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SVP International


Seeking Cleveland’s most effective and innovative nonprofit organizations

Who should apply? Effective and innovative nonprofits in any focus area seeking to become SVP’s 2019 Investee

The new SVP Investee will receive:

  • a year-long engagement of volunteer consulting to assist the leadership of an organization to make positive change
  • an unrestricted cash grant for capacity building
  • an opportunity to renew for up to three years

Deadline to apply: 5pm, January 8, 2019


USE OF VOLUNTEER CONSULTING AND FUNDS: Organizations selected as Investees will use SVP’s volunteer consulting and grant money to build strong, sustainable organizations to achieve their goals (rather than for programs).

Building Stronger Nonprofits
SVP believes that stronger management, systems, and infrastructure result in nonprofit organizations that are more effective in their program and service delivery. To achieve this, we give more than money. We build long-term strategic relationships with the nonprofits we support – our Investees (grantees). Our Partners – active donor volunteers – are individuals who contribute to SVP’s pooled fund and give high-level volunteer or professional assistance to meet the distinct needs of each Investee. SVP Partners will not do the operational work of the organization, but they will provide advice and guidance focused on the organization’s long-term success.

These are some areas in which SVP Partners have expertise and will collaborate with the organization:

 Strategic Thinking
Leadership Development
 Board Development and Governance
 Public Relations, Communications, and Marketing
 Fund Development Strategy
 Human Resources
 Business and Management Systems
 Volunteer Management
 Financial Management

Learn more about capacity building here.

Unrestricted Funding
SVP’s investment award is currently a one-year unrestricted grant of $15,000 payable in two six-month installments to one organization with the intent of establishing a multi-year relationship. At the end of the first year of volunteer consulting and funding, we review the grant outcomes and relationship potential to determine whether further financial and volunteer support is merited.

A MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL RELATIONSHIP: By working together, our Investees and Partners all benefit. Our Investees gain from the valuable collaborative relationship with and expertise of our Partners. In return, the experience allows our Partners to gain rich insight into community issues and the nonprofit sector and develop a deep connection to both the Investee and the entire community.


ISSUE AREA FOCUS: SVP’s Call for Applications is open to nonprofits that work in any issue area.

INNOVATION & IMPACT IN THE SOCIAL SECTOR: SVP is interested in innovative nonprofit organizations that use resources in creative and effective ways to deliver breakthrough social impact. They may:

  • pioneer new products or services or deliver them in new ways or to new populations
  • employ advanced technologies
  • leverage collaborations with other nonprofits, businesses, or public organizations
  • use new organizational structures or business models (such as social enterprises) to create earned income or employment
  • stay relevant through years of service by continually learning and adapting to needs

Their leaders have a vision for social impact. They are entrepreneurial and resourceful. They recruit and empower strong teams and focus on results.

EQUITY: Equity is central to SVP’s practices, relationships, and work. SVP defines equity as “achieved when you can no longer predict an advantage or disadvantage based on race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or ability. An equity framework is a proactive, strategic approach to improving outcomes that accounts for structural differences in opportunities, burdens and needs in order to advance targeted solutions that fulfill the promise of true equality for all.” (Definition from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy)

Applicant organizations should share SVP’s commitment to a culture and practices that are aligned with this understanding of equity.


SVP collaborates with innovative organizations that understand the importance of strong internal organizational capacity to achieve their mission. They have the following characteristics:

Potential for Effective Societal Impact – The organization addresses an important social issue and is making, or is likely to make, a significant impact. We look to work with an organization with a record of quality programming or a solid plan, one that could make even greater strides by improving its infrastructure.

Innovation – The organization uses an approach that is novel or unique or brings fresh thinking to time-tested approaches. The organization’s innovation is creating more dramatic results than similar groups’ approaches.

Organizational Fit – A major factor in the selection is the fit with SVP’s mission and operating model and between the organizational needs of the nonprofit and the skills of our Partners.

Size – For an effective engagement with SVP, an organization should be of optimal size to undertake the capacity-building projects and effectively leverage the time and talent of our volunteers. If an organization is too small, SVP might overwhelm it, but if it’s too large, an organization might not need SVP.

Leadership – Leaders embrace the SVP model of volunteer-consulting support tailored to the organization’s needs, are open to intensive self-assessment, and are able to regularly commit time to work with SVP volunteers.

Capacity Building – The organization will actively collaborate with SVP to address organizational needs (rather than programs).


Nonprofit Organization – Applicants must submit their designation from the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization.

Operating Model – Nonprofit social enterprises with revenue-generating strategies are eligible.

Age – Organizations of any age may apply; a record of successful programs is considered. Start-ups that demonstrate effective leadership, solid plans, and concrete goals will be considered.

Location – Proposals from organizations outside Cuyahoga County compete with those from within the county; location is considered as we determine the organization that is the best match for SVP and the availability of our Partners. We do require that the nonprofit Executive Director travel to meet with their Lead Partner and other Partner advisors.

Previous Applicants – Organizations featured in a previous bigBANG! may apply to become an SVP Investee. Former applicants who were not selected as an Investee may also apply again.

Exclusions – SVP does not consider proposals from individuals; organizations that require participation in religious activities; political organizations; pure sports teams; or those that discriminate by race, sexual orientation, gender, age, marital status, national origin, or physical ability. Although unrestricted, all SVP grants must be used exclusively for exempt purposes as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.


An optional information session was held on Wednesday, November 14th at SVP. You can view the slides from the session here. You can listen to an audio recording of the session here.

Applications are due by 5pm on January 8, 2019. The Investment Team will review all submissions in January and select 5-6 semi-finalists to submit full proposals to become the next SVP Investee. Semi-finalists will be notified in early February and full proposals will be due by 5pm on March 25, 2019. Semi-finalists will also host a site visit with the SVP Investment Team and staff in late April or early May. Two of the semi-finalists will be selected as finalists to pitch to the entire SVP Partnership on May 30, 2019. The winner will be notified by May 31, 2019.

2019 Nonprofit Schedule

Apply Here

To preview and/or print the application before creating an account, please click here.