Pew Charitable Trusts

  www.pewtrusts.org
  www.pewtrusts.org

Pew Charitable Trusts Reviews

Updated November 21, 2014
Updated November 21, 2014
86 Reviews
2.5
86 Reviews
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Recommend to a friend
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Pew Charitable Trusts President and CEO Rebecca W. Rimel
Rebecca W. Rimel
63 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • There is good work-life balance, great benefits and a generous 401(k) program (in 14 reviews)

  • Pew offers their name, great benefits and really smart people (in 13 reviews)


Cons
  • CEO is way too involved in details - even senior management is frightened of her (in 11 reviews)

  • There is a culture of fear and intense CYA (in 4 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1. 9 people found this helpful  

    Wasted potential

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

    I have been working at Pew Charitable Trusts full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Salary, benefits; smart and capable colleagues; work mission; Pew reputation garners attention and respect, making it easier to meet goals; very good programmatic resources.

    Cons

    Culture of mistrust; staff are seen as replaceable; no opportunities for advancement; constant restructuring; the more senior the staff, the more miserable and self-interested they are; programs are constantly up for renewal, leaving a feeling of poor job security; unending bureaucracy; poor reputation among partner groups; no work schedule flexibility and no telecommuting allowed.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Commit to projects and people. Trust more, restructure less. Pew hires the best of the best; staff can do the job if you let them. Enter the 21st century re: flexible work options.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 7 people found this helpful  

    Great people, great work

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

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

    Pros

    Terrific, smart, wonderful colleagues, as others have noted. Interesting work, beautiful work space. The issues are compelling, particularly if you are interested in environmental issues. Great staff parties twice a year and amazing benefits. Managers make it easy to leave at 5:30, which is unusual in DC.

    Cons

    Younger staff tend to complain - a lot

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Given the size and complexity of the organization, better training for junior staff might be helpful.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 5 people found this helpful  

    Smart, conscientious, forward-thinking colleagues

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

    I worked at Pew Charitable Trusts full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Intellectual environment. Smart and sincere colleagues. High standards for high-quality work. Strong sense of values. Desire to innovate. Excellent benefits, best I have ever seen at a nonprofit (high 401k match, diverse & generous cafeteria plan, charitable donations match, and more).

    Cons

    There is a strong hierarchy that keeps the organization functioning at a high level but can be alienating to early-career staff. Some fidelity to tradition that holds the organization back from thinking flexibly, although I think that is changing as the org. grows.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Clearer communication with staff during periods of transition.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 6 people found this helpful  

    Too big, too self-absorbed, too unable to get out of their own way.

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

    I worked at Pew Charitable Trusts full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Obviously, a good brand to align with. Have the resources to invest in good science-backed conservation work world-wide.

    Cons

    Low chance of promotion. Most junior positions are glorified contractors and they release a lot of people each year. Gotta fit a particular mold, even if the senior partners don't. The brand is sacred, rather than any results or work you might do.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Relax top-down rigidity and learn to work with different skill sets and co-worker types.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 5 people found this helpful  

    OK to begin your career, but you always feel something is lacking.

    • 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 an year)

    Pros

    * Dedicated and talented coworkers
    * Great 401(k) matching (if you stay long enough to get fully vested)
    * Great healthcare
    * Great building, albeit quirky rules, with recently updated technology for all staff
    * Starting point to some place better
    * Hiring, but high turnover

    Cons

    * PMP performance system that rewards managers and stifles junior staff (don't buy the BS everyone's at the top here)
    * Highly concentrated management decision making, too much middle management
    * Buy focusing on "One Pew" you will not be able to take any individual credit, a must have early in your career
    * Well funded non-profit that uses their non-profit status to justify low salaries
    * Convoluted contracting process, has the nerve to ask other nonprofits for a 20% discount
    * Turnover of younger staff is a problem, pretty much you leave when vested, great loss of talented, young, hardworking people

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Start recognizing junior staff, allow for individual recognition

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 5 people found this helpful  

    The best thing I learned was how to navigate BS

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

    I worked at Pew Charitable Trusts full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Awesome benefits that make the pay almost (but not) worth it, especially the 401K plan
    They do interesting work that really sees results
    Nice office location and well maintained building
    Great work-life balance but I did see a lot of slackers, slacking and getting away with it

    Cons

    Coming from a risk assessment background, Pew has tons of gaps and areas of major risks from a financial and process control angle. From a culture perspective, it's all about titles. They care little about the experience or ideas you bring if you don't hold the title. Management will expect you to do a lot of work (if you're good) but the moment you take too much initiative, they'll slap your hand and assign you things like you are incompetent. They will talk about the things they are going to assign you with you just standing there listening. They are extremely sensitive about letting even senior staff do certain management duties. Senior management micromanages everything.

    HR is terrible at hiring. They pick they strangest and sometimes severely unqualified management to manage capable staff. I could go on forever, but keep in mind it's clique-y and full of gossip... an unfortunate casualty of working with a lot of women (and I'm a woman). If you can stick it there a year, you'll get great benefits and have an opportunity to do some great work but plan your next move.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you have talented staff, give them opportunities to grow.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Great People Doing Good things, But Not a Good Long-Term Career Move

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

    I have been working at Pew Charitable Trusts full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Overall, these are some of the smartest people I've ever worked with. Most of them care deeply about the work they do. I can't stress this enough, and it makes listing the cons almost heartbreaking.

