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Social Venture Partners International (SVPI) serves as a hub for information, guidance and connection. We are the invisible backbone that allows each city in the SVP Network to focus on their purpose and passion and less on the processes associated with nonprofit management.

Formalizing the Network

The first SVP was established in Seattle in 1997.  Paul Brainerd had just sold his software company, Aldus Corporation, and was ready for his next journey.  Drawing on a life-long passion for the environment, Paul invited colleagues, friends and community members to discuss his new idea – this one borne of the desire to get thousands more people highly engaged in philanthropy.  These people would not just write checks.  They would work shoulder-to-shoulder with nonprofits –  using their professional skills to tackle Seattle’s most pressing problems.   More than a hundred people showed up for that first meeting.  Soon after the SVP model and the engaged philanthropy movement was set in motion.

By 2001, 18 SVPs had sprung up organically. Until that point, SVP in Seattle and ‘Executive Connector’  Paul Shoemaker had been acting as the informal network organizer and provider of information services and best practices.  It became clear that it was time to formalize the network.  SVPI was born as the invisible backbone that links the member organizations, staff and their Partners, allowing them to convene and learn from one another, while fostering new SVPs throughout the world.

SVP now exists to enable each SVP to harness the full power of the network.