By Khalida Sarwari
Nicole Taylor, a long-serving steward with roots in the Bay Area nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, has been named the new president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
Her appointment ends the organization’s months-long search to replace ousted founding president Emmett D. Carson in the wake of a scandal that roiled the Mountain View-based philanthropy.
Taylor, 49, comes with an impressive resume, including her most recent stints as vice-president at Arizona State University and Stanford University, where she was associate vice provost of student affairs and dean of community engagement and diversity.
“Nicole brings a legacy of exceptional leadership and community impact to SVCF,” said Dan’l Lewin, chair of SVCF’s Board of Directors. “She has a genuine connection to improving the lives of those in our local community, and her passion for helping individuals pursue their own philanthropic goals make her an optimal choice to lead our organization.”
Taylor will replace Greg Avis, a former board member who was tapped as interim chief executive following Carson’s ouster in June amid an investigation that found he allowed his top fundraiser, Mary Ellen Loijens, to bully and sexually harass her subordinates. Investigators said Carson’s indifference to complaints about Loijens contributed to a toxic work environment at the philanthropic powerhouse, where he’d held his $892,689 per year post since 2007.
In a statement announcing Taylor’s appointment today, SVCF commended Avis for returning to the foundation during one of its most difficult moments in its history, “a time when there was a need to heal and catalyze change throughout the organization.” Under his leadership, the statement read, the foundation has taken steps to improving its workplace culture.
Taylor brings more than 15 years with the East Bay Community Foundation, where she served as its president and CEO for six years. She has also served as president and CEO of Thrive Foundation for Youth in Menlo Park. She began her career as an educator in Oakland public schools.
Taylor holds degrees in education and human biology from Stanford University and serves on the boards of Common Sense Media and the T. Gary and Kathleen Rogers Family Foundation.
“Silicon Valley is a region of contrasts, one in which deep social challenges are often masked by the high-profile innovation culture,” Taylor said today in a statement. “There is important work to be done in partnership with our donors, our community organizations and our civic and business leaders, and I am excited about the issues and challenges the organization is looking to tackle.”
Her first day on the job is Dec. 19.
Staff writer John Woolfolk contributed.