Hakeem Mitha was completing his MBA through Queen’s University in 2016, and one of his professor’s mentioned the SVP business model to him. The professor, Daniel Tisch, is a co-founder of the Toronto SVP chapter. Back in Calgary, Hakeem and his fiancée, Saaraa Premji, wanted to become more involved within their community, and connected with SVP Calgary’s Executive Director Lindsay Read.
Fast-forward two years, and they are active members of the SVP Calgary: Hakeem chairs the Investment Committee, which guides the selection of which non-profit investees SVP partners with. Meanwhile, Saaraa manages the design for SVP Calgary’s signature event, Fast Pitch. They were both drawn to the idea of being able to be part of one organization, while gaining exposure to multiple nonprofits at the same time. By joining SVP, they get to share their philanthropic journey together.
They bring different skill sets to the table: Hakeem works at Brookfield Residential in Corporate Finance and Planning, and Saaraa recently completed an internship focused on strategy and design at Critical Mass. As SVP partners, they are able to use their expertise to support the organization and the local non-profit investees.
“It’s a great networking opportunity,” says Saaraa. “We get to meet and interact with people from all over the city, from different circles and professions while contributing to the local community.”
As for why they continue to support the SVP model, Hakeem says, “We enjoy the idea of following our donation dollars and feel the SVP model helps nonprofits become sustainable.”