Jobs in America

Chief Financial Officer

Caldwell Zoo

The employer is currently seeking candidates for a position in Tyler, but is open to the possibility of hiring remote workers from other areas. Don't wait until the last minute to apply for the job as Caldwell Zoo, the recruiter for this vacancy, will not accept late submissions. You can negotiate your salary with the employer based on the company's track record for employee recognition and rewards. July 9, 2024 is when the job vacancy for the Chief Financial Officer role was advertised, and it will expire on August 6, 2024. Workers will be expected to work at Tyler , TX , Tyler , TX.

Caldwell Zoo

Chief Financial Officer

For more information see the Search Profile.

The Organization
Located in Tyler, Texas, The Caldwell Zoo strives to connect people with the wonders of wildlife to cultivate an appreciation for the natural world. For over seven decades, the zoo has invited residents of East Texas to witness the spectacular diversity of animals from all around the globe. The zoo does all it can to share the magnificence of nature through unforgettable experiences and educational programs to inspire others to take action to ensure the vitality of the animal kingdom for generations to come. As trustee of its physical and financial assets, the Caldwell Foundation was established to fund the zoo, working as a key partner institution. After years of study and deliberation, the foundation board of directors has launched an initiative to set The Caldwell Zoo up as a fully independent nonprofit with refined strategic and operational plans.

History of the Zoo & Foundation
D.K. Caldwell crossed a threshold in 1937 when his interest in community projects and the satisfaction derived from advancing public good focused his attention on an area where he felt much could be accomplished with limited expenditures – the children of Tyler, Texas, and Scottsboro, Alabama. Consequently, he established the Caldwell Foundation. Four years later he crossed another threshold when his interest in early childhood development motivated him to start a petting zoo in his backyard that would eventually become the Caldwell Zoo and a cornerstone of Tyler, Smith County, and East Texas.
In 1953, the decision was made to move the Petting Zoo to 125 acres owned by the Caldwell Foundation and develop eight acres into the Children’s Zoo. That year, Lottie and D.K. Caldwell opened the zoo as a gift to their community. They believed in the positive power of “learning through fun” and the benefits of connecting people with wildlife. Since that time, The Caldwell Foundation has continually supported zoo operations and the mission to share the wonders of the natural world. The Children’s Zoo continued to expand the number of species (87) and animals (500), showcased in several exhibits.
In 1971 the arrival of Kimbo, a baby Asian Elephant, served as another tipping point for change, as Kimbo quickly outgrew her house. In 1974, Hayes Caldwell, who had been working for the Zoo since 1963, attended an Association of Zoos & Aquariums conference and learned about the importance of a Zoo Master Plan. Following best practices, a Master Plan transforming the Children’s Zoo into the Caldwell Zoo was commissioned. Hayes Caldwell was named Director of the Caldwell Zoo and D.K. Caldwell approved the Master Plan, authorizing the expenditure of $3,619,000 for renovations and the implementation of admission fees for guests.
D.K. Caldwell passed away in 1977. His legacy (Learning Through Fun) and the Caldwell Foundation’s financial support have allowed the Caldwell Zoo to transition into a top-rated zoo hosting 300,000 visitors a year, becoming one of the cornerstones of Tyler, Smith County, and East Texas. In 1999, an updated Master Plan was prepared and approved by the Board of Directors of the Caldwell Foundation authorizing $6.5 million for new facilities and refreshing the Caldwell Zoo. Today, the zoo includes 85 developed acres and over 2,000 animals. Further millions have been invested by the foundation in the zoo’s amenities, enhancing animal habitats and the visitor experience alike.
Over seven decades, the Zoo has become a cherished cornerstone of East Texas, a center of educational programming, and a leader in the conservation of native Texas wildlife and threatened and endangered animals from across the planet. Now, changes are taking place to make sure this revered institution will continue to thrive for generations to come. One obvious change is the $15 million development of the Amazon River’s Edge, which will open by the end of 2024. This major construction project incorporates almost one-third of the Zoo and focuses on the fascinating wildlife of South America.

2023 Caldwell Foundation Master Plan
Beyond managing the evolving physical infrastructure and daily operation of the Caldwell Zoo on an ongoing basis, the Caldwell Foundation has launched a transformational chapter to establish the zoo as a public charity. As outlined in the 2023 Caldwell Foundation Master Plan, the multi-year process of transferring all assets from the Caldwell Foundation to The Caldwell Zoo, Inc. will position the zoo for financial and capital success while gradually sunsetting the foundation. With Caldwell Zoo, Inc. becoming operational on January 1, 2025, a three-year transition plan will go into effect during which all physical assets of the Foundation will be transitioned to the Zoo while continuing to receive financial support from the Foundation. With its new structure, the executive leadership will report to the President/CEO of Caldwell Zoo, Inc. At the appropriate time, Caldwell Zoo, Inc. will be the sole beneficiary of assets managed by the D.K. & Lottie Caldwell Irrevocable Trust.  Furthermore, the Zoo will begin supplementing its existing revenue streams with private support from individual and institutional donors.

