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August 4, 2016

Grantmaking & Impact Investing Offerings

Partners are drawn to SV2 to learn and give collaboratively with peers through SV2’s experiential grantmaking and impact investing rounds. During the rounds, Partner participants learn together about pressing local social issues, explore the range of promising nonprofit and for-profit organizations working to create change, evaluate grant applicants or impact investment deals, and ultimately make rewarding high-impact grants or impact investments together.

As a result of their participation, Partners consistently report becoming more confident in the effectiveness of their philanthropy, more knowledgeable about the social challenges and solutions facing Silicon Valley, and ultimately more generous in their giving.

SV2’s grantmaking rounds evolve each year based on input from a survey of all SV2 Partners and availability of Partner leaders. So what’s on tap this year?

The 2016-17 SV2 program year kicks off this September and will feature a dynamic mix of Lightning and traditional full-length Grant Rounds, Impact Investing, and more.

SV2 will continue its long-time focus on Education, but with a twist. For the first time, Partners will blend in-depth learning about the local education landscape with SV2’s popular new Lightning grantmaking approach. The landscape learning portion, led by Partners Alison Elliott and Jon Goulden, begins September 15th with a series of educational workshops with local experts where Partners will discuss needs and opportunities in the Bay Area education space. Participants will then transition into a fast-paced Lightning Grant Round led by Partner Aarti Chandna and apply what they learn in the first part of the year to make an education grant next spring. More information below.

The year ahead will also feature a new focus area for SV2, Economic Opportunity and Employment. This traditional full-length Grant Round will kick off in January ‘17, be led by Partners Paru Yusuf and Shalyn Eason, and culminate in the spring. More information below.

Back by popular demand, Partners will launch another year of experiential Impact Investment on Sept 7 led by Partners Tony Stayner and Lisa Jones. Like last year, there will be a mix of learning sessions for SV2 Partners who are newer to impact investing. Unlike last year, there will be a smaller Impact Investment Working Group formed of Partners who can commit the sustained time needed to roll up their sleeves to lead the sourcing and due diligence of impact investing deals. More information below.

For busy Partners interested in a high-impact and fast-paced grantmaking experience, we’ll again offer a Lightning Grant Round, likely focused on either Affordable Housing or Health & Family Wellness. This Lightning Grant Round, led by Partners Lisa Guerra and Nancy Heinen, will be offered twice: once in the late fall and once in the early winter. These Lightning Grant Rounds will include two in-person meetings along with some outside work.

SV2 Kids and SV2 Teens Programs will also continue this year for our Partner families. SV2 Kids events will take place roughly quarterly throughout the program year. SV2 Teens will launch this winter and meet roughly every other weekend over the course of a couple of months.

This suite of experiential offerings for Partners and their families are complemented by monthly light-touch learning programs on a variety of cutting-edge social impact and effective philanthropy topics.

Learning Sessions Sneak Peak

SV2’s learning program line-up for 2016-17 is teeming with intriguing offerings, like Essentials of Strategies for Problem Solving in Philanthropy with Paul BrestLocal Giving Research Findings with Philanthropy Futures, and Impact Investing, to name a few.

Whether you are brand new to philanthropy, have been deeply immersed in becoming a more effective giver for a long time or see yourself somewhere in between, we think you will find a variety of learning opportunities to suit your interests, experience level and schedule.

Big picture: we have four main kinds of Learning Programs in store: (see attached overview for a sampling of this year’s learning programs.) You can RSVP for all learning programs by either visiting our website,, or by visiting our my.SV2 collaboration platform.

Learning Sessions come in various shapes and sizes and of various times of the week and day.  Some are shorter lunchtime sessions on a wide variety of topics take place from 12:00-1:30 pm often on Fridays at the SV2 office but might appear at other times to accommodate different participant schedules or the schedules of the presenters. These sessions sometimes become “springboards” for further dialogue, learning, and action within and beyond the SV2 community.

Other Learning Sessions are longer workshops from 2-4 hours or even multiple days. While we ask that you RSVP, most sessions do not involve any additional cost. These “Deep Dive” workshops frequently allow Partners, Grantees and presenters alike to dig into a particular topic and offer experiences that enlighten, surprise, while reinforcing and strengthening everyone’s capacity as a social changemaker.

The format for all SV2 Learning Sessions is generally quite interactive and the atmosphere lively with opportunities for questions, exchange with fellow Partners, Grantees and guest presenters.

Partner-Organized Events: The SV2 community is a curious bunch. Partners and Grantees alike have ideas about what might make an interesting learning opportunity. Through our community collaboration platform, my.SV2, Partners can now initiate and organize “Partner-Organized Events” for the SV2 community - often involving an SV2 Grantee - on a topic of their interest. This might be a film screening at a Partner’s home or a panel discussion on a topic not included in our Grant/Impact Investment Rounds or other learning programs.

Partner-Organized Grantee Field Trips: SV2 Partners and Grantees are eager for more time to connect and learn “in the field”. A few times a year, Lead Partners (Partners assigned to work most closely with a Grantee and serve as the liaison to the rest of the Partner community) will offer Grantee Field Trips.

As always, come according to your interests and time; we look forward to seeing you if and when it works.

Education Round: Gone Hybrid

Improving educational outcomes for all our students remains a consistently high-priority focus area for SV2 and our Partners. Based on strong Partner interest, we’re planning an innovative Education Learning Year in combination with a Lightning Grant Round for 2016-2017.

