sv2partnership

a venture philanthropy partnership

Latest News

July 7, 2016

What’s cooking at SV2 this summer?

It’s hard to believe that it’s already July and summer is in full swing! For those who are new to our community, you may notice that SV2 settles into a quiet rhythm during the summer. There is not a lot of programming planned because we have found that Partners relish the opportunity to spend more time with their families or travel during the summer. However, there is a lot going on behind the scenes with SV2’s Board, Partner leaders, and staff to prepare for the next program year. We’ll share a preview of 2016-17 programming in next month’s eNews so that you can start to plan for any engagement opportunities that strike your fancy. SV2’s program year generally kicks off in September. Stay tuned!

Honoring SV2 Rockstar: Kelly Pope


Welcome Global Press Institute, SV2’s International Grant Round winner.

It is with great enthusiasm that we welcome the newest addition to the SV2 family, the winner of this year’s International Grant Round: Global Press Institute (GPI). GPI’s mission is to train and employ women in developing media markets to produce high-quality local news coverage that elevates local and global awareness and sparks social change.

SV2's Newest Grantee


Partner participants in this year’s Lightning Grant Round, focused on Environment and Youth, selected SV2’s newest Grantee: Literacy for Environmental Justice (LEJ). LEJ promotes ecological health, environmental stewardship, and community development in Southeast San Francisco by creating urban greening, eco-literacy, community stewardship and workforce development opportunities that directly engage and support local residents in securing a healthier future.

SV2 Partners Shalyn Eason and Lisa Guerra planned and led the Round with SV2 staff member and Partner, Jody Chang, which focused on environmental learning and stewardship for local youth in collaboration. Participants learned from funder allies at The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Kimball Foundation, Morgan Family Foundation and Sand Hill Foundation about six outstanding environmental education organizations in each of their portfolios.

After voting online to select three finalists, Partners heard in-person presentations from the finalist Executive Directors. Two weeks later, at the second in-person meeting, Partners discussed the organizations in detail, using SV2’s grantmaking rubric to evaluate the organizations’ leadership teams, mission and programs, and financial documents, and to select the Grantee.

When asked how they experienced the Lightning Round, one Partner expressed, “I truly appreciated all of the prep work that went into the ‘packaging’ of the diligence info, the calls and the rubric. It really made my time to evaluate the applicants efficient and I felt valued.” Other aspects of the Round which stood out to Partners were the opportunity to hear from funder allies, the efficiency of the process which took place within a month from start to finish - and the opportunity to connect more deeply with other SV2 Partners.

The Lightning Grant Round concept was piloted last year in order to diversify SV2’s grantmaking approach and create a shorter Round that would be more accessible to a wide range of Partners, especially those who are unable to regularly attend traditional Grant Rounds. We plan to offer more Lightning Rounds in the coming year, so stay tuned!

All-Partner Survey Says... 

We’ve completed our 2016 All-Partner Survey designed to assess SV2’s impact on Partners and provide our Partners with the opportunity to share their ideas for how we can collectively deepen our impact, improve our programming, and strengthen our vibrant community. Thank you to all the Partners who took time to respond.

Overall, the data suggests that Partners are generally pleased with their experience at SV2 and in the organization’s overall direction. The timely and constructive feedback has already informed staff and Board planning for the upcoming year.

Indicators of SV2’s impact on Partners include:

  • Four out of five Partners reported that their confidence in practicing effective philanthropy either somewhat or significantly increased since joining SV2

  • Over half of SV2 Partners report that their total annual giving to charitable causes increased since joining SV2, with over 85% reporting SV2 was a direct factor in this change

  • Two out of three Partners reported that SV2 has helped them develop into a more effective social impact leader

  • Four out of five Partners reported an increased level of knowledge about local community needs and potential solutions since joining SV2

  • Two out of three Partners reported that that their participation in SV2 has resulted in their being more likely to fund nonprofit infrastructure (via providing flexible general operating support)

What were some of the main themes from this year’s survey?

