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SVP: Part of His DNA

Posted by boston
Larry Wallach may be reasonably new to the Boston area, but he is an SVP veteran. He started his SVP journey in Seattle and then helped launch a new chapter in Santa Barbara before settling in Belmont.

“We enable Partners to contribute to nonprofits using skills they’ve honed over a lifetime. They maximize their value and produce enormous social good. That’s what drives SVP. That’s what makes us unique.”

Larry Wallach, Board Member, Portfolio Grant Committee Chair, Recruitment Committee Chair

Tell us about your SVP journey.

I attended an SVP cocktail party at the Seattle home of a Nobel Prize winner in science, and the rest, as they say, is history. It was the people that really inspired me. Smart, engaged folks who were doing some amazing work through SVP.

I immediately joined the Investment Committee, which is a great way to first get involved and learn firsthand what we do. I was next asked to take over as Lead Partner for one of our Grantees. Building on the work of SVP staff and previous Lead Partners, I had a workplan that set our goals, gave us direction, and a provided a set of deliverables to meet. I took the organization through a strategic planning process, helped them tap new revenue streams, and directed a number of capacity building projects. (Learn more about Larry’s engagement as a Lead Partner by watching this CNN news clip.)

That work led to my joining SVP Seattle’s Portfolio Grant Committee, which I eventually chaired before moving to California, where I was a Founding Partner of SVP Santa Barbara and participated in SVP LA’s Fast Pitch program.

I’ve been with SVP Boston for a little under 3 years. I’m tremendously impressed by our roster of Partners. It’s an all-star team. So many brilliant people sharing their time, talent, and “can do” spirit.

Tell us about one of your favorite Grantee projects.

I’ve worked on some great projects with SVP Boston. One of my favorites was a marketing and communications project. We were trying to figure out what people knew about one of our Grantees — where there was alignment and how it could better communicate its identity and message.

We methodically researched similar organizations, key stakeholders, and program beneficiaries to learn what they did and didn’t know. We then compared this information with the mission and goals to determine where the Grantee was falling short in its messaging and then made suggestions as to how it could strengthen its brand. This was challenging work that benefited the organization and provided me with a valuable growth experience.

As a new Board member, what are you hoping to accomplish this year?

There’s so much we already do well, it’s really a matter of building on our success. I am particularly proud of the Portfolio Grant Committee’s recent effort to improve and standardize the workplans we create in collaboration with each of our Grantees. These “road maps” serve as the foundation for goal setting, service delivery, and outcome measurement with our Grantees. They help expand opportunities for Partner engagement and provide better benchmarks to track progress. We can use these more highly refined workplans to identify where we are succeeding and how we could do better as we strive to improve our model.

Boston is such fertile ground for SVP, it makes me all the more excited about our recently launched Recruitment Committee and the opportunity we have to develop a comprehensive strategy to spur the growth of our partnership. Our organization is already on an upward trajectory, and I am confident that with a little more effort and planning we will meet our ambitious long-term membership goals.