Natochy was singled out as one of the key executives who had enabled a toxic culture of blame and fear at the influential nonprofit. In an anonymous letter sent to board members, 65 current SVCF employees asked for Natochy and CEO Emmett Carson to immediately be put on leave. Carson was placed on paid leave April 26 while an internal investigation is conducted.
Much of the controversy so far has centered on Mari Ellen Loijens, the No. 2 executive who resigned last month. Her departure came after more than a dozen former employees went public with allegations that Loijens was an abusive manager whose ability to attract large donors insulated her from any repercussions.
Natochy was seen as having a supporting role in that abuse, according to former employees. When she joined in 2015, Natochy initially tried to address some of the workplace concerns, but she didn't persist for long, said Rebecca Dupras, former SVCF vice president of development.
Within a few months, Natochy was acting to protect Loijens from employees who were speaking out, Dupras said. On multiple occasions, Natochy had invited staffers to discuss workplace concerns under the guise of confidentiality. She later informed Loijens of what she had learned, Dupras said.
Dupras recalls getting summoned to Loijens' office and hearing the same employees who had complained being described as "problems." That practice led many employees to develop a deep-seated distrust of Natochy and the foundation's human-resources department, which is still an ongoing problem at the nonprofit, according to Dupras.
"I had to tell my staff: 'I can't tell you not to go to HR ... but you need to be careful about what you say to her because Daiva will share it with Mari Ellen," Dupras said. "She had extra knowledge of what was going on, but with that extra level of access, I think people felt betrayed by her."
Natochy's departure was announced in a letter sent to donors May 1 by interim CEO Greg Avis. In the letter, Avis assured donors that the investigation, being conducted by outside legal counsel, would not be financed by individual donor advised funds. Funding will come directly from the foundation's operating budget surplus and, if necessary, from its reserves, Avis said.
In 2017, SVCF celebrated its 10th anniversary. The organization has grown from $1.4 billion in assets in 2007 to more than $8.2 billion today.
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