Dear SV2 Partners and Friends,
As you know SV2 does not have a monopoly on high-quality educational events for our Grantees, Partners and friends. We’d like to point your attention to a few exciting educational events this month and next at which we hope you’ll join us and other members of the SV2 community:
1) March 5: Stanford PACS and the Bay Area Impact Investing Initiative are co-hosting a panel on impact investing - “What is Impact?”
2) March 11: The Stanford Graduate School of Business is hosting the GSB Nonprofit Board Governance Institute, which a number of SV2 Partners are helping to lead and will be speaking at
3) April 24: Social Venture Partners' (SVP) Spring Gathering on Impact Leadership in Scottsdale, AZ featuring SV2 Partners Heather McLeod Grant & Lance Fors.
In addition, join us from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on March 18 to let your hair down at a happy hour that SV2 is co-hosting with Spark, a philanthropic network of young professionals, at Angelica's in Redwood City. Mingle with SV2 friends and help introduce SV2 to more Bay Area young professionals. RSVP here.
And last but not least, we look forward to seeing you at SV2’s 15th Anniversary Celebration on April 7. We will celebrate 15 years of Grantee and Partner impact, along with seven awardees of the Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen Social Impact Award who have been invaluable SV2 supporters since the SV2 partnership was a “spring chicken.” Not only that, you won't want to miss keynote speaker Van Jones, co-host of CNN's Crossfire and co-founder of an early SV2 Grantee, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. Don't delay in buying tickets.
Elated for all that’s ahead for our extended SV2 community this spring!
- Team SV2 | Christine, Elizabeth, Lisa and Jen
Noosheen Hashemi is co-founder and president of The HAND Foundation, whose mission is to advance the philanthropic sector, prevent child sexual abuse, build a global middle class and prepare and engage the Next Generation.
Noosheen and her husband Farzad Nazem have been SV2 Partners since 2005, and their kids, Denna and Ari, are active in SV2 Teens.
Having recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of the HAND Foundation, Noosheen offers some lessons learned during her philanthropic journey:
1. Support world-class social entrepreneurs whether you encounter them at Stanford University or on a gorilla trek in Uganda. You will always create more social good per dollar spent when you have an obsessive and effective champion than when you have a cause, no matter how critical, without a champion.
2. Think hard about what you care about and what you want to change. And when you do, leverage all of the existing people and organizations that you can find. Not every initiative needs a new nonprofit.
3. Strategic philanthropy (a. moving the state of knowledge forward; b. signaling others to give; c. selecting the best grantees; and d. helping to improve their performance) matters but so do random acts of kindness. Sometimes taking the angel investing model can pay off: make small donations to a lot of promising teams, then double down with those who execute better.
4. If you engage in ethnic or minority work, don’t extrapolate assumptions from mainstream philanthropy. As far as diasporas go, the apple doesn’t fall from the tree and reading history provides insight into what is, and more importantly, what is not, possible in your lifetime.
5. In fact, read history before you take another step. Frank Fukuyama’s “Origins of Political Order” put so much in perspective for me: it brought the role of human nature into focus and lengthened the time horizon for when I could hope for results.
6. Study demographics as a key puzzle piece to any social endeavor.
7. Your corporate experience is immensely applicable to your philanthropic work, just not your corporate expectations. Sourcing talent, convening people, packaging products people want to pay for, crunching numbers, setting audacious goals, cold calling, articulating a vision, and expertly executing a detailed plan are vital to social work too, just be ready to profusely thank partners even when they fall short of their commitments, feel guilty when you switch funds from one nonprofit to another because it performs better, and throw out the concept of hierarchy.
8. You are never too old to get mentored or too young to mentor. Look beyond the obvious populations of people that need mentoring to everyone around you.
9. When recruiting people to fight for your cause, pick those with less baggage, like young people.
10. Service is not any single action, it’s a state of mind permeating everything. To be of service to people transcends weekly volunteering and making grants. It is a way of interacting with every person you encounter and how you leave them.
Silicon Valley Community Foundation will host the first-ever day of giving to benefit every nonprofit organization in our region, an event aimed at inspiring and uniting our local community to support philanthropic causes. Learn more.
The National Foster Youth Action Network would not be where we are today without the financial support and human capital from SV2. This year we have significantly increased our impact and visibility and believe it is due in great part to the expertise SV2 has provided.
Executive Director, National Foster Youth Action Network