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August 5, 2015

There’s a lot to look forward to in the year ahead for everyone who is part -- or considering becoming part -- of our growing SV2 community. Learning-filled Grant and Impact Investment Rounds for Partners, an office move to Redwood Shores, and a soon-to-launch my.SV2 collaboration platform that’ll connect our community in new, powerful ways are just a few. More detail on the my.SV2 collaboration platform below, including an action item for all SV2 Partners. As we move through these final weeks of summer, the SV2 staff and Board are more excited than ever that each of you has chosen to be part of our high-impact giving community as we kick off a fulfilling and inspiring SV2 year ahead.

When Grantmaking marries Lightning 

“A fun, satisfying and significant experience!” -- SV2 Partner participant in recent Lightning Grant Round focused on economic opportunity in the Bay Area.

SV2 piloted two Lightning Rounds this year under the thoughtful leadership of SV2 Partner and Board member, Shalyn Eason. This shorter duration grantmaking experience is designed to be accessible to a more diverse set of Partners, especially those who are unable to regularly attend traditional Grant Rounds due to their full schedules.

As part of this year’s pilot, we were delighted to partner with the Peery Foundation, Tipping Point Community, and the Sobrato Family Foundation. These strategic allies recommended high-performing grantees from their current portfolios to apply for the Lightning Rounds and shared their due diligence materials so that we could meet our goal of minimizing the workload required by applicant organizations for applying to the SV2 grant. Each Lightning Grant Round took place in four to six weeks and involved both individual work and two mandatory group meetings.

This year’s grant winners are Mission Asset Fund (MAF) and Downtown Streets Team, both of whom received a one-time grant of $15,000 that will be accompanied by specific, limited Beyond-the-Dollars Support in the year ahead.

Mission Asset Fund is an award-winning nonprofit organization focused on expanding access to financial services, savings, and investment opportunities for low-income communities. Their vision is to create a fair financial marketplace for hardworking people because they believe when one person is invisible, stuck or strapped, it hurts an entire family. And when one family suffers, the whole community suffers.

Downtown Streets Team aims to end homelessness by restoring the dignity and rebuilding the lives of unhoused men and women. Serving the community through work teams prepares members for permanent employment and housing. Now Downtown Streets Team oversees a company of over 40 employees – a number that continues to grow with Teams in five Bay Area cities and two satellite locations in Daytona, Florida and another in Gilroy, California. 

Congratulations to both of these deserving organizations, and to all the SV2 Partners who participated to make this SV2 pilot program a success!

my.SV2 is Here!

SV2’s new collaboration platform, called my.SV2, is launching this month! Yippee! The collaboration platform will serve as an online hub for SV2 Partners and Grantees. From registering for events to searching Partner profiles (a critical Beyond-the-Dollars Support improvement) to sharing information during Grant Rounds, my.SV2 will be an essential tool for our community.

It will only work well, however, if all Partners dedicate an hour or two to logging on, updating their profile, and exploring, so please sign up now to attend an upcoming Signup Social with your fellow Partners. At this session, where libations and good cheer will be served, you will receive your personal log-in information and participate in a guided sign-up process and interactive orientation.

Alternatively, if you are unable to attend any of the scheduled group sessions, please email SV2 intern Patrick Selover ( to schedule a 1:1 session.

The platform will serve as a one-stop online hub for current SV2 Partners and Grantees. Among other things, it’ll include searchable Partner profiles; workspaces for communication and information sharing related to Grant and Investment Rounds; a knowledge base for Beyond-the-Dollars Support and other areas of SV2’s work; and an integrated calendar and RSVP system.

A special thank you to the collaboration platform design co-leads - Board Members Lyn Christenson, Lucy Donovan, and Kelly Pope - who led the charge in selecting our tool and setting us on this path. As well, a huge thank you to all of our Partner beta testers and advisors who have provided incredibly valuable feedback to help shape the platform.

SV2's Fall Gathering: Unlocking Human Potential

Save the date for an exhilarating evening with the whole SV2 community on Tuesday, September 29th from 6:00-8:30 pm at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto.

Inspiration awaits at our Fall Gathering, featuring Jessica Jackley, Kiva co-founder and author of the new book Clay Water Brick: Finding Inspiration from Entrepreneurs Who Do the Most with the Least, and SV2's two new Grantees, Somos Mayfair and Village Enterprise. Both organizations exemplify this spirit as they each provide access to the resources necessary to help people and communities unlock their potential.

Connect with SV2 Grantees and fellow SV2 Partners over cocktails and appetizers. Current and past Grantees, SV2 Partners, prospective Partners, and invited Strategic Allies of SV2 are welcome. We look forward to an evening filled with stories of purpose, persistence, and potential. RSVP today!

SV2's must-watch & reads

Former SV2 Board Chair Nancy Heinen gave heartfelt remarks after winning SV2's 2015 Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen Social Impact Award. This award is given each year to an outstanding individual who has gone above and beyond in their dedication to SV2 and/or its Grantees.

Five Lessons for New Philanthropists
This recent SSIR blog piece urges new philanthropists to consider 5 key lessons in their grantmaking: scan the ecosystem, make the time, get comfortable with ambiguity, give unrestricted funding, and use data as a tool, not a solution.

The New Social Innovators by SV2 Partner, Kathleen Kelly Janus
Janus shares how the next generation of funders and social entrepreneurs are already taking cues from tech to “hack” the world’s most pressing social problems.


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