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Social Venture Partners calls for Catapult Applications

Posted by jennie

Multi-year Catapult investments help nonprofits deepen community impact

Social Venture Partners (SVP) Boulder County today announced a call for Letters of Inquiry (LOI) for its multi-year Catapult program. SVP’s longest-running initiative, Catapult is a pro bono business consulting investment that aims to strengthen local nonprofits from the inside out – from board governance and leadership development to strategy, fundraising, communications, technology and more.

LOIs are due Jan. 11, 2019 by 4 p.m., and information sessions are scheduled for held Dec. 3, 11 and 19, as well as Jan. 3, 2019 at locations in Boulder, Longmont and Lafayette. Finalists will be notified in February and receive free organizational and leadership assessments. SVP will announce one new Catapult investee in spring 2019.

Organizations interested in submitting a LOI should read the 2019 Letter of Inquiry guidelines and attend an Information Session by registering here. Once chosen for investment, a nonprofit investee will typically receive pro bono consulting support valued between $200-400K over a three-year period.

“We believe strong nonprofits deliver better results,” says Jennie Arbogash, CEO. “That’s why we serve other Boulder County nonprofits to help them be more efficient, effective and sustainable over time.”

Specifically, SVP Partners – local philanthropic changemakers committed to ensure a thriving nonprofit community – both financially contribute and volunteer their time and expertise toward strengthening the confidence and capacity of community nonprofits and their leaders. “We know what it takes for our nonprofit clients to better deliver on their mission,” adds Arbogash. “Through the Catapult program, our investees benefit from the time, energy and experience of our members – as well as cash grants to support staff time – to create mighty changes inside their organizations that lead to overall social change.”

Previous finalists for Catapult investments have meaningfully benefitted from the application process, alone. Says Hayden Dansky, Executive Director of Boulder Food Rescue, “By evaluating our organization on every level and getting direct feedback, we were able to take a step back and really look at how we’re prioritizing our energy and resources.

“We went through an incredibly quick growth phase, and the Catapult application process helped us look at the bigger picture to identify where we are as an organization, and strategize what we need to do to effectively deliver on our mission five and 10 years down the line.

“Most of us who work in the nonprofit sector do so from a place of passion and responsibility for the people we serve. In our case, we serve people in crisis … and it’s easy to get caught up in that, at the day-to-day ground level. As an SVP applicant, however, we had the opportunity to assess our efforts from a broader, more strategic perspective.”

Agrees Jennifer Marie Shriver, Development Director of Community Cycles, “We found the process of completing the organizational assessment to be very helpful to our organization. I think many nonprofits have a similar situation – we find ourselves focused on implementation and day-to-day work, and it’s rare that we’re able to prioritize assessments and take on an evaluative, planning mindset. The Catapult application process gave our board and staff the opportunity to deeply consider how we’re doing, what our strengths and gaps are as an organization … and where we’d like to go.

“The assessment and the conversations we had in the process helped us make some important leadership changes, and gave us an important experience of common ground and a shared reality.”

For Jen Wilger, Executive Director of the Temple Grandin School, the opportunity to “step back and take the time” also helped clarify the organization’s priorities. “The application process made it easy to gather feedback from a variety of people throughout our organization. One great insight we obtained along the way was the degree of consensus in our organization. We have some obvious strengths, but also some known areas of challenge. Doing an organizational assessment helped us prioritize what happens next, strengthened by outsiders’ perspectives. And the process itself was very thoughtful and helpful, thanks to good facilitation and follow-ups.”

Concludes Arbogash, “Our capacity-building programming utilizes private sector professional and business proven practices for greater community impact.” For more information about SVP Boulder County and the Catapult program, contact Jennie Arbogash at jennie@svpbouldercounty.org or 303.840.0165.

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