    By and large, the organization is doing positive, if not often groundbreaking work.

    The pay and benefits are generally competitive.

    The Pew name looks impressive on a resume and in networking.

    Cons

    There are extreme levels of micromanagement in some areas, even of professional staff in some cases. The level of trust is low, and therefore so is morale. The culture of fear others describe does exist in some departments, although sometimes it is more perceived than real, and I don't believe it is intentional. It's the result of micromanagement.

    The HR philosophy precludes logical hiring and promotion decisions. It's difficult to advance a career internally. Therefore, for many people, Pew is a stepping-stone employer.

    It is very difficult to get money out the door, especially if it is needed quickly. Some financial conservatism is to be applauded, but the arduous contracting process can often be misguided, especially when programmatic work is sacrificed. This seems to stem from Pew's move from a grant-making organization to one that actively works for policy change. The CEO seems unwilling to completely let go of the conservative grant-making mentality.

    There is excessive concern with organizational reputation/appearance, sometimes to the detriment of programmatic work. Furthermore, this concern is at odds with the constant internal change happening in an organization that is growing rapidly, as well as the change the programmatic work wishes to foster outside the organization.

    Very little privacy in the work space means internal arguments and personal lives occasionally become public knowledge (semi-open cubicle plan; no doors whatsoever on offices).

    I don't know where all the positive reviews for work-life balance are coming from, because I don't see it. I see a lot of overworked, stressed-out people. *shrug*

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You have amazing, creative, intelligent staff. Respect them, nurture them, trust them, and promote them, or you'll lose them. Don't let the revolving door culture continue; you can change it if you give your employees the credit they are due. Give middle management leeway to do their jobs; also give higher middle management reasonable signing authority. Take risks once in a while; don't be so afraid of controversy, because you'll get it whether you are careful or not.

    The CEO has been with the organization for a long, long time. She is very personable and well-meaning, but possibly too invested in the organization culture to see the forest for the trees. I actually like her and respect her experience and level of concern for the organization (despite what some here are saying), but she needs to listen to the experienced professionals who know their fields. Otherwise, she'll have managers who tell her what they think she wants to hear rather than managers who can help her make the organization more effective.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 6 people found this helpful  

    Great causes and colleagues, toxic work environment

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

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

    Pros

    The people at Pew genuinely care about their issues.
    Pew's resources are significant enough to effect change.
    Benefits are good.
    Pay seems very good, but DC cost of living means pay is only average.

    Cons

    Pew employees are extremely rarely rewarded for their work with promotions or raises. There have been cases in which people were denied raises because there was a maximum "quota" for how many people in a department could receive excellent marks on their performance review. There have been cases in which people were denied raises or promotions because of personal vendettas.

    In my experience at Pew, I performed the same work function as other people in my department two pay grades above my own for three years and was denied even a single-level promotion on three occasions over a year and a half.

    In short, Pew HR will try to take advantage of its employees (particularly its junior employees) to the fullest extent the employee will endure. The most common reaction is for people to "quit for a promotion" or merely out of frustration. Pew is not a place to build a career.

    I have kept in touch with many of my colleagues since I left Pew, and most of them have left the organization. The remainder complain bitterly about the culture there.

    Also be warned: Pew management (Rimel, et al) is aware of the "Glassdoor problem." They have attempted to seed this site with positive reviews from those who might benefit from improving Pew's reputation as an employer. Take any positive reviews on this site with a grain of salt. They may be fraudulent.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Trust people to do their jobs. When they do, reward them. When they don't, punish them. But don't micromanage to the point that it is crippling to the important work you do.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 5 people found this helpful  

    More like a fiefdom than a nonprofit

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

    I worked at Pew Charitable Trusts full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    The pay and benefits are, as many have noted, excellent. And if you're interested in working in the nonprofit sector, having Pew on your resume is a significant career advantage.

    Cons

    Even with the pros, working here is simply not worth it. Pew's senior management makes arbitrary, top-down decisions with no interest in getting input from the staff. They frequently create projects on a whim and then abandon them. Positions are often eliminated for unknown reasons. Further, these decisions don't seem to be made with much compassion or transparency.

    In fact, if there is any theme that runs throughout Pew, it's secrecy. I was not even allowed to email the senior staff member two levels above me, despite the fact that we were working on a project together---all communication had to go through my supervisor.

    These kinds of attitudes, both on major and minor levels, create a perpetual sense of mistrust. Morale here is bad, the atmosphere oppressive. And creativity is stifled because senior management believe they already hold all the answers. This may sound unfair, but the feeling is of a group of old money elites ruling over a fiefdom. I have had a long career in the nonprofit sector, and it was like nothing I'd ever seen.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There are some brilliant and talented people working for you. Listen to them. Trust them. Be open about your decisions. And have some humility.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great Company

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Pew Charitable Trusts

    Pros

    Full of very smart people that work hard.

    Cons

    A lot of bureaucracy the tends to move slowly.

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