“I’m proof that people can change and become part of the social justice movement. I voted for Reagan in my first election when I was 18. After a rough coming out experience in my twenties, I began to question a lot of what I learned growing up. The people who supported me then were all progressive politically. They were patient teachers of my budding social justice consciousness.”
Carol Cantwell is the founder and Chief Officer of Fun with Financials, a consulting practice dedicated to building the financial health of the social justice sector. Fun with Financials’ mission is to demystify financial information so that it can be used to make informed decisions.
In her work with social justice nonprofits, Carol helps to build strong financial systems that can be maintained over time. She teaches board members, staff, and leaders to read and understand financial statements (balance sheet, income statement, and budget) and uses the organizations’ own reports to analyze current financial health. She assists organizations in creating financial policies to guide budgeting decisions as well as clarifying roles in the budget process.
In her work with foundation boards and staff, Carol emphasizes the responsibility that funders have to understand the entire context of grantee financial information. Carol teaches funders how to read and understand the financial statements currently requested using examples from recent dockets. Carol advocates that funders stop asking for budgets and instead focus on actual financial information that grantees already have available.
Prior to launching Fun with Financials in 2004, Carol spent almost 12 years in various nonprofit financial roles from Office Manager to Chief Financial Officer to Co-Executive Director. In addition to her professional experience, Carol brings a degree in economics to this work as well as her sense of humor and ability to make financials fun!
Carol is a life-long baseball fan who grew up in Boston and lives in San Francisco.