SVCF Picks Taylor To Right Ship

Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) has unveiled a new president and chief executive officer a little more than four months since pushing its long-time chief executive out after complaints of a hostile workplace environment.

Nicole Taylor, currently vice president of the ASU Foundation in Tempe, Ariz., will join the SVCF on December 19. She replaces Emmett Carson who was pushed out this past June after complaints to the board of abuse by senior staff and high turnover was reported in the media.

It is a return to the Bay Area for Taylor who spent more than 15 years with the East Bay Community Foundation in Oakland, Calif., eventually serving as its president and CEO for six years. She served on the board of the Federal Reserve of San Francisco for six years and is a board member for Common Sense Media and the T. Gary and Kathleen Rogers Family Foundation. She also previously served as deputy vice president and dean of students at Arizona State University.

Prior to ASU, Nicole was the associate vice provost of student affairs and dean of community engagement and diversity at Stanford University, after serving as president and CEO of Thrive Foundation for Youth in Silicon Valley.

Taylor said via a statement released by the SVCF: “I am thrilled to be coming to SVCF and back to Silicon Valley. My roots are in the Bay Area nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, and I have lived in this region most of my adult life.” The statement continued, “Silicon Valley is a region of contrasts, one in which deep social challenges are often masked by the high-profile innovation culture. There is important work to be done in partnership with our donors, our community organizations and our civic and business leaders, and I am excited about the issues and challenges the organization is looking to tackle.”

Carson had been with the organization for 14 years. He previously declined comment but released a statement upon his resignation this past June. “Recent events have brought to light that in the pursuit of these ambitious goals, some staff felt they were not sufficiently heard. Others felt that they could not trust that they could rely on the multiple systems in place, including an anonymous hotline, to report complaints or concerns and have them fully and fairly addressed.  I am sorry that this occurred and regret any role that I may have played in contributing to these feelings.”

SVCF had hired the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner LLP which conducted 82 interviews, primarily of current and former employees and board members. BSF also reviewed 45 memoranda. The firm’s investigators interviewed people in a range of positions in every SVCF division, with differing tenures of employment and levels of leadership.

Additional controversy came when the San Francisco Chronicle reported that as much as $4.5 billion of SVCF assets was in volatile digital currencies. The organization had reported assets of $7.2 billion on its 2016 federal Form 990 but announced $14.5 billion during 2017. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the 65 percent increase was from donor deposits of digital currencies.