lucky,” Jeffrey says. Not all nonprofits can attract a CPA, let alone one who buys into the mission like D’Errico has.
Jeffrey initially hired D’Errico as director of finance and administration at Special Olympics Virginia, which is based in Richmond but has offices throughout the state. She advanced to senior director of finance a couple of years later and today holds the title of vice president of finance and administration, chief financial officer. The William & Mary graduate is a member of the nonprofit’s senior management team and oversees an annual budget of about
For her, the move to a nonprofit was the right thing to do. “I always knew and [my former employer, Arthur Andersen LLP] always knew that I was going nonprofit someday. … It was just where my heart was,” she says.
Special Olympics normally hosts multiple events throughout the state each year, but 2020 was markedly different because of the pandemic. “We had to do some serious brainstorming,” D’Errico says. The organization ramped up its online training efforts and made the decision to retain all of its employees.
Thanks to strong reserves and a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, “there wasn’t any point where we were concerned about paying the bills,” D’Errico says.
The organization has begun to hold regional sports events again, but management decided to hold off another year before resuming the large Special Olympics event normally held in the summer at the University of Richmond.
“We’re still walking a little bit different path than we would be pre-pandemic,” D’Errico says. She’s hoping this fall will bring more normalcy.
The mother of three children under the age of 10 says she feels like being a parent makes her a better employee, and vice versa. “You need to exercise different parts of the brain,” she says. That’s also one of the reasons she decided to minor in Russian, studying extensively about that country’s culture and history at William & Mary. It’s important to tap into your creative side in order to help solve everyday problems, even ones that involve finance, D’Errico says.
“I feel so blessed to be able to work for a nonprofit,” she says. “I like being an accountant but it motivates me so much more to know the work that I do makes a difference in the world.”
She spends some of her time off working with a young nonprofit organization called For Richmond that unites churches across the metropolitan area to help those in need. D’Errico chairs the board of that organization, which used to be named BlessRVA. It now has two employees.
“It’s interesting to see the front end” of a nonprofit, she says. “There’s a lot that I can provide in terms of advice to them.”
Jeffrey feels fortunate that D’Errico landed and stayed with Special Olympics. “When you’re running a business … your CFO is probably the most important person on your team,” he says.
“She has a very specific set of skills. … She’s found a way to be able to use those skills to strengthen and move the organization forward.”
That’s a tough balance, particularly in the nonprofit sector, Jeffrey says. An individual has to be “not only a first-rate CFO but a first-rate servant leader.” ν