Year: 2016

It’s here: SV2’s new website!

website-screenshotOver the past several months, a team of SV2 Board members, and staff embarked on a project to build a new mobile-responsive website that is vibrant, welcoming, easy to navigate, and informative. This also marks the final phase of the branding project that we initiated last year. The larger project was focused on creating a new logo, brand, and website to ensure that the communications tools that we use are emblematic of SV2’s impact, community values, personality, and the bold goals we set forth in our strategic plan. Today, we are thrilled to introduce you to SV2’s new website!

While the new site is mostly geared to an external audience (i.e. people who don’t know a lot about SV2 but would like to learn more), Partners can use the site to navigate to our collaboration platform, my.SV2, RSVP to upcoming events, check out SV2’s board members and Partner leaders, and read more about what’s new at SV2 or what’s going on with our Grantees and Impact Investees.

One of SV2’s board members recently exclaimed, “Wow! I will be so proud to send everyone to this site! Awesome.” We hope that you’re as excited as we are to start using this new site. After you take it for a test drive, we hope you’ll take a moment to comment on it on social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram anyone!?). And if you’ve been meaning to tell a friend about SV2, now’s a great time to reach out to share the new website with him or her. This new site makes it much easier for new audience members to understand what the SV2 community is all about.

A HUGE thank you to the two leaders of the SV2 Board’s Website Working Group, Alison Elliott and Lyn Christenson, for their hard work on this project. Thank you also to the many other Board members who provided their feedback and ideas along the way, especially Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, Bill Brownell, Dan Barritt, Shalyn Eason, Nancy Heinen, Lisa Jones, Kim Meredith, Diane Parnes, and Kelly Pope.

New Economic Opportunity Grant Round Kicks Off

opportunity-ahead-signWe’re excited to kick off the much-anticipated Economic Opportunity & Employment Grant Round on January 12. Elena Chávez Quezada, Senior Program Officer for Economic Security at the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, will share an overview of this sector and perspective on possible areas of focus for the Round. At the conclusion of this meeting, Partners will vote to select a sub-topic focus for the Round. The Economic Opportunity & Employment Grant Round will be led by Partners Paru Yusuf and Shalyn Eason, and will meet every two to four weeks on Thursdays from 11:30am-1:30pm, January through May 2017.

This sector was chosen in response to significant interest expressed in the 2016 SV2 All-Partner Survey. This focus on developing economic opportunity in the Bay Area is especially timely with the recent release of The Giving Code report.

We hope you’ll join us! RSVP now to attend the kickoff meeting on January 12. When you RSVP, you will be also subscribed to the my.SV2 Community for this Round. If you’re interested in this topic but cannot come on January 12, please email Jody at jchang@sv2.org to be subscribed.

Spotlight on Global Press Institute

Global Press Institute, one of SV2’s 2016-19 Grantees, trains and employs women in developing media markets to produce high-quality local news coverage that elevates local and global awareness, ignites social change, and addresses the decline in quality of international journalism. Hear from GPI’s Executive Director Cristi Hegranes, who spoke at SV2’s Fall Gathering, in this video to learn more about GPI’s work and why we are so inspired by Cristi and her talented team.

GPI’s journalists provide a different and important perspective as citizens of the developing countries and communities they are writing about–often uncovering stories that otherwise would not be told. In 10 years, Global Press Institute has trained 165 reporters in 26 countries who have written 8,000 stories and won 22 awards.

Visit GPI’s Global Press Journal to read articles from GPI-trained reporters from around the world who cover a variety of topics including International Business, Culture, Human Rights, and Global Health. You can even sign up for a weekly roundup of articles, GPJ Weekly, that arrives in your inbox each Monday – look for the sign-up link on the Global Press Journal homepage. If you have questions on how you might engage or support GPI, please contact GPI’s Lead Partners, Usha Sekar (ushasekar@gmail.com) and Sayuri Sharper (ssharper@alum.mit.edu).

