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August 4, 2016

A Preview: Grantmaking & Impact Investing Offerings Ahead

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. If you're curious to know what's coming up and when, here's a visual overview.

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 sessions with local experts where Partners will discuss needs and opportunities in the Bay Area education space.

Partner Kelly Pope will concurrently lead a landscape analysis working group for interested Partners. Participants will then transition into a fast-paced Education 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.

Economic Opportunity

The year ahead will also feature a new focus area for SV2, Economic Opportunity and Employment. This traditional full-length Grant Round will be led by Partners Paru Yusuf and Shalyn Eason and will take place from January to May 2017. More information below.

Impact Investing

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

Lightning Grant Rounds

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.

Family Philanthropy

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 additional monthly learning programs on a variety of cutting-edge social impact and effective philanthropy topics.

Learning Sessions: Your Sneak Peak

SV2’s Partner and Grantee learning program line-up for 2016-17 is teeming with diverse offerings, like Essentials of Strategies for Problem Solving in Philanthropy with SV2 Partner Paul BrestLocal Giving Research Findings with Partners Alexa Culwell and Heather McLeod Grant, and Impact Investing, to name a few. See a high-level preview here.

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 three main kinds of Learning Programs in store: 

1) 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, taking place from 12:00-1:30 pm most often on Fridays at the SV2 office, but occasionally at other times due to scheduling needs. 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 to current Partners and Grantees.

These “Deep Dive” workshops allow Partners, Grantees and presenters alike to dig into a particular topic and offer experiences that enlighten and 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.

2) 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 fellow members of the SV2 community 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 or Impact Investment Rounds or other learning session line-up.

3) Partner-Organized Grantee Field Trips: SV2 Partners are eager for more time to connect and learn “in the field” and see Grantees' work in action. Lead Partners, who serve as liaisons between Grantees and the SV2 community, will offer Grantee Field Trips a handful of times per year.

You can RSVP for all learning programs by either visiting our website,, or by visiting the my.SV2 collaboration platform. 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 by 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 community. If you’re interested in learning more about the working group, please contact Partner Kelly Pope (

Led by Partner Aarti Chandna, the Education 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: Ready to Dig in

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 Bill Brownell, 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 are planning a handful of refinements in 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 that will meet regularly to source and diligence deals opportunities.

Participation in the Working Group 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. Please let leader Tony Stayner ( know if you plan to attend.

We’re enthusiastic about the chance to engage with many of you through SV2’s impact investment initiative this upcoming year.  
Feel free to contact Bill (, Tony ( or Lisa ( with any questions.

Surge of Interest in Economic Opportunity

In response to feedback in the All-Partner Survey, SV2 will be focusing 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 during our pilot Lightning Grant Round in spring 2015, we're excited to focus a full Grant Round for the first time in this critical area of need.

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. Check out some photos on SVUDL's blog here

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.

The lunch gathering concluded with networking during which SVUDL students asked Partners questions like “How did you overcome your shyness?” and “What does it take to start your own business?” This is an energetic and motivated group of students who are going places!

Fall Gathering - RSVP Now!

What happens when we help others amplify the power of their own voices? To find out, join your fellow SV2 community members to hear from SV2’s newest Grantees - Global Press Institute, Silicon Valley Urban Debate League, and Literacy for Environmental Justice at this year’s Fall Gathering at the Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto from 6:00-8:30pm on Tues., Sept. 27. RSVP today.

The evening will be filled with conversation and community as we collectively appreciate the awesome power of voice, learn more about what’s coming up at SV2, and spend time together with SV2 Grantees, Partners, and other social impact field leaders.

Keep up to Date on my.SV2 

The start of a new program year is the perfect time for all Partners to make sure your my.SV2 profile and preferences are fully up to date. This takes just a few moments and will enable you to connect with fellow Partners, stay abreast of upcoming events, and ensure you don't miss important announcements in the areas you care about most. 

Check out the FAQ section on my.SV2 - these short, 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 your interests and experience.

If for any reason you still need a password to access my.SV2 or you need to reset your password, click here.

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