Type: Partner Highlight

Lisa Guerra

How did you hear about SV2?

I initially heard about SV2 many years before joining. I went to the website to learn more and really liked what I saw. I didn’t join right away, but did find myself periodically returning to the SV2 website to find out what was new.

What made you decide to join?

I reached a point in my life where I wanted to get more involved in philanthropy. I wanted to study the issues, understand the work that was being done, and find ways that I could help. I read books and researched online, but still felt something was missing. I realized I was feeling a bit isolated and was missing the social aspect of working with a team to discuss, brainstorm, and solve problems. I then thought of SV2, and realized it might help me fill that gap.

How have you been involved?

I really like the fact that with SV2 you get to choose how involved you want to be. I started by attending a number of learning programs and sitting in on several international and education grant round meetings. Over the next couple years I decided to get more involved and helped co-lead several Lightning Grant Rounds. Then this past year, I really enjoyed discussing social issues with the SV2 book club.

What have you enjoyed most?

Learning! SV2 has provided a welcoming and collaborative environment where I’ve been able to learn about all types of issue areas and about many aspects of non-profit and for-profit social ventures. I’ve learned about issues surrounding education, the environment, international development, economic opportunity, and affordable housing. I’ve been able to do this based on my interests, and all at my own pace.

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.

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.