Family Philanthropy Affinity Group

Are you actively engaged in thinking about your financial giving as a family (however you define family) and want to share, problem solve, and learn with others? A new Partner-led Family Philanthropy Affinity Group will provide a safe space to explore personal experiences, successes, and challenges in an ongoing, intimate setting. Whether your giving vehicle is a family foundation, a donor advised fund, family office or some other structure, join us! The first meeting will be Wednesday, January 11 at 10:30am – 12:00pm.

This group is just being formed – our hope is that the issues we discuss will be responsive to Partners’ needs and provide a setting for applied learning. The Affinity Group will likely meet approximately four times per year and is being led by Partners Susan Hanson and Jody Chang. Note that this group is distinct from the more general Family Philanthropy Springboard Learning Session on March 3 – but interested Partners are welcome to attend either or both meetings.

RSVP for the January 11 Family Philanthropy Affinity Group meeting, or reach out with questions, by emailing Susan Hanson at sghanson@gmail.com.

Learn with us!

SV2 is learning… about learning!

With Partners Alison Elliott and Jon Goulden at the helm, SV2 has embarked on an Education Learning Year, a series of learning sessions about our local education landscape. Check out recordings of our first three sessions – What’s Behind the Achievement Gap on Sep. 15 (audio); How the System Works: Politics and $$ on Oct. 18 (video); and Schools that Beat the Odds on Nov. 17 (video).

While recent Education Grant Rounds have delved into specific approaches to the challenges of our educational system, the Education Learning Year seeks to provide a broader, more holistic view of the larger educational landscape in which SV2 and its grantmaking are operating.

We kicked off the year in September with What’s Behind the Achievement Gap, hearing from a panel of practitioners and experts on the state of education equity and the achievement gap in California. In October, we learned all about school funding from Mark Skvarna, Chief Business Officer at Santa Clara County Office of Education. We then tried our own hands at balancing a school budget – Alison Elliott led us in a fascinating interactive simulation that helped us understand just how complex school funding can be.

Finally, in November, we convened a panel of educational leaders from schools that are “beating the odds.” Moderated by Sarah Tucker from Innovate Schools, these school leaders – whose schools had all been named World Class Schools by Innovate – talked about on-the-ground learnings from their experience at innovative schools that have seen results.

There are still many ways to get involved! The Education Learning Year is part of a new hybrid approach SV2 is piloting for our education programming this year. If you’d like to engage in our educational programming, choose from one or more of the following options:

  • Stay tuned for more information about the January Education learning session coming soon.
  • If you’d like to roll up your sleeves, Partner Kelly Pope is leading a working group of Partners who want to engage in a more hands-on landscape analysis of education needs in a Bay Area community. To learn more about the working group, please contact Kelly (kgpope@gmail.com).
  • Finally, Partners Aarti Chandna and Jim Basile are leading a Lightning Grant Round focused on Education after the Learning Year is complete. This round will take place twice, first in March (March 14 & 28, at lunchtime) and then in May (dates TBD, at dinnertime). For more information, contact Jody Chang, SV2 Grantmaking Officer (jchang@sv2.org).

A huge thank you to our Partner leaders for their hard work in helping SV2 and its Partners deepen our impact in this arena.

What SV2’s reading and watching

sv2-booksSV2 Springboard Session Video — The Giving Code: The State of Silicon Valley Nonprofits & Philanthropy. SV2 Partners Alexa Culwell and Heather McLeod Grant led a special session for SV2 on their new report on our region’s nonprofit and philanthropy ecosystems and how SV2 can play an important leadership role in bridging disconnects between the two.

Passionate about Potential (Huffington Post). Check out SV2 Grantee Village Enterprise featured in this HuffPost article about how, amidst the overwhelming need and opportunity in Sub-Saharan Africa, Village Enterprise has been laser-focused on lifting families out of extreme poverty using fundamental financial inclusion interventions.

Three Things Every Growing Nonprofit Needs to Scale (Stanford Social Innovation Review) — Kathleen Kelly Janus summarizes her research findings on early-stage social entrepreneurship success stories, research that included data from former SV2 Grantees.

