Silicon Valley Community Foundation Reviews | Glassdoor

Silicon Valley Community Foundation Reviews

Updated August 30, 2018
45 reviews

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1.9
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Emmett D. Carson
28 Ratings

45 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (4)

    "Amazing people and fast pace"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Grants Administrator in Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Grants Administrator in Mountain View, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Silicon Valley Community Foundation full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Incredibly talented people, awesome benefits for nonprofit: dental, vision, retirement, sabbatical, telecommuting and they just announced paid parental leave, free drinks and snacks.

    Cons

    The hours can get long, outdated technology

    Advice to Management

    hire more people, everyone is at max


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Great foundation working on difficult local issues"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Silicon Valley Community Foundation full-time

    Pros

    Departments and Divisions work together to accomplish the set goals of the Foundation, good inter-team dynamics, fast paced

    Cons

    Past missteps in oversight of the Foundation's C-level by the Board of Directors have cast a shadow on what was a great Foundation to work for

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Weak Organization"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director
    Current Employee - Director
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Silicon Valley Community Foundation full-time

    Pros

    The employees are the benefit of this org. They are passionate, smart and committed to community. At least most of them are. There are weak seeds but that’s unavoidable.

    Cons

    The senior management both past and present. This is an org that rewards loyalty over skill or those good at taking credit for other people’s hard work. No transparency on how promotions are awarded in some departments. No training on how to manage leading to terrible leadership. Bad hires due to constant turnover. Mediocre work and staff are celebrated and rewarded. It’s disturbing. Disproportionate work loads and low morale. The list goes on. Would never advise someone to work here. Not someone that is mission driven and desiring of an inclusive work culture. No. The Board got off from the investigation that led to the permanent removal of their terrible CEO and CDO. But the fact remains all of the above was allowed for too long because they don’t care. If you’re interested in doing good work and working alongside strong professionals - look elsewhere.

    Advice to Management

    Take trainings are how to manage, respect your staff, be inclusive of different professional backgrounds and races. Stop rewarding mediocre staff because you think they are loyal and will stay - ie stay in their lane and not challenge the effectiveness of your work.


  4. "Review"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Silicon Valley Community Foundation full-time

    Pros

    The opportunity to connect with interesting issues at a local, state, national and international level.

    Cons

    Challenging working environment and culture, but new management may make all the difference.


  5. Helpful (27)

    "Failure of leadership, failure of vision"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Silicon Valley Community Foundation full-time

    Pros

    - Really enjoyed working with most of my peers...smart, funny, dedicated people
    - Access to some interesting events
    - Solid benefits

    Cons

    - Incompetent leadership
    - Major firings happened regularly without explanation
    - Fixed mindset...not a learning organization, making same mistakes repeatedly
    - Phony "culture of candor," can't speak truth to power and most ideas get dismissed out of hand
    - Outdated technology
    - No mission outside of being the largest community foundation in the world. Though its philanthropy advisors try to encourage donors to actually make grants, SVCF ultimately serves little purpose beyond helping the 1% evade taxes by putting money into charitable brokerage accounts. The result is increased wealth inequality and fewer dollars going to either nonprofits or public services. (Exceptions: Corporate Responsibility team, where money is granted out far more regularly, and Community Impact team, which does real good in the Bay Area on multiple fronts. However, Corporate Responsibility portfolio represents tiny portion of overall assets, and Community Impact budget is pathetically small for a now $13.5 billion institution.)

    Advice to Management

    You have this obsession with being the biggest community foundation in the world...but for what? That isn't inspiring. That isn't why people get into nonprofit work. Why should the organization be so proud about how much money sits in its accounts and doesn't actually go to benefit nonprofits? It makes no sense. It's an incredibly misguided measure of success that mainly serves to stroke your own egos. Can't you see that? Can't you see that when you brag about being the biggest and the best in front of employees who are overworked, under-resourced and underappreciated, it leads to resentment, not pride?

    The Chief of the Business, Development and Brand division does not care about anyone under her management. Everyone is replaceable. You're either with her or against her - there's no room for disagreement. She has no qualms about disparaging you in front of your peers and can barely tolerate any employee she considers "less than," which is just about everyone. She is constantly saying inappropriate things. I almost feel sorry for her. If the research is accurate that abusive people were once abused themselves, she must have a rough history, indeed.

    The CEO is a complete phony. He plays at being a social justice advocate, yet censored SVCF employees' social media accounts throughout the 2016 election as outrage grew over Trump's extremist views. When Philando Castile was shot, he said we should have sympathy for the police officers. All in the name of not scaring wealthy conservatives away from contributing to SVCF's coffers - even though their views flew directly in the face of the work SVCF was doing on the ground to support immigrants, public schools, and affordable housing. It was only after Trump got elected that he began to change his tune. But don't be fooled, the man is an opportunist, and he will squash criticism wherever he sees it. There are harassment allegations, as well...but that's someone else's story to tell.


