Q&A with Melany Duval, new vice president of development at SVCF

On Sept. 11, Silicon Valley Community Foundation welcomed Melany Duval to the team as vice president of development.

Melany Duval
Melany Duval
Vice President, Development
Silicon Valley Community Foundation

An advancement executive with over 20 years of experience, Melany brings a strong fundraising background and management experience to SVCF. Most recently, Melany served as the senior associate dean and associate vice president of health sciences development at USC. In this role, Melany provided development leadership for the Keck School of Medicine and Keck Hospital, USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, the USC School of Pharmacy, and clinical departments and research institutes and raised funds for initiatives in support of the University’s successful $6 billion campaign.

More details about Melany's background are outlined in her staff bio, but we wanted to get to know her a little better through a Q&A:

SVCF: Welcome to SVCF! How have the first few weeks been? 

Melany Duval: In a word, “EXHILIRATING!” I knew that SVCF was a dynamic organization, with dedicated staff and visionary leadership and an array of opportunities to help the community and many different types of organizations and constituents. It has been a great onboarding process! The pace at which SVCF gets things done for the community is tremendous. Already I’ve joined my team on exciting projects, like disaster relief efforts, continuing education programs for professional advisors, and celebrating SVCF’s Nonprofit Investment Partners – overall, the first three weeks has been a great start to my tenure at SVCF. 

Has there been anything new or surprising you've learned about SVCF so far?

As new member of the team there are many new things that I have learned in my first few weeks. A few examples include learning about the wide range of special services offered by SVCF, the specific areas and rationale for SVCF’s grantmaking and learning about the special relationships with individuals and residents in the area. I am moved by some of the conversations I have had with donors and community members who are working with SVCF to dedicate their resources to help others. SVCF has responded to many projects in the region and around the world. I was surprised at how quickly we’ve been able to galvanize resources and support for partner organizations. The responsiveness of our donors, our team, and the services SVCF provides are remarkable! (And, I like that there are peanuts in the breakroom!) 

Why were you drawn to this position and SVCF? 

I was drawn to this position for three reasons: to lead, to learn and to serve. As the VP for development at an organization that’s providing visionary community leadership, addressing emerging challenges in innovative ways, and building and energizing a community of philanthropists who strengthen the common good provides me with a unique opportunity. I am excited to be leading a terrific team, to be learning innovative practices at SVCF from remarkable people throughout the organization, and I’m able to serve our community, region and world by helping people and organizations make their philanthropic aspirations a reality. I am excited to be on the SVCF team and looking forward to doing great things!  

We know you have great credentials, and a strong background in development. Can you share an example of an achievement or initiative from your background that helps you bring something special to your work at SVCF?

When I look back at my years in this profession, I am so grateful for the opportunities to meet amazing people from all walks of life. When I started my career, I had no previous experience. I wanted to immediately understand how to talk about the impact of philanthropy at every level. So, I reached out to as many people as I could and I watched how things worked: I talked to people, I asked questions, and most of all, I listened. That first experience changed my life and gave me the perspectives of gratitude, humility and confidence! Personally, I get a lot of energy helping individuals find ways to get involved with and support projects they truly care about. It has also been a joy to see many of the colleagues and young professionals that I have worked with over the years grow into leaders in the field. 

What are some areas you hope to focus on at SVCF, once you've settled in a bit more? 

There are significant services we offer at SVCF and I think we can develop best practices around articulating how we help make a donor’s philanthropic vision a reality. I would also like to tell more stories and share the impact that is being made by SVCF locally. We are fortunate to be located in a part of the world where there are tremendous resources and opportunities to address important challenges in our society. I’d like to strengthen our partnerships with philanthropists from all generations, business sectors, demographics and walks of life. As I get settled in my role, I would like to serve as a resource to my team and provide them with opportunities to continue to develop their own specific subject expertise.

Oh! Did I mention, we have a tremendous planned giving program here and we are actively recruiting a director of planned giving to provide leadership, technical expertise and work with interested parties on some very special gifts that often create a legacy for a family or an individual. Check out the job description for details!

How can people connect with you? 

I am learning about my new community and eager to meet people and connect. The Regional Meeting is just a few days away and will be a great opportunity to learn and connect with a number of friends and partners. 

Please reach out to me if you think SVCF can help you or a family member realize their philanthropic dreams or help create a culture of philanthropy at your organization. If you are interested in connecting with me and learning more about SVCF and our unique set of services, you can find me on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/melanyduval or you can email me at mduval@siliconvalleycf.org.