Policies & Procedures

Code of Conduct & Ethics and Conflict of Interest

Code of Conduct and Ethics and Conflict of Interest

SVEF has adopted this Code of Conduct and Ethics and Conflict of Interest (this “Code”) to promote honest, ethical and lawful conduct by all employees, volunteers, officers and directors when acting on behalf of SVEF. The Code is intended to help you understand the broad principles reflecting the types of behavior SVEF expects towards constituents, donors, employees, peers and the public. In addition, independent contractors, consultants and agents who represent SVEF are expected to apply the same high standards while working on SVEF business.

This Code is not intended as a stand-alone policy. It does not embody the totality of SVEF’s ethical standards, nor does it answer every ethical question or issue that you may encounter in carrying out your responsibilities for SVEF. Rather, it is one element of a broader effort to create and maintain a quality organization that gives ethical and lawful conduct the highest priority.

The actions of every employee, volunteer, officer and director affect the reputation and integrity of SVEF. Therefore, it is essential that you take the time to review this Code and development a working knowledge of its provisions. You are required to complete a certificate attesting to compliance with the Code upon becoming an employee, volunteer, officer or director, and thereafter, every three years.

At all times, you are expected to:

1. Avoid conflicts between your personal business and your professional role at SVEF where possible.

2. Comply with SVEF’s Conflict of Interest policy, including disclosing to the CEO or the Chair of the Audit Committee of the Board when conflicts or the appearances of conflicts exist, and pursuing the ethical handling of conflicts (whether actual or apparent) in consultation with the CEO or the Audit Committee.

3. Respect the confidentiality of sensitive information about SVEF and its constituents, donors, board and employees.

4. Provide accurate and complete information in the course of performing your duties at SVEF and communicate information in a timely manner.

5. Comply with applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations and fiduciary responsibilities.

6. Abide by the governing documents and policies of SVEF.

7. Listen to our stakeholders and make all reasonable efforts to satisfy their needs and concerns within the scope of our mission, and to strive for excellence and demonstrate professional respect and responsiveness to constituents, donors and others.

8. Make an effort to understand, respect and support our constituents from other cultures, and to contribute to an organizational culture that respects the diverse, individual contributions of staff and leadership.

9. Appropriately acknowledge the efforts and contributions from other individuals and organizations that help facilitate our goals.

10. Do not accept commissions, gifts, payments, loans, promises of future benefits or other items of value from anyone who has or may seek some benefit from SVEF in return, other than occasional gifts of nominal value that are in keeping with good business ethics.

11. Act at all times in accordance with the highest ethical standards and in the best interest of SVEF, its members, constituents, donors and reputation.

12. Implement and follow the Whistleblower Policy. Promptly report any violations of this Code in accordance with the Whistleblower Policy.

13. Be accountable personally for adhering to this Code of Ethics.

14. Seek guidance where necessary from a responsible supervisor.

15. Work in good faith for the benefit of the students we serve.

Compliance, Monitoring and Reporting

SVEF’s management is responsible for communicating this Code of Ethics to all members of the board of directors and staff for ensuring its adherence at all times.

Whenever there is doubt about the right ethical or legal choice to make, or questions regarding any of the standards discussed or policies referenced in this Code, you should fully disclose the circumstances, seek guidance about the right thing to do, and keep asking until guidance is obtained.

Those who violate the standards in this Code will be subject to disciplinary action. Failure to follow this Code, as well as to comply with applicable laws, and SVEF’s policies and procedures may result in termination of employment or termination of board service.

This Code is ratified by the Board of Directors of SVEF on December, 14, 2018.

Compensation Policy & Salary Administration Practices

A. Overview

Our compensation policy and salary administration practices apply to all SVEF regular and part-time staff members. It does not apply to fee for service, temporary employees or independent contractors.

The goals of SVEF’s compensation policy are that it is:

A. Performance-based
B. Fair and equitable
C. Provides competitive total compensation

SVEF’s compensation practices aspire to motivate improved performance, attract and retain top performers, improve cost-effectiveness (by rewarding successful performance) and provide opportunities for internal collaboration through the definition of performance goals.

SVEF’s compensation practices aim to be: focused and appropriate for the agency, competitive with the external market, internally equitable, in full compliance with wage and hour laws, flexible and responsive to necessary changes, understandable to employees and efficient to administer.

All SVEF employees covered by this policy and practices should have access to their job description and comparative external market data. In addition, SVEF employees are entitled to know the comparative external market data on other positions when it relates to their immediate career path or to immediate promotional opportunities.

Our practices are SVEF confidential.  Any external requests for this information should be directed to the CEO or COO.

SVEF reserves the right to change or alter this compensation administration policy and practice at any time.

