Pew Charitable Trusts

  www.pewtrusts.org
  www.pewtrusts.org
There are newer employer reviews for Pew Charitable Trusts

9 people found this helpful  

Chivalry is dead.

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Former Employee - Associate in Washington, DC
Former Employee - Associate in Washington, DC

I worked at Pew Charitable Trusts full-time (more than 3 years)

Pros

Pew looks great on a resume. It's easy to spin work experience at Pew into a talking points for working elsewhere, and you have access to at least a few senior managers who will back that up with a good reference. Pew is always growing and hiring, so if you are getting started out in DC it can be a place to land on your feet. But -- I mean, sweet charity, once you have that foot in the door be on the lookout for the nearest open window..!

Cons

A few years back, we had just moved into the 901 E Street location, and myself and another administrative assistant were walking back from the coat closet to our desks. In those days, they were doing construction to finish the space, and we had to have special keys to get through doors to and from places. It was inconvenient, but not a big deal. But still, when the CEO sees us coming down the hallway, looks right at us, and allows the door to slam shut behind her just as we're approaching -- that hurt. "She looked right. at. us."

These sorts of interactions were not uncommon over the years. The CEO saw herself as an insulated figure. She only spoke to or engaged with those who reported to her directly, or those to whom she reported (the Board of Directors). The rest of us were mere underlings. (Did she seriously call us that? Probably not, but, she communicated it nonverbally all the time and all over the place.)

People who had spent their education and careers building expertise in environmental, health, and state policy issues and related advocacy came to Pew, an organization flush with resources and access, expecting to have the means at their disposal to carry out their life's work. But instead, they found themselves in an environment where that expertise was constantly -- and indirectly -- questioned and inexpertly picked apart by the CEO. Knowing only a fraction of any given issue area or budding partnership in an advocacy campaign she was asked to approve a contract for, she nevertheless had the gumption to fire back at her managing directors, questioning whether the staff working under them "got it".

Take it from me and several dozen other reviewers and the top universities they went to and other organizations they worked for, they did get it. If you go to work there, sooner or later, she'll do it to you. And it won't even be you she questions -- it'll be your boss or your boss's boss. Because you're not even worth holding a door for.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Rebecca Rimel had a good run in Pew's early days, but she needs to go. As far as I know, she has no succession plan. The tight-fisted, see-every-Pew-product-before-it-goes-out-the-door approach probably worked ok when Pew was 20 people in Philadelphia. But at 600+ now in DC, Pew needs to have someone who can inspire people by seeing themselves as but a servant in support of all that talent. Some political expertise would be helpful too (perhaps a former state governor). The culture and work environment is uninspiring and Sun Oil corporate -- I expect a leadership change and picking the right person would be Pew's silver bullet to fixing all of it.

Doesn't Recommend
Neutral Outlook
Disapproves of CEO

86 Other Employee Reviews for Pew Charitable Trusts (View Most Recent)

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  1. 7 people found this helpful  

    Some amazing people but toxic culture

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Senior Officer in Philadelphia, PA
    Former Employee - Senior Officer in Philadelphia, PA

    I worked at Pew Charitable Trusts full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good salary; benefits; vacation. Many talented and interesting colleagues, including some with excellent sense of humor. Fascinating organizational history. May sound trite but occasionally sense of doing good work to help the world. Always fun to read in the news about work you've been involved with.

    Cons

    The list is long so it's hard to know where to start. But it probably all starts & ends with the toxic culture, which itself no doubt stems from the top. The board is very insulated from conditions on the ground & board meetings are tightly orchestrated affairs to keep it that way. I watched as some extremely talented and devoted people were hired and then eliminated in short order for no good reason. And as others who had been there for years and literally given all but their lives to Pew were ushered out, also for seemingly no good reason. Absolutely zero loyalty to some very good people. This continues to happen & has destroyed morale. No consistent leadership. Philly office has been eviscerated in order to shift everything to DC. Historically speaking, there was a purge in the mid to late 1980's when the current CEO first came to power. Some board members, including Pew family members, resigned out of frustration with the direction of the organization at that time. I wonder how these early battles and relationships with the then-CEO, Thomas Langfitt, impacted the long-term leadership style of the current CEO. One Managing Director seems to have more power & leverage than all the others combined and this hurts morale as much as the constant employee turnover. The absorption & creation of Pew Environment Group caused major culture clash and did not seem well planned out. The review slamming the "sycophants and sociopaths" around the CEO is unfair in that people do what they have to in order to survive and feed their families & that's true in any organization, not only Pew. I think most people at Pew are actually very good people at core but there are some who just get warped by the culture over time.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be honest about the past and get out ahead of it. Be open and provide for real interviews with Philadelphia press and others instead of boycotting media.
    Communications and PR can only do so much. Real world understands that it's job of Communications to spin stories & try to make Pew look effective but most people see through spin. Image is not everything; substance & honesty is.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 6 people found this helpful  

    Pew has jumped the shark...

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

    I worked at Pew Charitable Trusts full-time

    Pros

    Pew's benefit package is generous to most, its reputation for solid, nonpartisan work is strong, and its intended mission is admirable.

    Cons

    Working at Pew, from an operations standpoint, is a challenging experience. Process and politics often get in the way of - and frequently dismantle - its mission. There has been a incredible growth spurt in the last five years, and as a result, new management hires often lack the historical knowledge (and the humility) to properly or efficiently do their jobs. Arranging and attending meetings now seems to be the marker of progress, rather than actual results; and advanced degrees stand in poor substitute for real effectiveness and business intelligence. High turnover and numerous layoffs have crippled Pew's attempts to get back on track operationally after implementing an organization-wide system (ill-designed to manage Pew's business from the start).

    Ultimately, it seems Pew has lost sight of the values of its founders. Its high-profile work, while laudable, has completely overshadowed the smaller, community-based grantmaking programs, and racks up excessive administrative expenses while doing so. There is a constant refrain from the CEO about Pew employees being "good stewards," but practice doesn't quite align with the preaching. And while growing pains are to be anticipated when an organization experiences the kind of expansion Pew has in the last 5 years, it's also not unreasonable to expect that a employer of this size and scope would plan intelligently and effectively for it, focusing on *both* the success of its programs *and* the satisfaction of its employees. For all of its prized research, Pew should know that happy employees make for effective organizations.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Practice what you preach, and start by preaching the truth to your employees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
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