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Catholics for Choice

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Catholics for Choice

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Catholics for Choice Reviews

Updated Feb 8, 2021

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2.0
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  1. 4.0
    Former Employee

    Small Organization That Punches Above Its Weight

    Jul 14, 2019 - Senior Associate for Development in Washington, DC
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    The Work Itself: -Join a team of smart, capable people committed to reproductive freedom as both a principle of conscience and a lived reality; -Opportunity to work with and learn from large, institutional legacy donors within the reproductive rights arena as well as a modest but passionate individual donor group; -Engage with and learn from constituents around the United States, Latin America, Africa, Europe, and Asia from every sector of society (religious and lay activists; medical; legal; legislative; media; social services; etc.) and make real progress, even if victory itself remains on the horizon; -Genuine interest in intellectual discourse among staff exploring philosophical foundations of commitment to reproductive rights and strategies for advocacy; Culture, Salary, and Benefits: -Senior staff encourages use of vacation time and days off (which are generously allotted) and sincerely observes working hours (that is, there are high expectations to be at work on time, but there is no expectation or pressure to work from home or during off hours); not a "work through lunch" office; -Excellent health insurance policy for which management pays 100% premium; -In my experience, flexibility and genuine compassion accommodating health issues that affect work; -Earnest attempts by senior staff to evolve workplace culture pursuant to employee feedback; -Cost- and stigma-free access to emergency contraception at work; -Commuting benefits; 403b, FSA, Dependent Care, Dental, Vision, Life

    Cons

    The Work Itself: -As in every workplace, certain projects can be stressful and occasionally there are unrealistic ideas from management about the time required to produce materials that meet the high standards for which the organization is renowned (that being said, in my experience there was an understanding among all staff that occasional flare ups from leadership did not necessarily reflect poorly on junior staff or their performance -they were merely bumps in the road to be endured); -Some leadership have a brusque communication style that may not be a fit for all personalities (and may occasionally rankle anyone), but again, the understanding described above prevailed; -Oxford comma is verboten (depending on one's position in the serial comma wars, this could be a pro ;-) Culture, Salary, and Benefits: -I found the salary to be competitive with other non-profits, especially considering benefits, but if I were setting salaries, I'd give all non-senior staff a pay bump

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    2 people found this review helpful
  2. 1.0
    Former Employee, more than 1 year

    Run... (but check with current staff)

    Feb 8, 2021 - Program Associate 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    You'll get hands on experience, its a good first step into the repro movement, and there is a new CEO! Not sure what that means for the organization and if its helping morale, so check with current staff to see if things have changed. Things could be changing for the better or the status quo might be kept. (Hint: turnover is always a big indicator re the health and toxicity level of an organization). Benefits: 403b is offered, insurance costs are covered, 6 weeks paid parental leave.