B. SVEF’s Compensation Philosophy

To the best of the agency’s ability, we will define a salary range for each job title based on available comparative market data in the non-profit sector. SVEF’s goal is to target base salary at the median of the external market. However, many factors will influence the ultimate result (such as, available funding, individual performance, SVEF’s performance, external economic factors, etc). To ensure appropriate oversight and alignment with the external market trends, the CEO and a subset of the Board will annually review the total compensation program at SVEF. To the extent possible, each job content will be benchmarked to appropriate market data every year. The result of this review in conjunction with the annual performance evaluation will inform any individual salary action.  Any salary action will be influenced by the employee’s current base pay relative to the market, i.e. employee’s job performance, employee’s job experience relative to the position, SVEF’s performance and funding availability.

Recognizing that base pay is only one component of total compensation, SVEF strives for a comprehensive plan that provides competitive pay for all employees. Our program is designed to:

  • Jobs
  • Attract and retain a highly qualified, motivated and dedicated group of individuals;
  • Promote external equity, enabling payment of competitive base salaries when compared to similarly situated organizations;
  • Performance driven – provide equitable salaries in recognition of job performance and job responsibility by aligning pay with performance expectations;
  • Promote internal equity, enabling payment of fair and equitable salaries within SVEF;
  • Promote teamwork and foster an environment of personal and professional growth for the entire workforce; and,
  • Consider the agency’s financial position and provide for the equitable distribution of pay throughout SVEF.

All SVEF employees shall be equitably compensated for assigned duties and responsibilities without regard to race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, marital status, or sensory, physical or mental disability, veteran status, sexual orientation or any other basis of discrimination prohibited by local, state and federal law.

C. Compensation Program Summary

Total compensation has many elements. In addition to base pay, and if applicable, overtime pay, SVEF has many indirect pay elements in its total compensation package.  Among the indirect pay elements are:

  • Health and welfare plans: health coverage, life insurance, long term disability insurance, flexible spending accounts, a savings plan.
  • Mandated benefits: short term disability, worker’s compensation insurance, unemployment insurance and FICA (social security).
  • Paid time off: holidays, sick time and vacation days or school breaks.

Base Salary

An employee’s base compensation is determined by various components: job skills, job-relevant experience, performance in the job, and the comparable worth of the position both within and outside SVEF.

Annual Performance Review

SVEF has an annual Performance Review process for performance evaluation, development discussions, and salary planning. It is a component that goes into your manager’s recommendation for any salary action.

Benefits

The health and welfare of the SVEF’s employees are critical to our success. We offer eligible employees and their dependents the opportunity to participate in the agency’s medical programs.  Eligible employees are also eligible to participate in Life, STD, and LTD insurance plans; flexible spending programs; and a 403(b) plan.

D. Comparative Benchmarking & Salary Administration Process

Each year SVEF participates in a non-profit sector benchmarking salary survey which allows us to obtain external market data to compare jobs. The process is part science and part judgment. It is very difficult to match each of our jobs in the market at a hundred percent. The process of analyzing the external data is as follows:

  • We compare the essential major duties and responsibilities of each of our jobs to the market benchmark job with similar duties and responsibilities.
  • Once the match is determined, we align our job at the different market segments similar to us, provided for each job such as:
    • Budget size
    • Geographic location
    • Field of service or service sector
    • Size of agency (number of employees)
    • Number of employees managed (for supervisor/manager jobs)
  • We then look at the median (50th percentile) base salary of the most appropriate market segment match for each of our jobs as our target base salary, however, we create a salary range that falls between the minimum and maximum range based on experience and capabilities for that position (typically, between the 25th and 75th percentile of the market, however, circumstances may dictate broadening the range).
  • This target base salary will be the reference point for the salary action decision if any. At the appropriate cycle during the year, your manager will make a recommendation based on your current base pay relative to the market, your job performance, SVEF’s performance, and funding availability.
  • The CEO and a subset of the Board will review and decide on the recommendations.
  • Any annual review salary action will be communicated to each employee in the month of January.
Donor Privicy Policy

(1) Silicon Valley Education Foundation (SVEF) will not trade, share or sell a donor’s personal information with anyone else, nor send donor mailings on behalf of other organizations; and (2) SVEF will only share or sell personal information if the donor has given the charity specific permission to do so.

Whistleblower Policy

Introduction and Purpose

Silicon Valley Education Foundation, a California nonprofit public benefit corporation (SVEF), requires its directors, officers, employees, and volunteers to observe high standards of business and personal ethics in the conduct of their duties and responsibilities. The purpose of this Whistleblower Policy is to encourage and enable employees and volunteers of SVEF to report any action or suspected action taken within SVEF that is illegal, fraudulent or in violation of any adopted policy of SVEF. This Policy is intended to supplement but not replace any other policy or grievance procedure of SVEF or any applicable state or federal law or regulation governing whistleblowing applicable to nonprofit and charitable organizations.

