Tri-Valley Community Foundation goes mum, hires PR firm

Board has met, no word on bankruptcy filing

The Tri-Valley Community Foundation may be $3 million in debt and looking at bankruptcy, but it's not too broke to hire a public relations firm that offers "crisis communications."

The foundation is expected to go belly up by the end of the month, according to its board president and CEO Ron Hyde, who, "on advice of counsel," has stopped commenting to the press.

Hyde, who has been the board's chairman for years, stepped in to run the organization after former President Dave Rice was fired in April.

Since then there has been a consistent flow of bad news: A look by the Pleasanton Weekly at the TVCF's tax returns showed a pattern of overspending that began in 2006-07, when it brought in just shy of $1.36 million but spent more than $1.6 million, and a top-heavy organization that spent much more on itself than it did on the charities it was formed to help.

Beyond that, there were promises made that were impossible to keep and salaries that climbed to nearly $418,000 in 2009-10, the same year "other expenses" hit more than $1 million.

The foundation also claimed to support at least one charity that said it never received anything, and made claims that it provided more services than it actually performed for other nonprofits, including fundraising for the Veterans Memorial Building in Danville and the PulsePoint Foundation, which supports a smart phone app to help heart attack victims.

Hyde said last week that he expects the foundation to shut down by the end of the month. Nonetheless the board decided to hire Full Court Press, which offers, among other things, crisis communications aimed at "quieting the rumor mill (and) skillfully deflecting attention when necessary."

Full Court Press founder Dan Cohen promised to address questions posed by the Pleasanton Weekly, then responded to specific questions by emailing, "We will share information with you and the public as soon as we are able. ... The board has been meeting and will continue to meet regularly to work on next steps."

Follow-up phone calls and emails to Cohen went unanswered. The Pleasanton Weekly has requested the foundation's most recent tax returns and has asked it to provide access to its records.

Full Court Press clients include Kaiser Permanente of Northern California, San Francisco Unified School District, the James Irvine Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the East Bay Coalition Against Urban Casinos.


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Posted by Rick Pshaw
a resident of Danville
on Jun 22, 2012 at 3:38 pm

There's only one reason to hire a crisis PR firm:

They're going to BLAME IT ON BUSH!!

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Posted by Bill
a resident of Danville
on Jun 25, 2012 at 7:08 am

This should be a wake up call for all non-profits in the area. Remember it wasn't that long ago that the CEO of Discovery Counseling Center in Danville was found to have misappropriated funds from that organization. As long as we treat these organizations as fronts for socialization of our areas elite and feel good philanthropy this will continue to happen as there is no one who could believe that this is happening right under their noses.

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Posted by Ann
a resident of Danville
on Jun 25, 2012 at 7:27 am

Before you donate to nonprofits check them out. You should look at a financial statement prepared by a legitimate, reconizable accounting firm and not some member of the organization itself. Also, make sure that the majority of its funds are going to charities it says it is supporting rather than to staff and directors bloated salaries. Many nonprofits are fronts for individuals who syphon off monies and perks that never go directly to their causes. Be careful when giving money it may be going into the pockets of thieves. Many nonprofits that are good and honest, but plenty that are not.

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Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Jun 25, 2012 at 10:44 am

One good place to start would be, which has the "Form 990" informational tax returns filed by many, many non-profits. Those often contain compensation info for the paid staff, IDs of Board members and some info about where the money goes.

It is far from failsafe, but it'll give you a broad outline of financial doings, unless those are being hidden. I'm not sure this link will work, but page 7 of their 2010 return lists Board members, and indicates that Rice made just under $100K in compensation.

Web Link

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Posted by frankly
a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 28, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Oh No!!!!!!!

Another potential scam in the hood.

dont these people ever get tired of wanting to rob and steal from their neighbors?

St.Isadore's, local charity Station doing tons of good in the valley, have all been hit with embezzlement of plenty of dollars.

Seems as though that every week there is another scam working the area.

In fact, I truly believe there is one working the good hearted customers at Trader Joe's by asking for donations no permit, just a tiny sign saying they represent some kind of good work somewhere.

Hopefully, people will use better judgement when they see this group looking for your money advertising their good work. Sure just like that private church group taking tons of federal money PLUS SENDING their giant school of 20 kids into the byways of Oakland seeking more money AND they had to get 100 dollars a day before they could return to home base.

Are people that dumb or just like to hand out their money indiscriminately?

Donate, be charitable, be compassionate BUT BE MORE LOCAL WITH YOUR MONEY but check first to make sure. Even then how can one be absolutely sure?

God's knows.

Be at peace and help your fellow man at the right time and the right place.

frankly speaking.

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