Children at Risk Reviews

Updated May 29, 2015
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Children at Risk President & CEO Robert Sanborn
Robert Sanborn
8 Ratings

11 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (3)

    Lots of Turnover

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Children at Risk

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The organization has a great mission and potential to grow. A lot of work is done in collaboration with other organizations which is a great networking tool.

    Cons

    There is a lot of turnover. Employees do not last here long and the hours can be overwhelming. The leadership at the top is hardly challenged.


  2. Helpful (1)

    Poorly Run, Unethical Organization

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Children at Risk full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    In theory, the mission of Children at Risk is worthy and the people that work in non-management roles within the organization are wonderful. Furthermore, employees tend to be incredibly smart, passionate and capable.

    Cons

    An organization is only as strong as its leader and CEO Bob Sanborn is an absolute nightmare. He doesn't have any idea how to run an organization, finances were in constant disarray and fundraising practices were dubious at best. Fundraising events were more costly than beneficial, grant funds were mismanaged and turnover is abysmal. On top of that, the management team does not challenge the incredibly poor decisions made by the CEO to create an environment where quality staff cannot be retained and where the reputation of the organization within the community is being irreparably damaged.

    And finally, the references made to Bob Sanborn's sexist, homophobic behavior are unfortunately 100% accurate. A competent leader should understand it's not okay to ask female employees when they want to have a baby or speculate about an employee's sexual orientation to other employees. Completely unprofessional and an embarrassment to the organization and its Board of Directors.

    Advice to Management

    The Board of Directors at Children at Risk should challenge Bob Sanborn's false narrative about what's really going on behind closed doors. People are not leaving because Children at Risk is a stepping stone organization. They are leaving because it's a terribly run organization. At a certain point, the lame excuses need to end and the Board needs to hold the CEO accountable for his failed leadership. Unfortunately, Children at Risk will continue its downward spiral until the Board gets with the program, fires Bob Sanborn and finds a competent CEO.


  3. Helpful (2)

    Passionate people, terrible leadership

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Children at Risk full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    * Everyone is very passionate and inspiring about their projects
    * Dallas office seems to be improving while Houston is drowning

    Cons

    *CEO is inappropriate and over-personal
    *Nothing Bob says is challenged, everyone walks on egg shells around him
    *Leadership opportunities are given out arbitrarily
    *Heavy tendency towards micro managing while giving minimal directional support
    *Expectation is that you live to work, trying to have work - life balance or take a lunch break is looked down upon

    Advice to Management

    *Someone (board) needs to hold CEO accountable and challenge poor decisions
    * Employee retention needs to be seriously addressed
    *Allow employees to live outside CAR, the balance is non-existant


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  5. Helpful (2)

    Staff Burns Out, Unethical Practices, and Constant Survival Mode

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Children at Risk full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Lots of exposure to various nonprofits and other institutions within Houston, Austin, and Dallas. Valuable stepping-stone position due to networking.

    Cons

    Junior Staff is underpaid and given unrealistic expectations; Senior Staff is adequately paid and given unrealistic expectations. Even for a typical nonprofit environment. Health benefits are also low-quality, with staff paying a significant portion.

    Majority of staff have been there for 2 years or less (this includes both offices, ~30 people). Most staff would probably stay longer if there was compensation for low pay/lack of support/high expectations. However, C@R constantly operates in survival mode and it affects quality (ex: 2014 School Rankings Mistake). CEO has particularly unrealistic expectations for Development and has been trigger-happy to fire Director of Development (which makes funding even more difficult; there's been about 5 different directors over the past 3 years).

    There is also significant abuse of grants. Completely unethical practices.

    CEO consistently makes belittling, racist, and/or sexist remarks to all staff. There are no boundaries. CEO will also inquire about family planning, relationships, physique, and make disparaging remarks regarding pregnancies. CEO treats staff as if it was the 1980s.

    Note: All struggles are purposefully hidden from interns. Interns are unpaid and thus, C@R does try to make it an enjoyable experience. Staff also has more control over internship responsibilities, thus changing the game.

    Advice to Management

    Board needs to hold CEO accountable.


  6. Helpful (1)

    Smart and Motivated Staff

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Children at Risk

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    -Intelligent, driven, and well-educated employees
    -Flexible work schedules
    -Close-knit work environment fosters strong connection and dedication to organization's mission
    -Supportive and friendly staff

    Cons

    -Numerous job titles and functions can make organization seem disorganized

    Advice to Management

    Continue to develop infrastructure, policies, and procedures to legitimize organization and allow for professional development of staff members.


