Skip to main content

Nicole Taylor, Silicon Valley Community Foundation President and CEO, On Philanthropy's Female-led Future

| Super User | Legacy

Nicole Taylor, the first Black woman president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF), is a perfect example of how philanthropy's priorities are evolving along with its image.

In order to empower historically marginalized populations and advance gender, racial, and economic justice in Silicon Valley, SVCF has changed its general strategy plan under Taylor's direction. In 2021 alone, the foundation gave awards totaling $2.27 billion to nearly 6,000 organizations, a 21.5 percent increase over the previous year. She studied education in Palo Alto after growing up in Oakland, California, and started her teaching career there.

"Equity, opportunity, and choice have been my objective and what motivates me for everything I've done," Taylor said. "I strive to design more equal systems so everyone feels like they'd have that same opportunity. That's what brought me back to Silicon Valley Community Foundation,” she said.

Even though the region as a whole is worth $1.17 trillion, the gap between rich and poor is growing twice as fast as it is in the rest of the country. Women make up most of the top staff at SVCF, which is the largest community foundation in the country. Only four women are among the 50 highest-paid CEOs who work for American organizations and nonprofits. 72% of trustees at the 20 largest foundations in the US are Caucasian, and 63% are men. Taylor says that it is still rare for a Black woman to be in this kind of leadership position.

Silicon Valley Catalyst Fund (SVCF), which supports Black and Latino leaders engaged in important racial justice activities in California, is led by Sara Taylor. She claims that being a public figure puts a lot of pressure on her, particularly as a Black CEO in a field where men predominate. However Taylor says that she will decide to live genuinely and remain true to herself.

In response to the murder of George Floyd and the 2020 protests, SVCF assisted in the establishment of the California Black Freedom Fund.

Even though there are some rare exceptions, there are still not many women in top positions at charities. However, women contribute more frequently and more generously than males, regardless of economic level. As women's wealth grows, people expect them to give more to charities.

Thanks to Women Moving Millions, nearly $1 billion has been put toward equal rights for women and men. Led by CEO Sarah Haacke Byrd, Women Moving Millions strives to make the most of the strength of its networks, communities, collective knowledge, and resources in order to support members in becoming more effective philanthropists.

Women's views are not heard if they are not prioritized at decision-making tables, according to Sarah Haacke Byrd, CEO of Women Moving Millions. While having women in leadership positions is vital, so is taking into account the viewpoints of all genders. SVCF has tried to welcome all gender identities.