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That’s a Wrap: Full Circle 2016

Posted by melissasmith

What a year for SVP Pittsburgh! In 2016 SVP Pittsburgh ramped up programming beyond our Fast and Fall Pitch events, to our current initiative, SVP Full Circle. SVP made this important shift to better serve our community nonprofits with strategy planning and financial diversification planning (in addition to our traditional pitch development). Full Circle also enables more SVP partners to be directly engaged in working with key community nonprofit leaders for 6-8 months. During this time, SVP partners coach the nonprofit they are paired with through several workshops with the long-term goal of preparing local leaders to take their nonprofits to the next level.

SVP Partner Anoo Verghis with Pittsburgh Musical Theater's Jennifer Birnie and Colleen Doyno

SVP Partner Anoo Verghis with Pittsburgh Musical Theater’s Jennifer Birnie and Colleen Doyno

The first round of Full Circle included a cohort of diverse and dynamic organizations including Cameroon Football Development Program, Three Rivers Mothers’ Milk Bank, Higher Achievement, Pittsburgh Musical Theater, and SmartFutures. SVP Partners Bill Slivka and Pamela Eichenbaum mentored Justin Forzano of CameroonFDP; Cindy Closkey, Al Calfo, and James Dalton mentored Denise O’Connor of Three Rivers Mothers’ Milk Bank; Kenny Chen, Andie Young, and John Mahood mentored Wendy Etheridge Smith of Higher Achievement; Pat Calhoun, Andréa Stanford, and Anoo Verghis mentored Colleen Doyno and Jennifer Birnie of Pittsburgh Musical Theater; and Jon Halpern and Stephanie Halpern mentored David Mosey of SmartFutures.

One of the most valuable components of SVP Full Circle is the collaborative process of defining each organizations’ strategy map. During the first workshop, SVP Executive Director Elizabeth Visnic and Nonprofit Coordinator Linda Krynski shared the building blocks for the process. Mentors worked together with nonprofit leaders and sometimes their boards to develop and edit the strategy map that provided the foundation for looking at diversifying funding sources and messaging their respective programs. Colleen Doyno, Executive Director of Pittsburgh Musical Theater noted, “the strategy map has been life changing for myself and PMT, I’ve taken it to my board, we have worked on it, and I’m proud to say it is the drive of our new strategic plan moving forward,” Specifically, the strategy maps gave focus to the Financial Sustainability workshop led by New Sun Rising, the Resource Mapping session with Citizen City, the lesson on Crowdfunding by SVP Partners Jon Halpern and Kenny Chen, and the Grant Writing workshop led by SVP Staff.


Ignite Night attendees chat with CameroonFDP’s Justin Forzano

You could say the final workshop was a culmination of the entire Full Circle initiative. Each nonprofit leader was challenged to put what they learned through Full Circle to use in messaging their program to the community through a pitch. Clearly, success for any program is dependent upon clearly articulating what you do, why it is needed, and impassioning others to get involved.  Often this takes someone who is not ‘too close’ to the day to day to help with the pitch development process. Denise O’Connor, Executive Director of Three Rivers Mothers’ Milk Bank explained, “It’s been so beneficial to us to have people come in to our facility who know nothing about what we do but have all this expertise in different areas and to help us look at things differently, it’s actually changed my messaging and has had such an impact day on our whole entire organization.” Toward this end, SVP Partners and staff worked with each nonprofit leader to develop a clear and compelling 3-minute pitch.

Eight months of hard work showcased last Thursday evening in one final event, SVP’s Full Circle Ignite Night. SVP Partners, family, and friends came together in the Great Room at the East End Cooperative Ministry to cheer on our 5 Full Circle Nonprofit leaders as they pitched to professionals from across sectors. Each leader shared how Full Circle ignited innovative change for their program, why their organization’s mission is important for our community, and how to get involved to be part of the social change these organizations are unleashing.

Watch the pitches here!


We appreciate East End Cooperative Ministry hosting our Full Circle Ignite Night honoring our community nonprofits.

Since 1970, East End Cooperative Ministry has been building a community of opportunity in Pittsburgh’s East End. They are dedicated to helping vulnerable adults and at-risk children and youth throughout our East End neighborhoods. An interfaith ministry, EECM seeks to make a difference in the lives of the individuals and families it serves by tending to their needs for today as well as their hopes for tomorrow. EECM is currently participating in the UPprize Social Innovation Challenge. Check it out and vote here!