    Cons

    Under the former leadership things were toxic... like extremely toxic. There was no trust, so much misogyny, racism, sexism, harassment, screaming, ableism, bullying... I mean it was a nonstop barrage of workplace abuse and violence. There are rules that made it very clear you are never to be trusted: 1) Staff have to sign in and out of the office, even for lunch...and might even need to email the entire office if you step out for a moment or go to a meeting. 2) No food at your desk (its done under the guise of not wanting bugs but its to keep track of and control you). 3) You have to pick a time slot to eat and stick to it - 12-1 or 1-2pm and you CANNOT eat anytime before or after 12-2pm. If you have a medical condition that might require you to eat more often, you won't be accommodated. 4) Staff can't speak to each other for a few minutes between things, you must be at your desk working otherwise your gathering will be broken up by your boss (depending on your boss, of course). 5) No funds for grabbing coffee with a colleague or peer at another organization. If so, you have pay out of pocket and even take PTO! 6) If you have to go to a medical appointment you cannot makeup the time, you automatically have to take PTO at 30 minute increments even if you always work late or if you only took 40 minutes, then that costs you 60 minutes of PTO. Morale has been low since at least 2014 when nearly the entire office turned over (and turned over twice more since then). Staff are screamed at and belittled regularly (might be that the person doing the screaming and yelling learned this from a former boss who did the same...). One staff member was pushed out for not sharing personal details of their lives that did not affect their work. The organization has published articles to make clear they are at odds with the reproductive justice movement (google: Why We Are and Must Remain ‘Pro-Choice’). Maybe under the new leadership they'll take a different stance? Who knows. It's great that the new leadership is a woman, a white woman, who hopefully won't remain at odds with Black and brown women who are leaders in repro. Parents, but more specifically mothers, are not supported and not really welcome. The only people who ever have children and can even remain employed are cis men. If you're planning on having children during the time you might be working here... just don't do it. Or plan to leave before you do. There is no support or real accommodation. Most staff who were pregnant had their babies and left soon after returning. This might change with having to work from home because of the pandemic, but prior, parents could not work from home and were frowned upon. (This really isn't unique to CFC since many other repro orgs are similar across the movement, but its good to know which ones are not supporting ppl who choose to become parents). As for benefits: 1) Leadership claims to pay for a platinum level plan but it barely covers medication and co-pays are high for medical visits. 2) Parental Leave - For a reproductive health organization the benefit 6 weeks paid, 6 weeks unpaid. One of the worst parental leave options in the movement and most parents leave after this time because they already know life will be challenging being a parent here. (Go speak to some former employees who are parents!). 3) Professional development - we didn't have any available to us, but doesn't mean that hasn't changed. 4) 403b - you had to wait a year for the organization to match and the match was a bit weak. Most organizations are moving to ensure benefits are vested as soon as you start. Do your research before you accept offers at organizations to see which benefits vest immediately. The organization is small, 12-15 people so keep that in mind when thinking about the culture. You can't hide in another division completely if things are toxic. Most staff are underpaid, assistants got paid starting at 30k even if they had an advanced degree. Not sure what the CEO is getting paid now, but the former CEO was getting paid over 200K with a $3M budget, meanwhile most junior level staff had to have a second job to survive in DC. DEI - Given the stance on repro justice organizations and leaders, there would never even be a consideration of diversity, inclusion, or equity let alone any commitment to anti-racism work a few years ago. Since leaving, I have not heard of the organization making a change in this area, but given the social unrest in the past year, this might move the organization to make a firm commitment and make changes to ensure all staff feel comfortable and safe bring their full selves to work! Again, depending on the department, some may feel comfortable, not sure if this is the case across the board. HR - there is none. There is an office manager type person who does their best but there isn't a formal HR department. I know several folks who had formal complaints with the previous office manager and it didn't make a difference (both staff and the former office manager left soon after). The person now is great at her job and has been in the role for years but I don't know what the process would be like if you have a formal complaint or issue. Check with staff now to see what the process is like. Obviously do your due diligence and find out what is going on at the organization now and in the specific department you might be applying to work in. Speak to former colleagues that left in the recent past but also speak to staff who work at the organization now.

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    Catholics for Choice Response

    Administrator

    Thank you for taking the time to write this review. As the new president of Catholics for Choice, I want to assure you that we are working hard to create a culture of mutual respect, creativity and affirmation that is informed by feminist principles. One of my priorities for CFC is bringing the same dedication to the health, well-being, and empowerment of our employees that we do to our mission of reproductive rights, health and justice. The values that we demand externally must be reflected internally, so we are doing a complete review and overhaul of our policies and procedures. As part of that commitment, we are planning a full-year, all-staff training on shifting from anti-Blackness to pro-Blackness, from BIPOC erasure to BIPOC centering. I have asked our junior staff people of color to lead this effort. We intend to take every possible opportunity to engage in meaningful work with colleagues in the Reproductive Justice movement, with a specific focus on uplifting and amplifying the voices, stories, and contributions of marginalized communities, including LGBTQ people, disabled people, and religious minorities. This work has already begun at Catholics for Choice, but it will take time to do this with intentionality and integrity. I am committed for the long haul. I want to thank you for your bravery and honesty in writing this review. --Jamie Manson President of Catholics for Choice

  3. 2.0
    Former Employee

    Great mission, toxic office culture

    Dec 10, 2017 - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Unique and important organization with a long history and lots of potential. Clear communications manual and talking points to help staff maintain consistency, especially on some of the tougher issues.

    Cons

    Below market salaries, lack of clear strategic vision, and intensely controlling executive management creates a toxic work environment. Highly inflexible leave and flex time policies are especially hard on employees with health concerns and/or families. Staff turns over almost annually as a result. I felt very insecure about my performance nearly every day since the standards seemed to constantly be changing and colleagues were let go due to personality clashes, not performance.

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    1 person found this review helpful

    Catholics for Choice Response

    Administrator

    Dear Former Employee, Thank you for taking time to provide feedback. We very much appreciate the Pros you noted, and are developing action plans to address the Cons. We sincerely want CFC’s workplace to be more positive, cohesive and encouraging. We are committed to making as many improvements as possible towards this end. By the way we have adjusted employee salaries. We plan to stay on top of that going forward. Thank you again, for your feedback.

