Type: Partner Highlight

Seema Batavia

How did you hear about SV2?

I was looking for an organization in which I could both learn and engage in philanthropy. I found SV2 through extensive research on the internet and through my peer network.

What made you decide to join?

After attending a few events, I felt that SV2 not only met my needs in terms of providing a venue for strategic philanthropy, but also provided a community of like-minded and like-valued people. I felt like I had met my ‘tribe.”

How have you been involved?

I have been involved in several Grant and Impact Investing Rounds which were all great experiences. I am also leading the SV2 Kids program to curate activities for our younger ones (4-12 years) to become exposed to issues in our community, foster compassion and kindness, and create a spirit of service.

What have you enjoyed most?

I’ve enjoyed everything that I’ve done with SV2. The community, activities, and collaborating with other Partners to make things happen has been extremely rewarding.

Jill Olson

How did you hear about SV2?

Nine years ago I sat next to a jovial gentleman at a fundraising dinner. We talked that evening about nonprofits dear to our hearts and I explained how a paper I wrote in graduate school inspired my parents to start a family foundation which they asked me to administer. My dinner partner was a current SV2 partner and he told me several SV2 partners also managed their family’s foundations and he thought SV2 membership might be a great way for me to learn from and network with other family foundation managers. He invited me to a cocktail party for perspective SV2 partners and I joined that month!

What made you decide to join?

Lindsay Austin Louie was the warm and wicked-smart Executive Director of SV2 when I joined in 2008 and her personality was one the attractions that drew me to SV2. My dad had a small stroke the weekend I was supposed to attend the annual SV2 partner gathering as a potential partner and when I called Lindsay to explain why I could not attend the event, we ended up talking for a long time on the phone about my dad’s health scare. It was Lindsay’s warmth and compassion that convinced me that SV2 was an organization worthy of my time and charitable dollars. Over the past eight years, I have met other staff and partners whose compassion for our community have kept me signing up year after year to be an SV2 partner.

How have you been involved?

Shy by nature, I kept a low profile during my first few years at SV2 but Lindsay had other plans for me. Lindsay recruited me to co-lead an Educational Grant round and she recruited my son, Andrew, for the SV2 Teens program when it first launched. It’s hard to say which one of us was most challenged by our SV2 experiences in those first years! Andrew repeated the SV2 Teens program a second time and talked for years afterwards about the businesses the group visited, the entrepreneurs they met, the nonprofit executive directors that inspired him and how difficult it was to choose just one grantee from a pool of fabulous applicants. I currently serve with Nancy Heinen as a Lead Partner with our amazing 2015 International Grant Round recipient, Village Enterprise (VE).

What have you enjoyed most?

My work as Lead Partner to our Grantee, Village Enterprise. The vibe of Village Enterprise staff attracts a tribe of faithful donors and supporters; it’s almost like an audible drum beat of success beating out an irresistible rhythm. Last year a handful of SV2 partners met with visiting Kenyan Country Director, Tadeo Muriuki, to learn about VE’s business training, mentoring and saving circles for poor rural clients. He displayed an infectious passion for the people who come to VE with no business background and graduate from their program with business skills, business partners, a dedicated mentor and membership in a savings circle. My proximity to the talented and committed Village Enterprise staff has inspired me as a philanthropist to not just fund enterprises but to befriend them.

Simon Shachter

How did you hear about SV2?

I heard about SV2 when I was in high school working part-time at the San Francisco Jewish Federation. At the time I was working on the Federation’s teen philanthropy programs as SV2 was creating their own teen program. I was able to sit in on some meetings and help out. I set a long-term goal of hoping to join SV2 at some point in the distant future, but was lucky enough to be able to join much sooner.

What made you decide to join?

Out of college, I got a job at the Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen Foundation where my boss presented me with the opportunity to join SV2. I was overjoyed and filled out the application immediately!

How have you been involved?

In my first year, I took some time to understand how grant rounds work and how I could contribute to the community. In my second year, I participated in multiple grantmaking rounds and joined the NextGen Working Group to understand how SV2 can cater to the needs and interests of the next generation of philanthropists in Silicon Valley.

What have you enjoyed most?

My favorite thing about SV2 is all the opportunities for learning. You can learn by doing through the grant rounds, through workshops and deep dives, through partner events, and through the partners and nonprofits themselves. In every meeting I look forward to talking and learning more from different members of the partnership and through the grantmaking processes and discussions, bring all that I can back to my personal philanthropy.

Jon Goulden

jon-kwok-couple
How did you hear about SV2?

A good friend, who was already an SV2 Partner, suggested that we might be interested and invited us to a “Get to Know SV2” event.

What made you decide to join?

Jon: With our children already ‘off to college’ we had extra time and wanted to learn more about philanthropy. SV2 made it easy to ‘try things out’ to see if we were truly interested in this type of organization.

