Business & Real Estate

SVCF selects president after board search

The Silicon Valley Community Foundation Board of Directors recently named Nicole Taylor the organization’s new president and chief executive officer.

Officials on the Board Search Committee said Taylor is a leader who brings together a background in Bay Area philanthropy, nonprofit administration and fundraising with experience in both the private and public sectors. Foundation officials noted that Taylor embodies their values of “courage, collaboration, accountability and more.” Taylor will meet with all SVCF staff in the coming weeks.

Taylor’s eagerness to join SVCF at such an important point in its history speaks to her enthusiasm for serving the community, officials said. In a press release Oct. 22, the foundation admitted to having a “leadership crisis” last spring and was “working to redefine itself.” Former CEO Emmett Carson, who led the organization for more than a decade, was placed on leave after former employees went on record saying that the foundation’s environment allowed for bullying and sexual harassment.

“After allegations of workplace misconduct surfaced earlier this year, SVCF staff soon began examining existing problems and finding ways to fix them,” the blog post read. “An ambitious team of volunteers is embracing the opportunity to rebuild SVCF’s organizational culture with a focus on communication, transparency and trust.”

Taylor will be returning to the Bay Area from Arizona, where she served as vice president of the ASU Foundation. In that role, she oversaw principal giving, estate and gift planning, corporate and foundation relations, and annual giving. She also previously served as deputy vice president and dean of students at Arizona State University.

Taylor earned a bachelor’s in human biology and a master’s in education from Stanford University. She began her career as an educator in Oakland public schools. She served on the board of the Federal Reserve of San Francisco for six years and is currently a board member for Common Sense Media and the T. Gary and Kathleen Rogers Family Foundation.

After retaining international search firm Spencer Stuart in June, the foundation board’s CEO search committee sought input from staff and key community and philanthropic partners. The search process included soliciting guidance about the desired qualifications and characteristics of the new executive.

Taylor will officially begin in her role at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation Dec. 19. She will be working with Greg Avis, the foundation’s interim president and founding board chairman, during the transition period.

The board recognized Avis for his stewardship over the past months. Avis returned to the foundation during a difficult time – a time when there was a need to “heal and catalyze change” throughout the organization, said Samuel Johnson Jr., board chairman. With Avis’s leadership, the foundation took steps to improve its workplace culture and evaluate ways to enhance its service to the com- munity.

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