Update from Silicon Valley Community Foundation Board of Directors

Over recent months, current and former employees of Silicon Valley Community Foundation came forward with accounts of workplace harassment and bullying by SVCF’s senior business development executive and raised concerns that the organization fostered an unhealthy workplace environment. These allegations described conditions contrary to SVCF’s core values, vision, and work. When these allegations were raised in April 2018, we, the SVCF Board of Directors, accepted the resignation of the executive accused of misconduct, hired Boies Schiller Flexner as independent counsel to investigate the allegations, and formed a Special Committee of the Board to oversee the investigation. In addition, we placed our President & CEO on paid administrative leave pending investigation results, appointed Greg Avis as Interim President & CEO, created another Special Committee of the Board to support his transition, and accepted the resignation of our head of human resources.

The investigation is now complete, and we are taking the following immediate actions:

  • Investigative Report: Today, we are releasing Boies Schiller Flexner’s investigation report outlining their findings and resulting recommendations. At our last board meeting on June 14, 2018, we reviewed the confidential results of the entire investigation. The investigation found that many allegations from current and former employees were substantiated. SVCF clearly failed to provide a safe and inclusive workplace environment for its employees. The Board recognizes that this failure happened under our watch, and that many current and former staff were deeply impacted. We sincerely thank all who shared information with our investigators, as well as their honest and constructive feedback on how to improve SVCF’s workplace. As we share this report, we are acutely aware of our great responsibility to act on all of the report’s recommendations. These include changes to SVCF’s policies and procedures, as well as board governance, committee structures and reporting. We are committed to fully and expeditiously undertaking these actions. Although not the focus of the investigation, the investigation did not find any financial improprieties at SVCF.
     
  • Leadership: As part of the investigation, we asked Boies Schiller Flexner to advise on the continued employment of our CEO, Dr. Emmett Carson. Today, Dr. Carson will end his employment with SVCF after more than a decade of service, effective immediately. This will enable SVCF to continue to rebuild its workplace environment and execute its mission as effectively as possible. We have hired the national search firm, Spencer Stuart, to conduct a nationwide search for a new, full-time President & CEO of SVCF. Greg Avis will continue in his role as Interim President & CEO.

The unacceptable workplace behavior that took place at SVCF as outlined in the investigative report should never have happened and there is no excuse for it. We are deeply sorry to our entire community, especially our past and present employees.

SVCF’s philanthropic mission is to advance creative solutions to address society’s most pressing challenges. We are proud of all the SVCF team has accomplished and every staff member’s hard work. We owe our success to the exceptional work, support and contributions from our entire community, including our employees, nonprofit partners, and donors. While this has been a very difficult period for SVCF, we have been touched and inspired by the near universal expression of belief in our mission and desire to see SVCF succeed and thrive by participants in the investigation. We are dedicated to restoring our community’s trust in SVCF and look forward to our next chapter together.

To view the Boies Schiller Flexner report, click here.