Violations; Reporting in Good Faith

All employees and volunteers of SVEF are encouraged to report any action or suspected action taken within SVEF that they believe to be illegal, fraudulent or in violation of any adopted policy of SVEF (each, a “Violation”). Anyone reporting a Violation must act in good faith, without malice to SVEF or any individual in SVEF, and must have reasonable grounds for believing that the information contained in the report indicates that a Violation has occurred. The state of California also has a hotline should you wish to anonymously report a Violation to the State Attorney General’s office. It is 1-800-952-5225.

No Retaliation

No employee or volunteer who in good faith reports a Violation or cooperates in the investigation of a Violation shall suffer harassment, retaliation or adverse employment or volunteer consequences. Any individual within SVEF who retaliates against another individual who in good faith has reported a Violation or has cooperated in the investigation of a Violation is subject to discipline, including termination of employment or volunteer status. If an individual believes that he or she, or another employee or volunteer, is suffering from harassment, retaliation or other adverse employment or volunteer consequences in violation of this Policy, the individual should contact the Compliance Officer (as determined by the Board of Directors) by following the procedures for reporting a Violation described in the following section.

Reporting Process

If an individual reasonably believes that a Violation has occurred, the individual is encouraged to share his or her questions, concerns, suggestions or complaints with any person within SVEF who he or she believes may be able to address them properly. In most cases, the direct supervisor of an individual is the person best suited to address a concern. However, if an individual is not comfortable speaking with his or her direct supervisor or if he or she is not satisfied with the supervisor’s response, the individual is encouraged to speak directly to the Compliance Officer, or anyone in management he or she feels comfortable approaching.

Confidentiality; Anonymity

SVEF encourages anyone reporting a Violation to identify himself or herself when making a report in order to facilitate the investigation of the Violation. However, Violations may be reported anonymously by filling out a reporting form and mailing it to the Compliance Officer. Reports of Violations or suspected Violations will be kept confidential to the extent possible, consistent with the need to conduct
an adequate investigation, to comply with all applicable laws, and to cooperate with law enforcement authorities.

Compliance Officer; Handling Reporting Violations

The Board of Directors shall appoint a Compliance Officer to administer this Policy. Any supervisor, manager or board member who receives a report of a Violation will notify the Compliance Officer of that report, except as provided below with respect to a report relating to the Compliance Officer. The Compliance Officer will notify the complainant and acknowledge receipt of a report of Violation within five business days, provided that the complainant’s identity is disclosed in the report or a return address is provided. The Compliance Officer will make initial inquiries in consultation with legal counsel, if necessary, to determine the nature and scope of the investigation. The Compliance Officer will manage any subsequent investigation and may request the assistance of legal counsel or other parties as he or she deems necessary or appropriate. The Compliance Officer, or his or her designee, will investigate the complaint, meeting separately with the complainant and with others who either are named in the complaint or who the Compliance Officer determines may have knowledge of the facts set forth in the complaint. At a point in the process consistent with the need to not compromise the investigation, a person who is suspected of a Violation shall be apprised of the alleged Violation and shall be afforded an opportunity to provide a response. The Compliance Officer will investigate anonymous complaints to the extent possible, but will weigh the prudence of continuing such investigations against the likelihood of confirming the alleged facts or circumstances from attributable sources. Within five business days of receiving a complaint, the Compliance Officer shall cause a report to be sent to the Chair of the Board containing the following information: 1. The allegations made by the complainant and how they were reported to SVEF.
2. All relevant facts then available related to the allegations.
3. The current status of the investigation and how it was or will be conducted, including witnesses interviewed and documents reviewed.
4. The outcome or corrective action taken or to be taken at the conclusion of the investigation. If no further action or investigation is to follow, an explanation for the decision will be included. Thereafter, and until the allegations have been resolved, the Compliance Officer shall submit updated reports every ten business days, or at such other times as may be requested by the Chair of the Board. Upon completion of the investigation, the complainant will be notified about what actions will be taken, to the extent reasonably possible and consistent with any privacy or confidentiality limitations. If no further action or investigation is to follow, an explanation for the decision will be given to the complainant. In the event the Compliance Officer is suspected of having committed a Violation, the Violation will be reported to the Chief Financial Officer and the Violation will be investigated by the Chief Financial Officer under the supervision of the Board of Directors.

Accounting and Auditing Matters; Reporting

The Board of Directors is responsible for addressing all reported Violations relating to corporate accounting practices, internal controls or auditing. The Compliance Officer will notify the Board of Directors of any such reported Violation. In addition, the Compliance Officer will advise the President and Chair of the Board of any other reported Violations, the current status of the investigation, and the outcome or corrective action taken at the conclusion of the investigation.

Adopted by the Board of Directors on: September 7, 2018

For more information regarding the information above, please contact the Finance Team at finance@svefoundation.org or 408.790.9400, ext 2.