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Executive Director’s Journal: Jennie Reflects & Looks Ahead

Posted by olga

By Jennie Arbogash, SVP Executive Director

At this time of year we look back while preparing ourselves for the months ahead. Those close to me will typically describe me as driven, focused. They recognize that I care deeply about people and highly value integrity but am not demonstrative.  My natural inclination is to review the year through facts. The numbers will tell you that SVP had great impact in 2016:

  • WE surpassed $4.5 million in consulting contributions and $1.5 million in cash grants to Boulder County nonprofits through SVP’s longest standing program, Catapult.
  • WE served almost 200 individuals through Boards with Brains education, improving the quality of local board governance.
  • WE graduated 8 individuals from the Execs Evolve program, cultivating leadership skills and creating express organizational impacts.
  • WE built a learning community among current and alumni Investee executive directors in the Invested EDs peer learning cohort, strengthening leadership knowledge and support systems.
  • WE became an approved program operator for Encore Fellowships and hired a manager to launch the program in 2017.
  • WE provided knowledge-building and connections for 71 Partners (members) through high-level volunteer engagement and activities designed to offer a mix of social and educational development: small group gatherings, Partner Bootcamp, socials, and trainings.
  • WE added 19 individuals (Partners) to our team whom bring a wide variety of talents, perspectives, and learning goals.
  • Well over 200 individuals attended one or more of our 7 membership campaign events, becoming more connected and knowledgeable about Boulder County nonprofits.

Why did I write WE in capital letters?  Because the numbers won’t tell you the complexity behind that impact. The people who made it happen. The wins and losses. The very real struggles faced by our nonprofit sector.

20170103_141106The numbers don’t illuminate how our Partner volunteers and Board members treat their responsibilities in SVP with the commitment of a paid job. About how Ellen shares her wisdom AND her heart when coaching a nonprofit ED. About how Jeremy makes connections that strengthen community. About how much energy Amy dedicates to crafting meetings that will create strong outcomes. About how Bruce melts our hearts with his sweetness, or how Dennis makes us laugh. About how SVP wouldn’t have become an authorized Encore Fellowships program operator without Dita’s commitment. About how Josh was as distressed about the closing of one of our Investees as internal members of the InReach team.  About how often I have to tell staff (Olga, Shannon, and Audrey) that they should have gone home long ago. No number can quantify the passion and dedication of our people.  I’m just as proud of this team as of the stats above.

The numbers also don’t tell the stories of the people working in our local nonprofits; the individuals who ‘bare all’ to partner with SVP, working side-by-side with us for a better community.  About Sherlock* who called me about his struggle as a Board Chair to balance the best interests of the organization with his desire to give the under-performing ED a second chance. About Tilly* who grew a struggling nonprofit’s programs while making it sustainable just two years into her tenure.  About Eva* who bravely deflects personal attacks to do what she knows is in the best interest of her clients and social justice. Facts don’t tell their stories of courage, humility, grace, and humor.

There is hope in the people of SVP, whether they be members or nonprofit allies. And that is what stands out for me as I look forward to 2017. We have plans for big impact and I know our people will give their all for a brighter future.

Together WE’ll double-down on the programs we already offer while expanding to meet local needs.  Together WE’ll give experienced professionals an opportunity for an encore career in nonprofits and organizations the skilled human resources to up their game. Together WE’ll convene nonprofits and givers to explore the changing landscape. Together WE’ll unveil Pivot Points, point-in-time organizational assessments. And, together, WE’ll give voice to the stories of our community.

I can’t wait to team with you in 2017!

* names changed

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