Silicon Valley Community Foundation

  www.siliconvalleycf.org
  www.siliconvalleycf.org

Silicon Valley Community Foundation Reviews

Updated November 9, 2014
Updated November 9, 2014
9 Reviews
3.0
9 Reviews
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Emmett D. Carson
2 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Lots of potential, but also lots of fear of the top to make a misstep. Too conservative for what it's trying to do.

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

    I worked at Silicon Valley Community Foundation full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Friendly, smart staff. Lots of great ideas percolating. Lots of potential resources.

    Cons

    Poor management. Lots of people promoted because they are good at their jobs, not because they're good at leading and managing teams. So much untapped resources. So many tech donors, yet such antiquated tech tools.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Loosen up, pay people more, reward risk-taking and put resources behind the big ambitions you have.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    Complicated work environment, culture of fear and cowed management.

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

    I have been working at Silicon Valley Community Foundation full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Smart people who care about issues in the community and globally are drawn to SVCF. Employees are committed to social change and are helping to guide some of the richest donors toward causes that will have lasting impact for the good of the local and worldwide communities. The CEO is very likable, despite some feeling that he is unapproachable on internal issues.

    Cons

    Extreme distrust of "out of the box" thinking, despite it being a listed requirement on almost every job posting. Leadership at the C-suite level is dogmatic, territorial and destabilizing, so be prepared to slog through months of unnecessary work when you are singled out (and everyone gets singled out eventually). CEO is truly inspirational and likable, but largely ineffective in keeping his chiefs in line-- they run the show as he is almost always out of the office on national speaking engagements. The board of directors is made up of some of the most powerful people in Silicon Valley, but they really don't know much about how SVCF operates, nor do they really care so long as they can bring in major donors.

    Despite a stated desire to be agile and nimble and allegedly risk-friendly, the culture is very much the opposite. Be ready to do things exactly by the book, even as you are being encouraged to take risks. Back your communications up in email, because the instability of the organization eventually creates a culture of suspicion and back-biting in which coworkers are actively pitted against one another in order to prove their "successes" by blaming others for failures. The culture of blame is a huge problem here and takes what is by and large a talented, compassionate group of people and turns them against one another to create the illusion of "top down management." Middle management is effectively powerless, despite a huge number of VPs and directors. Their hands are tied by the C-suite so effective management is basically impossible on the ground level and quite frequently, minor issues are overtaken by the C-suite before the VPs/directors can address the situation. The involvement of the C-Suite in low-level day to day management is distressing and further creates a culture of fear--which apparently is the point, as fear is what SVCF considers a good motivator. Minor mistakes, such as grammar or simply asking for advice/clarification on a project is punishable by having job duties relieved and being labeled incompetent. Do not make a mistake here, ever. Period. If you do, figure out a way to blame it on someone else, because you won't be praised for admitting your errors and fixing them like a functional adult.

    Turn over rate is close to 30%. People are constantly being fired or forced to resign for obscure reasons such as being "bad fits" for the culture, or without any reasoning at all. HR will freely admit this when asked and acknowledges the difficulty in filling roles within this division due to the reputation it has among philanthropy on the West coast.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Unfortunately, the culture is just too entrenched to give much in the way of advice to management. It would take the likes of Zuckerberg to withdraw his account for them to change, and sadly, that is not likely to happen.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Brilliant talent wasted with long hours and heavy workloads.

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

    I worked at Silicon Valley Community Foundation full-time

    Pros

    This foundation is doing incredible things, largely because of the amazing talent it is able to attract. They also provide various training opportunities and even have an employee committee for health and wellness. Staff events are fun and meant to serve as a break from the fast-paced working environment. This organization also seems to burn brighter and brighter every year in terms of achievement and status in the nonprofit community.

    Cons

    Most of those amazing individuals are over-tasked with projects, portfolios and other miscellaneous items that either detract from their primary job description or cause burnout. Management does seem to be attentive to hearing from staff, but little to nothing is done to remedy the long hours and heavy workloads. Also, mid-to-upper-level staff are expected to be on-call via email 24/7 and tend to work more than 40 hours per week, but this is never explicitly stated. Even hourly staff put in great deals of overtime, though it is frowned upon.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Instead of piling more work on an already taxed staff, try hiring more administrative and coordinator positions to share the workload and promote an even greater atmosphere of teamwork. Really listen to your employees' concerns and try to advocate for them, not just note down on paper to file away. Acknowledge that there is too much for too few staff to handle, and take steps to ensure the brilliant minds you have hired want to continue working there and contributing their knowledge.

