Making the right match: SVCF's nonprofit board placement work

Board Meeting

SVCF helps business executives identify their ideal nonprofit board

Compatibility is important in every relationship, even the business kind. As a service to its corporate clients, Silicon Valley Community Foundation helps executives find nonprofit boards that best align to their interests. The process is straightforward but customized: The SVCF team interviews the individual first to find out the person’s interests and skills, provides guidance on the duties of a board member, then researches nonprofits for potential matches, says Juliana Deans, senior manager of corporate responsibility at SVCF. 

A personalized process
Mark Asher, director of corporate strategy at Adobe, is one Silicon Valley executive who’s gone through SVCF’s board placement process. 

“The process primarily emphasizes one’s interests and passions, which I think is critical to a successful placement,” Asher says. “In my case, I was looking for a nonprofit that focused on children’s needs and education, and served the local community in San Jose.” 

As he was evaluating his choices, Asher relied on SVCF as a sounding board. “As I got closer to making a final choice, we discussed topics like the dynamics of the existing board, the performance of the executive director and the overall impact of the organization on the community it served.” 

After Asher narrowed down his choices to two finalists, SVCF facilitated introductions to each organization’s chair and executive director so he could learn more about their goals. 

Benefits beyond the boardroom
Adobe, Asher’s employer, encourages and empowers employees to create positive change in their communities. 

“It’s important that we mobilize the talent and skills of our employees to address critical social issues,” says Michelle Crozier, director of sustainability and social impact at Adobe. “The board service program is one of the ways we’re able to do that.” 

Being active on a nonprofit board can be a learning experience for executives and give them a deeper understanding of philanthropic work and civic stewardship. Asher says serving on a nonprofit board is incredibly rewarding for him. “It’s amazing to watch your contributions blossom into real impact.” 

This story was original published in the SVCF Magazine Fall 2018 issue.