  4. 2.0
    Former Employee

    Important work, but poor leadership

    Oct 28, 2017 - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    Vast majority of staff is smart, dedicated, and cares about both the mission of Catholics for Choice and the wellbeing of fellow employees. Important, unique, and interesting mission. Decent benefits.

    Cons

    Upper level management is toxic, which contributes to high turnover rate. Extremely inflexible scheduling and telework options.

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    Catholics for Choice Response

    Administrator

    Dear Former Employee, Thank you for taking time to provide feedback. We very much appreciate the Pros you noted and have begun to address some of the specific Cons you raised. We recognize the importance of making necessary improvements so that CFC’s management will be a more positive asset to our organization. Turnover is a struggle for many DC nonprofits for a variety of complex reasons but we are committed to looking at innovative ways to address that and make the sort of changes needed. Thank you again, for your input.

  5. 2.0
    Former Employee

    Important work, not a great environment

    Mar 7, 2019 - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    The work is tough but rewarding. The staff is close and mostly supportive.

    Cons

    - Poor leadership, toxic work culture, high turnover

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    Catholics for Choice Response

    Administrator

    Thank you for recent feedback. We are continuing the work that we started in 2018 to improve our employee experience and work environment. We are committed to making things better.

  6. 1.0
    Former Employee, more than 1 year

    Ideals A+; Everything Else: F

    Jun 27, 2018 - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Recommend
    CEO Approval
    Business Outlook

    Pros

    -Good Ideals -Great History -Good mission -Smart Individuals: Certain individuals are also very kind. Most are not. They form cliques or keep to themselves. I was lucky enough to be an individual that most people enjoyed. I have seen other employees given the cold shoulder for no reason.

    Cons

    -Toxic Upper Management, No professionalism: No one in an upper level management is on your side. They will not have your backs. Some of them are in conflict with one another and do not get along personally and it bleeds into the working environment. They do not take any constructive feedback and instead just blame those under them who are given too little direction or on the opposite end are micromanaged to the point where they do not gain the skills necessary to improve. I once witnessed a coworker explain to their manager how they felt like they were being mistreated and looked down upon by the manager. In the middle of the sentence the manager very rudely and loudly cuts them off and said "I feel like this conversation is not going to a good place. I need you to finish the work now." That coworker was very publicly fired later without giving their side of the story to the President of the non-profit. CEO/President: Charismatic, but inflexible. Does not understand how modern media, policy, or discourse works. Does not know how to manage people two levels below him. Toots his own horn. Probably reading this and having a good laugh right now. Does not take constructive criticism and problems are everyone else's fault. Will side with upper level management without hearing you out 100% of the time. -HR: There is no HR. Recently the office seems to have been responding to the other posts on here claiming they revamped the old policy which was you talk to your manager (who could have been the one you had conflicts with) and then you talk to the President who will take the manager's side. Even with recent changes the chain is effectively the same. There really has not been substantial change and they refuse to hire an independent HR staff with oversight. -Performance Reviews: Their metrics are outdated and make no sense. They do not know what makes a successful non-profit and what makes a successful, hardworking employee. -Compensation: Below market average across the board even for a non-profit in DC. Recent compensation changes have not increased the base salary substantially. Still below non-profit market average. -Benefits: PTO is near impossible to use and highly looked down upon even though certain members of upper management seemed to be fond of using theirs with relative frequency. No flexibility to telecommute and no flexibility in time either. Contributions to retirement happen only a year after the start date, which few people achieve because of high turnover. No vision insurance which is astounding. They do have fully paid basic healthcare which is the only good thing about the benefits here. -Management: Upper level Management does not know how to manage or take constructive feedback. -Paranoia: Employees have often feared being let go for arbitrary reasons. Not unheard of. See previous example.

    1 person found this review helpful

    Catholics for Choice Response

    Administrator

    Dear Former Employee, Thank you for taking time to provide feedback. We very much appreciate the Pros you noted, and are developing action plans to address the Cons. We sincerely want CFC’s workplace to be more positive, cohesive and encouraging. We are saddened that your work experience with us was not a good one and hope your future endeavors are more positive. We have made changes and we will make many more as we are committed to making as many improvements as possible towards a better workplace. We do not have a big enough workforce to warrant a full time dedicated HR position but we do have expert HR advice and we are listening to it and acting on it going forward. While social media is not an appropriate forum to discuss individual cases, some of the information presented in your post is inaccurate. We do listen to and evaluate feedback. Thank you again.

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