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 Charlie Brown
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 21, 2012 at 9:31 am

Hell, they didn't need to hire a PR firm, they could have jus followed the example of Eric Holder and stonewalled the entire issue!

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Posted by good move
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 21, 2012 at 10:22 am

The board president should not have been communicating with the press anyway while they are figuring all of this out. I guess he could not control himself, which probably forced the board to have to hire a firm to speak to the press. I have heard from reliable sources that the articles in this paper are so full of misinformation. Not sure how much is the writing or the source of "information". I believe it is a good thing that this organization goes quiet while it figures out what occurred. Everything right now is just speculation. While that makes good tabloid reporting, it only spreads misinformation that while it might be corrected later, people will remember the misinformation and think it is correct. I commend the rest of the media for not getting swept up in this tabloid-style journalism.

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Posted by so just shut up
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jun 21, 2012 at 10:34 am

They don't need to HIRE a firm to do PR they just need to shut up and let the organization close down. Where exactly is the money for the PR firm coming from?

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Parkside
on Jun 21, 2012 at 11:31 am

They ought to take a lessen from the Bush administration. There transparentsy allowed us all to know the reasoning behind the Iraq war and domesticated wire-tapping.

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Posted by Bill
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 21, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Grand jury time?

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Posted by Mittens
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 21, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Steve from parkside, with his predictable union, liberal elitist post, using his formulaic method:
1. Try to sound like he thinks a conservative would, if they we to take interest in this latest govt funded debacle.
2. Make sure to sound 'authentic' by peppering the responses with missplelling and grammatical errors, because that's how the he views his opposition, from his elitist perch.
3. Use a moniker of a well known conservative local voter, to discredit the poster and to hide the identity of the cowwardly elitist.
4. Once this days work has been completed, retire to his basement altar and light another candle, in honor of his messiah, oblamo.

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Posted by Mr. Mittens
a resident of another community
on Jun 22, 2012 at 7:41 am

For heaven's sake, can't we move on to more important things? For example, has anyone noticed that the Obama-created recession is continuing (except in some swing states which we need not mention here)? The economy is raging in a violent downward plunge, and Obama is in way over his head. As far as this liberal media propagated story about our finest private sector representatives, the answer appears simple enough: If they are guilty of breaking the law, let them self-deport themselves. My record on this is clear and consistent. I want to be your President! We need a Businessman in the nation's highest political office!

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Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jun 23, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Any top-heavy foundation or NPO will be lousy with grifters.

Of course, any honest organization could avoid bringing such sinister staff aboard through due diligence. To handle those who avoid detection, rigorous oversight and a system of checks and balances that prevents any one individual from exercising the authority to use or approve the use of foundation money would help.

It's actually not all that difficult to run an ethical organization.


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Posted by Mr. Mittens
a resident of another community
on Jun 24, 2012 at 7:34 am

I agree wholeheartedly with my fellow citizen and likely voter Mike. First, you have yourself and like-minded, deep-pocketed people start up an organization. Second, you have all of the above define what constitutes ethical conduct. Third, make sure the definition provides room to engage in all kinds of 'ethical' conduct that makes huge profits for your own organization often at the expense of others that you, say, buy up and cannibalize. Look at Bain! For goodness sakes, how could anyone say what we did was unethical? Heh-heh-heh.

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Posted by Concerned Citizen on Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 29, 2012 at 5:42 pm

This is not a surprise, reading the financials of this organization from 2000 to current reads as a mistery of vanishing funds with an increase of liabilities and a sad depletion of its investment dollars.  How could the Board not have had a collective meeting on this obvious depletion of Funds without Mr. Rice.  Who was really paying attention?  There is no way to blame only one person, was the Board engaged with this organization? Or were they just there warming a seat? Ignorance is not an excuse with the magnitude of what has occurred.  Where is this money being deverted from to hire a PR firm?, back to staus quo. Why would any intelegent person give to this organization again. Why isn't there a review on Hacienda Helping Hands and the possible misappropriation of funds?, they are one and the same organization!

To many community citizens attempted to bring these issues to the Board.  What happened; the citizens were spoken of as disgruntle neighbors of the community and were discarded as crazy! 

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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