The head of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation was placed on administrative leave Thursday, as the $13 billion dollar non-profit copes with allegations about the toxicity of its workplace culture.
The organization’s Board of Directors voted to place President and CEO Emmett Carson on leave while two outside law firms follow up on an exposé published last week in the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Carson will continue to receive his annual salary of $892,689. (With annual compensation of $865,715 in 2015, Carson is the highest-paid community foundation CEO in the country, according to a Chronicle report.) Founding Board member and prior Chair Greg Avis was appointed interim CEO in the meantime.
While the Chronicle article focused on Carson’s second-in-command, Mari Ellen Loijens, dozens of current and former employees stepped forward to claim Carson condoned and even encouraged her bullying behavior because she was a talented fundraiser. She has since resigned.
Loijens helped to raise billions of dollars from the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan, Dustin Moskovitz and Cari Tuna. But many former employees who talked to KQED after Loijens resigned said she was verbally and emotionally abusive with many people over many years.
In a statement posted on the Foundation’s website, board officials wrote they are committed to taking “all necessary actions” once the investigations have concluded.