Redefining Power and Privilege in the Social Sector

Trust-based relationships. Grantee-centric philanthropy. True partnership. How do funders and nonprofit leaders together improve the efficiency, respectfulness, and outcomes of our sector? In this highly interactive session on Fri., Dec 2, we will share tools for social sector leaders to create peer based interactions that leave us all with more well-spent time and resources. Sign up today – space is limited!

handsRedefining Power & Privilege in the Social Sector picks up where we left off with the Engaged Funders Do’s and Don’ts Springboard Session from October 2015, available here on video.

This intimate learning opportunity will likely shift your awareness of and approach to the many, often obscured dynamics of power and privilege in funder-fundee relationships — and in everyday life. While in the workshop, you’ll experience a safe atmosphere designed to help you share honestly and leave with some tools that you can use right away.

Presenters: Jessamyn Shams-Lau, Executive Director of the Peery Foundation & Jane Leu, CEO/Founder of Smarter Good.

Who should attend:  SV2 Partners and Grantees. Prospective Partners are welcome on a space available basis.

Unlocking the Silicon Valley Giving Code

Over the last nine months, SV2 has partnered in a landmark report on Silicon Valley nonprofits and philanthropy, which was just recently published. The Giving Code, authored by SV2 Partners Alexa Cortes Culwell and Heather McLeod Grant of Open Impact, highlights the gap between Silicon Valley nonprofit needs and local funding realities. Download the full report here, and join us on Nov. 4 for a special session led by Alexa and Heather on how SV2 can be an even more meaningful part of the solution.

At the same time that the need for Silicon Valley nonprofits’ services is rising, the vast majority of philanthropic dollars in Silicon Valley are directed out of the region. Giving to local, community-based organizations represents just 7% of the $1.2 billion given away by private foundations in our region every year. The Giving Code identifies key barriers to connection between philanthropists and local nonprofits – namely, gaps in knowledge and information, social networks, mindset and language, and empathy – and offers insights and ideas that both funders and nonprofits can use to break down these barriers and work together toward a thriving community for all.

Many SV2 Partners and Grantees served as partners and collaborators in the creation of The Giving Code, and Executive Director Jen Ratay and Board Chair Bill Brownell served as advisors to the report.

Do you want to be part of the solution to bridging the gap between local funders and nonprofits? SV2 is hosting a special session with Alexa and Heather on the Giving Code at SV2 on November 4th. Alexa and Heather will briefly present their findings and then lead attendees in a design thinking exercise focused on how all of us in the extended SV2 community might play a greater leadership role in bridging the knowledge, empathy, language, and network gaps and further connecting our community’s nonprofits and philanthropists. RSVP today!

Spotlight on Literacy for Environmental Justice (LEJ)

lej-picLiteracy for Environmental Justice (LEJ), winner of the Spring 2016 Lightning Grant Round, promotes ecological health, environmental stewardship, and community development in Southeast San Francisco by creating community stewardship and workforce development opportunities.

Focused on the Bayview Hunters Point community, LEJ is at the center of the largest redevelopment effort in San Francisco in recent history to regreen Candlestick Point and other nearby areas. Check out this short video from SV2’s Fall Gathering in September to learn more about LEJ’s work and why SV2 is so honored to partner with this community-based organization.

We also invite you and your family to join us for Hands-on-the-Land Day (RSVP here) on Sat. Nov. 12 from 9:45am-2pm. All ages are welcome!

Our day will begin with an overview of LEJ’s Urban Greening Grant project. Then we’ll dig in to plant hundreds of native plant species at the future Sunrise Point campsite that LEJ is currently constructing. The native plants that we’ll help to install are grown in LEJ’s nursery. This is a great way to participate in a community-based approach to restore ecological health with other SV2 Partners and their families.

Introducing SV2’s New Impact Report

impact-report-coverDid you know that SV2 Partners overwhelmingly report becoming more strategic, collaborative and generous in their giving, and more knowledgeable about local community needs and potential solutions as a result of their involvement with SV2?

In SV2’s hot-off-the-press 2015-16 Impact Report, you can read more about how Partners change by engaging in SV2 as well as the compelling work of each of our Grantees and Impact Investees.

You’ll also learn the ways in which SV2 funding and Beyond-the-Dollars Support have helped SV2 Grantees strengthen their organizations and scale their impact in the community. We invite you to share the full report widely with friends who may be interested in learning more about the SV2 community and our collective impact.