The Learning Year, led Partners Alison Elliott and Jon Goulden, will provide opportunities for Partners to grow in understanding of the larger context in which our Education grants are made. While exact topics are still being planned, we expect to learn from guest experts on topics like What’s Behind the Achievement Gap, How the System works: Politics and $$, Schools that Beat the Odds, and Disruptive Innovation. These monthly learning sessions will begin on September 15th at 11:30am. RSVP for the kickoff HERE.

In addition, we plan to offer a working group for Partners who want to roll up their sleeves and engage in a more hands-on landscape analysis of education needs and opportunities in a particular Bay Area geography. If you’re interested in learning more about the working group, please contact Partner Kelly Pope (

Led by Partner Aarti Chandna, the Lightning Grant Round portion of the year will likely take place in March, in a subtopic to be determined in part by what we learn together in the fall and winter. As with all our Lightning Grant Rounds, this Round will involve learning from the diligence work of funder allies who generously share their expertise with us and nominate applicants from their own portfolios. We’ll have two in-person meetings to hear from applicants and choose a Grantee.

We’re particularly excited about this hybrid approach because we think this comprehensive landscape learning/fast-paced collaborative grantmaking opportunity will have something for every Partner. We look forward to a rewarding year ahead in Education and hope you’ll join us!

Impact Investing: On a Roll

Building off a successful pilot this past year, we’re excited to announce SV2’s second experiential learning-focused Impact Investment initiative, which will kick off on September 7th at 11:30am with SV2 Partners Lisa Jones and Tony Stayner at the helm. RSVP here for our kickoff meeting.

For a summary recap of last year, including SV2’s first three impact investment deals, click here.

Based on Partner feedback, we are continuing to improve our work in this area and, as such, expect a handful of refinements this upcoming year’s impact investing experiential learning offerings. They will include a mix of accessible Partner education programming open to all interested current and future Partners, complemented by a core self-managed Partner Working Group to source and diligence deals opportunities that will require a certain higher level of active, ongoing participation relative to last year from a smaller subset of interested, committed Partners (prior impact investing expertise helpful but not required though a time commitment will be).

For Partners interested in learning more about impact investing and/or potentially participating on this year’s impact investing Working Group, September is packed full of learning opportunities. Below are three events that Partners are welcome to sign up for if interested (fees may apply). A number of Partners are already confirmed as attending, including some Partners interested in participating in this year’s core Impact Investment Working Group.

  • Aug 18 Miller Center GSBI Investor Showcase, Thursday, August 18, 2016 from 9:30 AM to 2:00 PM (PDT) at Santa Clara.  Use discount code “GSBIVIP" for complimentary tickets.

  • Sept 13 Investors’ Circle national pitch event in San Francisco (discounted early bird and IC member rate available for current SV2 Partners)

  • Sept 14-17 SOCAP 2016 in San Francisco.  A number of SV2 Partners plan to attend this year as in years past.

We’re enthusiastic about the chance to work with many of you through SV2’s impact investment initiative this upcoming year.  Don’t forget to make sure your my.SV2 Partner profile is subscribed to the my.SV2 Impact Investing Community forum through which future communications and resources will be available (more about updating your my.SV2 profile and preferences here).
Please contact either Tony ( or Lisa ( with any questions.

Surge of Interest in Economic Opportunity

In response to preferences expressed in the All-Partner Survey, SV2 will be offering a Grant Round in a new area this year: Economic Opportunity & Employment. While SV2 has made smaller grants in this sector in the past, including our pilot Lightning Grant Round in spring 2015, we will be focusing a full Grant Round for the first time in the area of Economic Opportunity. This will be a great opportunity for Partners to learn about a timely area of need in our community.

Partners Shalyn Eason and Paru Yusuf will be co-leading this Round, which will take place from January to May 2017. Please plan to join us!

If you are interested in helping to conduct landscape research to develop a pipeline of potential applicants (a key aspect of any Grant Round but especially ground-breaking in an area new to SV2), please contact Shalyn ( or Paru (

Grantee Spotlight: SVUDL’s Summer Institute 

Silicon Valley Urban Debate League’s (SVUDL) second annual Summer Debate Institute took place last month with a record number of students in attendance -- over 100, almost double last year’s number.

SV2’s most recent Education Grantee, SVUDL, used part of their grant dollars to fund student transportation costs to the Institute -- a significant factor in their increased attendance. SV2 invested “beyond the dollars” in the Summer Institute as well, with Lead Partner Linda Lazor coordinating a lunchtime career panel of SV2 Partners who spoke about their career paths with students, recounting how they overcame challenges, and the connections between skills learned in debate and real-world careers. On the career panel, Partners Jon Goulden spoke on marketing, Kwok Lau on manufacturing, Mark Wilson on law, and staff member Jody Chang on nonprofit management. Check out more photos on SVUDL's blog here. [Final quote or summary statement to be added after event] 

Fall Gathering - Save the Date!

Save the date! Details to come.

Keep Up to Date on my.SV2 

The start of a new program year is the perfect time to make sure your my.sv2 profile and preferences are up to date. This takes just a few moments and will help effectively and efficiently connect you with fellow Partners, Grantees, and events of interest.

Check out the FAQ section on my.sv2 - these helpful, step-by-step guides will walk you through how to ensure you're subscribed to the correct email lists, have signed up to receive the updates you're most curious about, and have completed a profile that accurately reflects you and your interests.

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