Kwok: I had just retired from full-time corporate work and was looking for an opportunity to learn and engage in philanthropy. Education was the specific area with which I wanted to be involved. SV2 was the perfect fit – that year the Education Grant round was designed as a learning year.

How have you been involved?

Jon: I have been involved with the Education group at SV2. My first year was a Learning Year for this group so I had time to meet folks and get to know the organization. After that I participated in several other Grant Rounds. This year I am helping to facilitate another Learning Year focused on helping Partners build a deeper understanding of the current landscape of preK-12 education in California and the complexities of ensuring equal opportunity for all children.

Kwok: I am participating in my 5th Education Grant round. Somos Mayfair was our Education Grantee in 2015 – the focus was early childhood education (0-8 years of age). I was inspired by the work of Somos and especially by their ED and became a Co-Lead Partner, the liaison between Somos and SV2. Somos is working in one of the highest need areas in East San Jose by providing support to children and their families to improve education and uplift their community.

What have you enjoyed most?

Jon: I truly enjoy the learning aspects of SV2 – from presentations from great speakers or learning to research items as part of the Partner team in the Grant Rounds. I also appreciate the opportunity to hear different points of view – at one grant round session we had a small group that had totally opposite views as to how to rank the candidates AND we had a great conversation about our thought processes.

Kwok: What I have enjoyed most about SV2 is gaining a cohort of partners who are wonderful to work with and learn from. It is a joy to find like-minded people who are working to have a positive impact in our surrounding communities. Most of all I have appreciated the exposure to expert resources and amazing nonprofits in the education area.

Kwok Lau

jon-kwok-couple
How did you hear about SV2?

A good friend, who was already an SV2 Partner, suggested that we might be interested and invited us to a “Get to Know SV2” event.

What made you decide to join?

Kwok: I had just retired from full-time corporate work and was looking for an opportunity to learn and engage in philanthropy. Education was the specific area with which I wanted to be involved. SV2 was the perfect fit – that year the Education Grant round was designed as a learning year.

Jon: With our children already ‘off to college’ we had extra time and wanted to learn more about philanthropy. SV2 made it easy to ‘try things out’ to see if we were truly interested in this type of organization.

How have you been involved?

Kwok: I am participating in my 5th Education Grant round. Somos Mayfair was our Education Grantee in 2015 – the focus was early childhood education (0-8 years of age). I was inspired by the work of Somos and especially by their ED and became a Co-Lead Partner, the liaison between Somos and SV2. Somos is working in one of the highest need areas in East San Jose by providing support to children and their families to improve education and uplift their community.

Jon: I have been involved with the Education group at SV2. My first year was a Learning Year for this group so I had time to meet folks and get to know the organization. After that I participated in several other Grant Rounds. This year I am helping to facilitate another Learning Year focused on helping Partners build a deeper understanding of the current landscape of preK-12 education in California and the complexities of ensuring equal opportunity for all children.

What have you enjoyed most?

Kwok: What I have enjoyed most about SV2 is gaining a cohort of partners who are wonderful to work with and learn from. It is a joy to find like-minded people who are working to have a positive impact in our surrounding communities. Most of all I have appreciated the exposure to expert resources and amazing nonprofits in the early childhood education area.

Jon: I truly enjoy the learning aspects of SV2 – either from presentations or having to research items as part of the partner team. I also appreciate the opportunity to hear different points of view – at one grant round session we had a small group that had totally opposite views as to how to rank the candidates AND we had a great conversation about our thought processes.

Tony Stayner

How did you hear about SV2?

SV2 came highly recommended by two different programs I attended on strategic philanthropy, one through a Young President’s Organization event where Lance Fors spoke, and the other through The Philanthropy Workshop program where SV2 Partner, Kelly Pope, spoke.

What made you decide to join?

First, the timing was right. My children were all off to college and I was at the point where I wanted to up my impact. Then, I went to a few grant round meetings and was so impressed with the quality of the discussion and the people in the room. Finally, I wanted to join a community of like-minded folks to continue learning to increase my effectiveness and to share this journey with, and have found SV2 to be just the place.

How have you been involved?

I am about to start my fourth year at SV2. I have been involved in one Environment Grant Round, and two International Grant Rounds. Last year, I co-led the pilot Impact Investing Round and am co-leading the round this year. I joined the board last year and am now the Finance Chair and Treasurer.

What have you enjoyed most?

The impact investing has really grown on me. I believe we have vastly underutilized the power of markets to solve our world’s most difficult problems. Seeing how a number of social entrepreneurs have devised creative business models to scale social change is fascinating, and learning together with a terrific group of partners as we evaluate the potential investments is energizing. Finally, I am surprised to discover how good it feels to make investments aligned with your values.