The San Jose Charter School Consortium was just an idea when SV2 funded it. The heads of 5 charter schools and 1 grassroots organization asked SV2 to invest in the infrastructure to help them coordinate their efforts to help low-income students who were not succeeding in traditional public schools. Just 3 years later, the Consortium has changed the local attitude toward charter schools from uncertain to supportive, paving the way for the Santa Clara County Board of Education’s approval of over 20 new charter schools in underserved areas.
SV2’s support enabled Sustainable Conservation to expand water-efficiency pilot projects across more than 3,500 acres of farmland in the Central Valley. Using the lessons learned from these pilot projects, Sustainable Conservation is now focusing on Santa Cruz County’s Pajaro Valley to help achieve the local water agency’s goal of reducing water consumption by approximately 30%. Reaching that goal would mean saving almost 5 trillion gallons of precious fresh water each year, which is the amount of water 37,000 families-of-four consume each year.
SV2’s funding was Opportunity Fund’s first large grant and they used it to scale the new microfinance model they had helped pioneer. The grant enabled 2 new hires, allowing the CEO to focus more energy on rapid growth. Today, Opportunity Fund is the largest microfinance organization in California, having invested a total of $235M to date. Last year, Opportunity Fund helped 2,024 families by offering microloans to entrepreneurs, investing in affordable housing, and helping low-income familes to build savings.
Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY): Using SV2’s grant dollars, FLY hired their first Development Director in 2005 to create their funding strategy and grow their donor base, eventually quadrupling their budget. SV2 Partners also stepped in to provide executive coaching, create a media plan, and serve on FLY’s Board of Directors. Now FLY has the sustainable infrastructure they need to ensure their long-term success, and they have expanded their reach to nearly 5,000 juvenile offenders since 2008.
Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative (BAWSI): In 2007, BAWSI was growing quickly but lacked the long-term planning and infrastructure to ensure that their growth was sustainable. With SV2’s support, BAWSI was able to initiate a donor database, create a long-term strategic plan, and develop metrics to evaluate their programmatic success. Thanks to this strong foundation, BAWSI has now served 10,000 low-income girls in fitness programs throughout the Bay Area, and the organization continues to grow.
Reading Partners: In 2003, Reading Partners had just one tutoring site in East Menlo Park, but SV2 Partners saw tremendous potential for growth. SV2 awarded a three-year grant and several SV2 Partners joined the Reading Partners board, helping to create and implement aggressive strategic plans. Today, Reading Partners is a nationally-recognized tutoring program, serving nearly 3,000 students in 60 sites throughout California, Washington, D.C, and New York, and recently securing a $7 million grant from the federal Social Innovation Fund - one of the most competitive and high profile grants for nonprofits.
New Teacher Center (NTC): When SV2 made its grant in 2004, NTC was operating as a program within UC Santa Cruz. With the grant dollars and expertise offered by SV2 Partners, NTC became an independent nonprofit that harnesses the power of thousands of master teachers working full-time to mentor 25,000 new teachers each year – that’s around 7% of all first and second year teachers in the US. Introductions from SV2 Partners have helped NTC leverage $6.4 million in unrestricted capacity building funding from all the leading national venture philanthropy organizations focused on large scale change -- New Profit, NewSchools Venture Fund, SeaChange Capital Partners, and Skoll Foundation.
See NTC's case study (PDF)
SV2 is one of a tiny handful of absolutely critical philanthropies that invest in not-for-profits’ planning capacity rather than their programs. The opportunity an SV2 grant provides to be reflective and deliberative makes a huge difference – particularly with the addition of the strategic insights and advice provided by SV2’s Partners.
CEO, Partners in School Innovation