The Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s chief business, development and brand officer Mari Ellen Loijens has resigned, less than 24 hours after a lengthy exposé in the Chronicle of Philanthropy which detailed years of alleged verbal abuse levied at employees under her command.
The Foundation said in a statement it is still committed to completing an outside, independent investigation it launched this week:
The investigation into alleged incidents of misconduct will continue, and at the conclusion of that investigation SVCF will take whatever action is necessary to preserve the integrity of our organization. SVCF remains committed to further cultivating a safe and welcoming workplace.
The Chronicle talked to 19 former employees, half a dozen of whom went on the record, accusing Loijens of bullying them and others. A number of those people said they tried unsuccessfully to take their concerns to CEO Emmett Carson and to the Human Resources department.
Rebecca Dupras, a former VP for development who left last year, says she was warned when she was hired that Loijens would eventually turn on her, too — and that management would do nothing. "HR knew. I had conversations with the VP of HR pretty frequently, and she would say things like 'Yeah, well, we know how she is, but we just have to, like, manage around it,'" Dupras says.
One reason Loijens may have been allowed to continue with impunity: her role in raising big money for the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which boasts roughly $13.5 billion in assets and gives some of that to a wide variety of organizations across the globe, including KQED.