  6. Helpful (9)

    "Sad to say"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Silicon Valley Community Foundation full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    amazing co-workers and stakeholders, some of the best of my life

    Cons

    Was there during the transition to Emmett Carson and his first mate Mari Ellen. Bullied and demeaned others and laughed about it. It was known that Emmett enjoyed Mari Ellen's brash language and bullying. Both mocked and demeaned those around them. Very superior and everyone else was inferior, and this passed through to my manager, hired by him. Had felt so proud and engaged with my work and left because I was completely demoralized. Never before or since had such a crushing experience. Treated as unimportant and replaceable, negative impact on my career.

    Advice to Management

    Glad things are shaking up. The board should not have let this culture go on as long as it did. They had to know.


  7. Helpful (11)

    "worked there full time for over 2.5 years"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Former Employee in Mountain View, CA
    Former Employee - Former Employee in Mountain View, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Silicon Valley Community Foundation full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Pros

    Incredibly talented people, awesome benefits for nonprofit: dental, vision, retirement, sabbatical, telecommuting and they just announced paid parental leave, free drinks and snacks.

    Cons

    Incompetent leadership
    - Major firings happened regularly without explanation
    - Fixed mindset...not a learning organization, making same mistakes repeatedly
    - Phony "culture of candor," can't speak truth to power and most ideas get dismissed out of hand
    - Outdated technology
    - No mission outside of being the largest community foundation in the world. Though its philanthropy advisors try to encourage No mission outside of being the largest community foundation in the world. Though its philanthropy advisors try to encourage donors to actually make grants, SVCF ultimately serves little purpose beyond helping the 1% evade taxes by putting money into charitable brokerage accounts. The result is increased wealth inequality and fewer dollars going to either nonprofits or public services. (Exceptions: Corporate Responsibility team, where money is granted out far more regularly, and Community Impact team, which does real good in the Bay Area on multiple fronts. However, Corporate Responsibility portfolio represents tiny portion of overall assets, and Community Impact budget is pathetically small for a now $13.5 billion institution.)

    Advice to Management

    All Executive leadership needs to be dismissed to effect positive change otherwise it will eventually close its doors. I would not Donate nor Grant anything to this company. Marie Ellen was a bully and did not care who was around to see her mistreatment of co workers including HR! Complaints were filled but nothing ever came of it including mine.

  8. Helpful (20)

    "This place is a scam!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Silicon Valley Community Foundation full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Some very intelligent and talented individuals.
    Decent Benefits.

    Cons

    Management does not care, some believe they are superior to others, but they are just insecure, pathetic, sad excuse of a human. Way too much gossip... I mean WAY TOO MUCH, more than anything I have personally witnessed. Everyone blames everyone if there is a mistake, and very few can properly do their work. Way too many fake/ two-faced workers, overly cheerful in your face but as soon as you turn away they want to crumble with their demons. Favoritism is also the norm, whoever can be faker will be favored. Extremely unorganized and almost everything is a mess. People get fired and quit ALL THE TIME, and I wonder why. There is no loyalty.

    The whole nonprofit is a big scam that just wants more, more, and more donors. They will repeatedly brainwash everyone that it is a philanthropy, but I have worked well over ten years with all types of philanthropies around the world, and this place is nothing more than a money making machine.


  9. Helpful (7)

    "Interesting place to work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Silicon Valley Community Foundation full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The organization is in great position to make a positive social impact in the world. There are some very good people at SVCF who want to do the right things to transform lives.

    Cons

    The internal culture is interesting. If you are interested in working here, ask questions about the Glassdoor comments throughout the interview process.

    Advice to Management

    Read the comments on Glassdoor and address the issues.


  10. Helpful (29)

    "If donors knew the truth, they would not give their money to SVCF"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Silicon Valley Community Foundation full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    This place attracts very hardworking, intelligent, and driven people. To work among them and learn from my teammates was the best part of the job. As nonprofits go, the benefits were standard to good. The pay is also good, but as a colleague once said, we’re paid in blood money. For such a toxic workplace, the salaries should be much higher.

    Cons

    Leadership creates a toxic culture that permeates into every facet of SVCF's work. I could talk about how supervisors have no support and go completely unchecked, that HR is trusted by no one, the multiple sexual harassment suits filed against Mari Ellen Loijens, or the many ways in which the culture at SVCF is oppressive. But that all comes back to leadership.

    Emmett and Mari Ellen have created an organization known for its mistreatment of employees. They silence people - they silence feedback, good ideas, and innovation, which holds the organization back. HR, the Board, and all of the donors are enabling leadership to do nothing to improve the situation or change the culture. Emmett proudly announces at staff meetings that perception is all that matters. If you look behind the curtain you will find a leader who only cares about growing SVCF’s assets at the expense of his staff or actually upholding the organization’s supposed mission. (Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that he’s making $1mil a year, so what does he care?)

    Advice to Management

    People are starting to notice. 85 staff have left SVCF since 1/1/16. Those talented people are now working elsewhere and spreading the word about how horrible SVCF is to work for. As I interviewed elsewhere, folks in HR had heard of SVCF’s reputation. I didn’t even need to explain why I wanted to leave, it was understood. The turnover affects the donor experience, charitable impact, and the organization’s sustainability. SVCF has lost big individual and corporate donors because of it. Donors should hold SVCF accountable and the board should listen to the cries of staff and make the necessary changes in leadership.

    Emmett and Mari Ellen are detrimental to the future of SVCF. While they are leading the foundation nothing will change.


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