  7. Helpful (3)

    Exciting projects, overworked staff, no true middle management, a sprawling mission

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Children at Risk full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    -Since the organization is small, most employees get the chance work real, high level policymakers.
    -The projects that come through the pipeline are exciting and full of potential.
    -Some of their best events bring in big thinkers with great ideas.

    Cons

    -The CEO dislikes "negative" influences among senior staff, so strong-willed independent employees are more likely to toil in middling positions.
    -Employees are expected to accept whatever workloads are offered and make it work. That may not seem like a big issue, but a) this organization hires mostly very young employees who do not know themselves well enough to say "no" or "I need help" on a project b) a sprawling mission leaves staff spread thinly on many surface-level projects. A lot of talented staff left because they didn't feel like they were being used well, or that they had no opportunity to add value.

    Advice to Management

    -Hire a human capital manager who manages staff day to day, let the CEO focus outward and upward where he excels.

    -Support your strong self-starters, especially those who are willing to push back. They are the backbone of your organization. They care enough to push back, and will have great ideas if you truly bring them into the strategy process.
    -Bring your less experienced staff on slowly and temper expectations. Otherwise they will burn out, losing interest and confidence.

    Much of the 85% turnover can be directly linked to either of these management issues.

    -Reduce the size of the board and focus on fewer issue areas. The talent is there to create real change, but right now the best they can do is get in the news.


  8. Helpful (5)

    Interesting projects, terrible organization

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Children at Risk full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Interesting projects, amazing coworkers, decent access and exposure to statewide advocacy organizations.

    Cons

    CEO- has made sexist (from all angles- misogynistic and anti-male, MRA folks have a field day with that one) and wildly inappropriate comments to line staff. Has no boundaries and is driven by ego. To his credit, he generally hires well but has a type (white and branded university credentials).

    Yes-men upper management, disengaged board allows for zero CEO accountability, most of the staff is underpaid, and minimal staff diversity.

    Advice to Management

    None. Nothing will change until there is a new CEO.


  9. Helpful (8)

    CEO is toxic, sexist and incompetent

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Children at Risk full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    staff, opportunities, mission and opportunities to make real change

    Cons

    No HR, false promises made during interview process, CEO Bob Sanborn and Board of DIrectors

    Advice to Management

    Create an HR department that actually listens to employees, board of directors should meet with staff without the CEO to determine how to fix high turn over, budget is inflated. CEO Bob Sanborn should step down because of his unethical behavior, sexual comments, homophobic commentary and treatment of employees. Your 80%+ turnover rate should be a sign of internal conflict and disarray.


  10. Helpful (6)

    Children at Risk's senior management is problematic

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Houston, TX
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Houston, TX

    I worked at Children at Risk full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Friendly and dedicated co-workers. Grant funding ensures the opportunity to work with different projects, learn new things, and work with different people internally and externally.

    Cons

    Extremely high staff turnover (85% per year) highlights the organization's high-stress and low-support work environment. Upper management takes a thinly-veiled authoritarian approach to decision making and daily office interactions. Organizational climate is disengaging and lacking in trust. Staff are mostly frustrated and unhappy with the work environment. Professional development opportunities are mostly lip-service and there's little opportunity for internal promotion.

    Advice to Management

    Senior management style is not conducive to building an engaged, innovative, or efficient workforce. Management is in dire need of training in cultural sensitivity and effective leadership. The organization needs to create HR process for employees to move in the direction of staff retention and success.


  11. Helpful (7)

    management creates toxic work environment

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Children at Risk

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    great co-workers, good opportunities for collaboration internally and externally

    Cons

    Over the last year, staff turnover has been around 80%, with many staff members leaving after less than six months. While management sites a number of factors (graduate school, higher salary), staff leave because they are incredibly unhappy in this work environment. In the interview, management claims that this is an intellectually curious place that plays to people's strengths where you will never be micromanaged. I found the exact opposite to be true. There is no upward mobility. It is an unusually inflexible work environment for a nonprofit. Do not work here if you value a work/life balance. The organization is also financially unstable and a staff member was hired and laid off two months later earlier this year. The board is bloated and unaware of staff needs. The organization also underpays staff compared to under Houston nonprofits. Annual raises are not standard, even if a staff member receives excellent mid-year or end-of-year reviews. There are a lot of promises made during the interview process, but do not be fooled. Management does not value staff.

    Advice to Management

    reconsider hiring criteria. have a constant resource (an HR person) for staff



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