I have been working at Liberty Hill full-time (More than 5 years)
Working at Liberty Hill enables me to be part of a much larger movement striving to advance equality and justice for all people. Employees come from diverse walks of life, bringing those experiences together for the common goal of social justice.
Like any other employer in L.A. commuting in the city can be challenging. However, Liberty Hill does have policies that allow for some telecommuting and flexible work schedules depending on your position.
I loved working with grantees and my coworkers who believed in the mission. All discussions were about how to make L.A. a better place for low-income people of color. Time-off policies were great and my supervisors were very understanding when I needed to take time off for personal reasons. They always supported and mentored me and continue to do so since then. Work-life balance was great and I was given a raise within the first year.
The foundation is constantly needing to fundraise because they aren't endowed so that means that some years there aren't as many staff personnel needed to do all the work. However they made an attempt to hire someone as soon as they were able to secure some extra funding. I suppose this is typical of many nonprofits.
I worked at Liberty Hill full-time
The work-life balance is pretty good - I seldom took my work home with me.
A generous paid vacation package, including Fridays off in August.
Pretty much all of the staff believes in the mission and wants to do good, and there have been many clear, tangible social justice successes made possible by Liberty Hill.
If you're interested in a job at Liberty Hill, be wary of the red flags throughout the interview process. When you're pressed for your salary history, note that you are competing with management from day one. When you go to your third interview with the same people, note that it takes FAR too long for things to get done there. When you get asked the same questions for each of those three interviews, note that management has a strict set of rules that doesn't seem to actually benefit the organization.
I have no doubt that everybody at Liberty Hill - from the CEO on down - wants the organization to be a good one. However, there is far too much of a culture of heirarchy, micro-managing and distrust for any of that to be a reality, and the workplace suffers for it.
Despite it's progressive mission, Liberty Hill runs like something out of Dilbert. Although most of the staff is tremendously talented, they are not empowered or given the latitude to make their own decisions. Instead, everything must be run by a manager, who must then wait to share the information at the bi-weekly directors' team meeting. Often the directors won't reach any agreement or they simply don't have time to discuss so the idea slowly dies. And even when managers seem to like an idea, they seem unwilling to accept that their staff is more expert on that topic than they are, so staff must slog through trying to explain technical specifics to management instead of being given the freedom to implement good ideas on their own.
This is partly due to a culture of distrust - there are rifts between employees and departments because each decision is made behind closed doors. And behind those doors, there's a whole lot of finger-pointing. Communications blames Finance, Finance blames Development, Development blames the CEO and so on. What is wholly lacking is the ability for any of the management to admit their flaws - any constructive criticism is met with defensiveness and sometimes even retaliation. In one particularly bad instance, an entire department was railroaded by management simply for raising extremely valid concerns about an awful supervisor. It's no wonder the workplace is eerily quiet - say the wrong thing and you risk several surprise meetings with management and strikes against you on your performance review.
Because of the micromanaging and the inability to move forward, workers
push themselves harder and harder and never see forward progress. I have never worked so hard to accomplish so little. The workplace is infinitely more stressful than it needs to be.
Beyond all this, there isn't much of a ladder to climb within the organization. Instead of promoting their own expertise from within, Liberty Hill shells out huge sums to outside consultants to tell them what the entire staff already knew about why the organization isn't running as well as it likes. Higher-up positions are typically brought in from the outside instead of being promoted from within, most likely because few people want to stick around long enough to get that promotion - the turnover rate was easily double that of anywhere else I've worked.
Lastly, be wary of any glowing reviews shortly after this one is posted. There's one very negative review on this site, and just days later it was followed up with a 5-star review that reads more like marketing copy than honest employee feedback.
Advice to Management
Relax. Admit your flaws and be willing to change. Believe in your staff.
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Liberty Hill is the nerve center for Los Angeles' progressive movement. All major community organizing groups in Southern California has ties to Liberty Hill in one form or another. They understand the movement, both its importance and challenges, and works hard to support it in the most strategic and efficient way. I've read in many studies that Los Angeles, in many ways, serves as a model for new community organizing in the 21st century. Liberty Hill is at the forefront of that fight for justice and equity in LA.
I worked for the organization for a few years and it is a great place to work. I learned so much about Los Angeles' progressive community and was inspired by the work that they do as well as the work they aim to support out on the ground. Their work/life balance philosophy is ideal for all employers. Management is very generous to their employees, yet they expect nothing but excellent work in return. This is a fair trade off.
Since Liberty Hill is a community foundation, it has to raise its own funding. Given the economic climate, the aging of their progressive donor base, and the general struggle of the non-profit industry, the organization has done an good job in keeping itself afloat. Yet, this is not without costs. Salaries can get stagnant and turnover is fairly high. One who gets into this line of work should expect this.
Advice to Management
Continue to fight the good fight. To do that, please continue to hire the right people for the job.
I worked at Liberty Hill full-time (More than 10 years)
Working at Liberty Hill puts you at the center of the most politically sophisticated conversations in Los Angeles. It's an unbelievably valuable experience. A kind of grad school education you'd never get from school and the chance to be part of a unique organization working across class, race, issue and geography and transforming communities across Los Angeles. Awesome!
Like most nonprofits, Liberty Hill has lean years. Liberty Hill is a "foundation" but that doesn't mean it's got a big fat endowment to cushion financial ups and downs. That means budgets aren't what anyone would like. If you're not ready for that, don't work in the nonprofit sector!
Work/life balance is generally good.
Generous vacation/sick time.
Liberty Hill used to be a great place to work, but the new leadership under Shane Goldsmith is ruining the organization. The culture is one of fear where employees are micromanaged and all decisions are made at the top with no input from the employees that are actually doing the work. The new leadership has failed to present a clear vision and there is no strategy. The leadership is insulating themselves from criticism and surrounding themselves with "yes men." In the past year, we have had 50% turnover and lost a great deal of institutional knowledge. We have been slow to fill these vacancies, with some positions not being re-hired for at all. This has caused the employees left on staff to take on additional jobs, but with little to no increase in salary. Salaries for mid and entry level staff are typically below market and no cost of living raises are given. Staff development is non-existent and no thought is given to employees' career trajectories or goals. Management knows that turnover is high and morale is low, but they are making no meaningful attempt to solve this problem.
Advice to Management
Recognize that you are not doing a good job and create an honest dialogue with your employees on the changes that are needed.
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