  • When Partners were asked “What do you value most about SV2?,” the two most common answers were related to our community and our opportunity for continuous learning in the areas of giving, philanthropy, social impact, and impact investing

  • Partners expressed a desire for more information about how our grants are performing and what lessons our community is learning from our grantmaking over the years

  • Partners overwhelmingly indicated they are in favor of continuing with another Impact Investing Round next year

  • Partners suggested we could more clearly define and better articulate learning and engagement "pathways" for both our new Partners as well as our more seasoned Partners (i.e. both 101 and 201 “electives” for Partner learning)

The complete survey results can be found on my.SV2 here.

Special thanks to Partners Dan Barritt, Bill Brownell, Julie Cates, Lucy Caldwell Donovan, Shalyn Eason, Lisa Jones, Kelly Pope, and Paru Yusuf for their help building and testing the All-Partner Survey.

Interested in Early Childhood Education?

Calling all Partners interested in learning more about early childhood education (ECE)! We are launching a new Partner-organized ECE Community on my.SV2. This group will provide a setting for Partners who are especially interested in learning more about the ECE landscape in the Bay Area, California, and nationally. Like other Communities on my.SV2, there will be an email list, discussion board, and calendar area for posting events of interest.

If you are a current Partner and would like to be added to this my.SV2 Community or have any questions about it, please log into my.SV2 and follow these instructions in the FAQ area of the site to learn how to add yourself to the ECE community.

If you're a current Partner and need help logging into my.SV2 for the first time, please follow these instructions.

What SV2's reading... 

Pay-What-It-Takes Philanthropy (Stanford Social Innovation ReviewThis article describes a compelling framework for an essential grantmaking approach - one that provides enough funding for nonprofits to pay for the full cost of nonprofits' programming.

Tackling Heropreneurship (Stanford Social Innovation ReviewDaniela Papi-Thornton unpacks the term “heropreneur,” and wonders aloud what kind of change might occur if we encouraged would-be social entrepreneurs to first “apprentice with” the challenges and issues about which they care deeply.

Inequality and Economic Security in Silicon Valley (California Budget & Policy CenterAn in-depth look at the dimensions of income inequality in Silicon Valley and trends over time. The report addresses why income inequality should matter to everyone in Silicon Valley.

Farewell to Elizabeth Dodson 

In bittersweet news, Elizabeth Dodson, SV2's Director of Social Impact, is relocating to Dallas, Texas, with her family at the end of June after nearly three years of service to SV2 as a member of the staff team.  While Partners, Grantees, Board members and staff alike are sad to see Elizabeth go, we are grateful to have had her as a colleague and for her many significant contributions to SV2’s impact and work.

Early in her tenure at SV2, Elizabeth used her strategic nonprofit consulting experience as a key participant in SV2's 2014-2017 strategic planning and impact measurement processes. As our community moved from strategic planning to the implementation phase, she led a series of Partner design sessions, including some that significantly improved and systematized SV2’s Grant Rounds that she oversaw. Elizabeth also helped introduce a new, condensed Grant Round format, the Lightning Grant Round, a popular addition to SV2’s experiential grantmaking offerings that appeals in particular to busy working professionals. She was one of the brave leaders of SV2’s pilot Impact Investing Round, which has helped SV2 diversify its funding approach, attract new strategic allies, and serve a key interest area of new and veteran SV2 Partners alike. In addition, Elizabeth led SV2’s Beyond-the Dollars Support for Grantees, built our community-wide online collaboration platform, my.SV2, from the ground up, and executed SV2’s recent All Community Spring Gathering: The Big Think-A-Thon.

Just as impressive as all that she accomplished while at SV2, Elizabeth went about her work in a thoughtful, values-based way, including keeping our Grantees’ interest and impact front and center. As just one example, Elizabeth initiated a process of giving verbal feedback to organizations who were invited to apply for our grant process but did not receive funding. This feedback not only gives the applicants a transparent view into our grantmaking process, but also enables us to learn more about how to improve our own processes.

A giant community-wide thank you to Elizabeth for all of her hard work and great leadership over the last few years. We wish her the very best in the next stage of her journey!

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