Budget & Governance
With an annual budget of around $8 million, The Caldwell Zoo benefits from stable revenue streams that include earned revenue (approximately 50%), and Caldwell Foundation contributions (approximately 50%). In advance of establishing the irrevocable trust, Zoo leadership will develop additional revenue streams such as events and private support. The foundation is currently governed by a seven-member board, two of whom will be joining the board of Caldwell Zoo, Inc. along with three additional community members. Over time, the board will grow to no more than 15 members.

The Opportunity

As a highly regarded and well-loved cultural attraction in Tyler, Texas, the Caldwell Zoo is seeking a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to serve a leadership role in sunsetting the Caldwell Foundation and establishing the zoo as an independent nonprofit. After decades of service, the leadership of the Caldwell Foundation has launched a deliberate transition plan to preserve its assets while setting the zoo up for perpetual success. With the launch of Caldwell Zoo, Inc. in January 2025 as a public charity, the CFO will maintain a strong balance sheet and cash flow management while helping executive leadership identify the metrics that define the organization’s short-term and long-term success. While embarking upon this significant transition, the Caldwell Zoo is blessed with a committed staff of nearly 100, highlighted by numerous individuals with more than 20 or even 30 years of service. Leadership’s consistent investment in employees has resulted in a transparent, laid-back, and fun environment highlighted by mutual respect and support at all levels of the institution.

Reporting to the President & CEO of Caldwell Zoo, Inc. the CFO will oversee the financial operations of the Caldwell Foundation and Caldwell Zoo Inc., including guiding financial strategy, planning, and maintaining fiscal stability. As a member of the executive management team, the CFO will also participate in establishing long-range goals, objectives, strategic plans, policies, and procedures. Oversight will also include the teams and vendors managing human resources, IT, and risk management. Specifically, the new CFO will:

Financial Management:
Manage the financial operations, including budgeting, forecasting, internal controls, and annual audits.
Ensure the financial transactions, policies, and procedures meet the organization’s short and long-term objectives and are conducted under regulations, accounting principles, and standards.

Strategic Planning:
Develop and implement sound financial strategies, including long-term financial planning, forecasting, risk management, and investment strategies.

Financial Reporting:
Oversee the preparation and communication of monthly, quarterly, and annual financial reports to management and the Board of Directors of both the Caldwell Foundation and Caldwell Zoo, Inc.

Ensure legal and regulatory compliance regarding all financial functions, including tax planning and compliance with local, state, and federal laws.

Direct the finance and accounting team and ensure their ongoing professional development and training.
Participate in key decisions as a member of the Executive Management team.

Other Duties:
Serve as the primary contact for banking relationships and investment management.
Supervise the Human Resources department including employee benefit programs and oversee risk management and information technology.

When searching for jobs online, it's essential to be aware of some key factors to ensure that you find legitimate job postings and avoid scams. Avoid potential identity theft by being cautious about sharing personal information with potential employers. To verify that the job posting is real and the position is open, it's always a good idea to get in touch with the company directly. Use your common sense when assessing the legitimacy of a job posting. Conducting research on the company is an important step in the job search process to ensure that it's a legitimate and reliable organization. Always ensure that you are on the verified website to stay safe. Job postings that ask you to pay for access to 'exclusive' job listings are often scams. Don't provide your credit card information to a potential employer, even if they say it's for a background check. Employers who do not conduct in-person or phone interviews may not be legitimate, so it's important to verify their authenticity before proceeding. Be cautious of job postings that ask for upfront fees or payments, as these are often signs of a fraudulent opportunity.

Other Considerations

Compensation :  Competitive with comparable organizations, and commensurate with capability, experience, and prevailing market trends.

Location:  Tyler, Texas; On-site

Travel:  Limited


Tyler, Texas

Tyler is considered the advanced manufacturing, health care, educational, and retail center of East Texas. Tyler’s charming brick streets lead visitors to an array of family attractions, quaint antique shops, and unique specialty stores. The city has an impressive youth recreation program, including baseball and soccer leagues. It has “top 10 in the state” status mountain biking trails and a top-rated State Park. Its cultural offerings feature a world-class zoo, ballet, symphony orchestras, and art museums. For more information on Tyler and its neighborhoods, visit



How to Apply

For more information or to apply, please visit Peña Search here.

Caldwell Zoo
2203 W Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Tyler, TX 75702
Phone: 903-593-0121
Fax: 903-595-5083

Useful link(s) for this job

  • click apply button below

The job posting can help you determine if the job aligns with your career goals and aspirations. We encourage individuals who have carefully reviewed this job posting and feel that they are a strong fit to apply for this job. If you have any reservations or doubts about this job posting, please take the time to evaluate them before submitting an application. Pay attention to any specific instructions or requirements listed in the job posting before submitting your application.