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2010 CFO OF THE YEAR: J. David Maas

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Honoree, Not-For-Profit

Like most not-for-profits, the Lumina Foundation for Education was hit hard by the recent economic downturn. But while the agency was forced, of necessity, to hunker down a bit to weather the storm, it hasn’t backed away from its ambitious goals—goals whose financial execution relies on the continued guidance of treasurer and CFO J. David Maas.
 

cfo-maas-dave03-15col IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter

That’s a good thing, because Lumina’s plans for Indiana (and the nation) could be instrumental in giving Americans the educational tools they’ll need to succeed in the 21st century.

Lumina’s mission is to increase access to and success in post-high school education, especially among adults, first-generation college students, low-income students and students of color. In 2009 alone it disbursed $55.6 million in grants, many directed toward traditionally underserved students.

maas-factboxThe organization was able to keep its eye on the education ball—even during the Great Recession—thanks in large part to Maas’ sound stewardship of its financials. Especially its large endowment. Lumina was founded in 2000 when USA Group Inc., the nation’s largest guarantor and administrator of student loans, sold to Sallie Mae. The proceeds of the sale established the USA Group Foundation (renamed the Lumina Foundation for Education shortly thereafter), endowing it overnight with a breathtaking $770 million.

The recession knocked the wind out of Lumina’s assets. In December of 2007 assets totaled more than $1.4 billion. By December of 2008 that total plunged to approximately $990 million, before recovering to roughly$1 billion by December of 2009.

At its lowest ebb, Lumina’s portfolio shed 40 percent of its value. Throughout the precipitous fall, Maas stuck to his investment strategy, which helped the foundation maintain liquidity and stability at a time when other not-for-profits sold assets at fire-sale prices or borrowed money to meet day-to-day needs. “While we did reposition some investments, we didn’t panic and cash out,” he said.

The recession wasn’t the only financial turmoil Maas faced. In 2009 Lumina’s chief investment officer resigned, prompting a thorough reassessment of the portfolio’s management.

Maas’ responsibilities include, among many other things, financial analysis, tax planning and preparation, human resources and facilities services. He even serves as program officer for several Lumina grants, giving him the opportunity to work “in the trenches.”•

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  • Well-deserved recognition
    Dave Maas is a very skillful numbers guy and deeply loyal team player and leader. It is great to see a good man receive the credit he so deserves.

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  1. John, unfortunately CTRWD wants to put the tank(s) right next to a nature preserve and at the southern entrance to Carmel off of Keystone. Not exactly the kind of message you want to send to residents and visitors (come see our tanks as you enter our city and we build stuff in nature preserves...

  2. 85 feet for an ambitious project? I could shoot ej*culate farther than that.

  3. I tried, can't take it anymore. Untill Katz is replaced I can't listen anymore.

  4. Perhaps, but they've had a very active program to reduce rainwater/sump pump inflows for a number of years. But you are correct that controlling these peak flows will require spending more money - surge tanks, lines or removing storm water inflow at the source.

  5. All sewage goes to the Carmel treatment plant on the White River at 96th St. Rainfall should not affect sewage flows, but somehow it does - and the increased rate is more than the plant can handle a few times each year. One big source is typically homeowners who have their sump pumps connect into the sanitary sewer line rather than to the storm sewer line or yard. So we (Carmel and Clay Twp) need someway to hold the excess flow for a few days until the plant can process this material. Carmel wants the surge tank located at the treatment plant but than means an expensive underground line has to be installed through residential areas while CTRWD wants the surge tank located further 'upstream' from the treatment plant which costs less. Either solution works from an environmental control perspective. The less expensive solution means some people would likely have an unsightly tank near them. Carmel wants the more expensive solution - surprise!

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