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

    Change Favoritism, Over-Management, and Heavy Workload

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

    I worked at Silicon Valley Community Foundation part-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    The staff is highly competent and smart. Most truly enjoy what they do and care for the mission of fostering philanthropy. The main office is centrally located along the Peninsula/Silicon Valley and each work space is comfortable, modern and clean. Benefits are the best I've received from a nonprofit employer.

    Cons

    Your experience truly depends on your relationship with your supervisor. Promotions are rare but occur if you are willing to go above and beyond your job description AND be your boss' pet. Internal pay equity is extremely off - job postings for new employees post higher salaries than current, longer-term employees. There are also too many levels of management and a pervasive acceptance of a micro-managing style of management. Some processes are in place to maintain the high integrity and professionalism expected from the community foundation but most work-flow processes are frustratingly slow and just foster distrust and fear of making mistakes.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    HR needs to respond to employees' concerns and not side with management as frequently. Fair treatment and employee empowerment can go a long way. Managers need to recognize and support the success of all their reporting employees. Simply announcing completed projects at monthly staff meetings is not enough recognition. Foster a work environment where employees feel comfortable asking for days off and for a raise.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  6.  

    great place to work

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

    I have been working at Silicon Valley Community Foundation as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    SVCF has wonderful staff, an excellent corporate culture, and outstanding ethics. I've only seen positive things here, which is why I'd love to be a permanent employee. The people here are very, very well qualified for their positions, and there's an emphasis on delivering high-quality work. I love having the proper equipment and software to do my job effectively, and my boss is wonderful to work for.

    Cons

    Some people are overworked; other than that, I haven't seen any negatives yet.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  7. 5 people found this helpful  

    A Culture of Fear

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

    I worked at Silicon Valley Community Foundation part-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Four weeks of PTO, volunteer time-off, smart co-workers (the individual contributors), nice office setting, interesting donors with interesting causes

    Cons

    Although upper management promotes a "culture of candor" and says they encourage employee feedback and questions, this simply is not true. Unfortunately, it's more of a culture of fear. If an employee speaks up to question a process, a decision, or anyone in authority, they are quickly ridiculed and even publicly humiliated in staff or division meetings. There is also no true transparent process for promotions, with perceived favorites of the "chiefs" usually being promoted (without having to interview or apply for positions), often after having only worked at the foundation for mere months.

    The three chiefs who report directly to the CEO are afraid of him and tend to act more as "bobble-heads" than as true leaders and managers. Everyone is afraid of the CEO and making him mad. Employees are truly seen as replaceable, and the turn-over rate is extremely high. More than 80% of the employees have worked there less than one year. HR has little power to address the real issue, the chiefs. One of the chiefs is extremely insecure and will likely be sued for sexual harassment one day. There might be hope, one day, for the foundation, after the four top managers leave.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Respect all employees. Embrace the word community in community foundation and show compassion and concern for both your internal and external communities. The nonprofit community simply doesn't care that you hold $2 billion in assets. What are you doing for the community?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  8. 5 people found this helpful  

    Overworked staff with Rude, abusive leadership

    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Silicon Valley Community Foundation full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Good employee benefits for a nonprofit, Very committed colleagues that believe in the mission

    Cons

    Board is not informed of high staff turnover, leadership claims that staff is like a family but blatantly abuses staff. My supervisors took personal anger out on me for no reason, dismissed my ideas in meetings, and was often rude and critical of my work, while offering no constructive ways to improve it.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be honest with board about staff turnover. Invest more in professional development and do more than monthly coffee & pastries for staff.

  9.  

    Great place to work if you are willing to work hard

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Mountain View, CA

    I have been working at Silicon Valley Community Foundation

    Pros

    Opportunities for advancement, solid mission, hard-working co-workers

    Cons

    Expected to work many hours, very high standards, lack of major resources to invest in professional development

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Acknowledge that many staff members are overworked and not compensated in several very easy to offer fringe benefits.

    Recommends
  10.  

    Best Non profit I've worked at.

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

    I have been working at Silicon Valley Community Foundation full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great people and sincere people

    Cons

    possible can be better pay

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hold Chiefs Accountable if warranted

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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