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QA with Jane Williams-Grube, Lead Partner for IRCO

Posted by Sagarika Ravishankar

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Jane Grube comes to us from a nonprofit background – she has worked with Private Voluntary Organizations in the US and NGOs internationally. Her primary areas of focus are institutional capacity building, community engagement and women’s and gender issues in policy planning and development. She has worked for the Urban League of Pittsburgh, PA, and in Vermont, she was Executive Director for the Windham County United Way and General Manager for the Brattleboro Music Center. She worked overseas for over 25 years with organizations like The Asia Foundation, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, and the Government of Afghanistan.

Jane is married to her husband of 50 years, is a proud mother of two sons who live in Oregon and Vermont, and has three wonderful teenaged grandchildren.

We wanted to get to learn about how Jane will be leading SVP’s partnership with IRCO:

Q: Why were you interested in leading SVP’s partnership with IRCO?

A: IRCO was on my radar ever since I moved to Portland. Perhaps I saw it as a way of giving back to the many people in countries where I lived, who helped me navigate culture and language while making me feel safe and comfortable in my new surroundings. I wanted to be involved.

When I was introduced to SVP and its philosophy of community involvement and change, I found a place where I shared values. It was a no-brainer for me when the opportunity to work with both organizations was offered.

Q: Tell us a little about the investment itself. What are you hoping to achieve?

A: Our initial investment will help IRCO explore the feasibility of creating a preschool program that has an opportunity to serve its diverse client community. At the moment, we are engaged in looking at what is out there both in terms of culturally specific and culturally relevant preschool programs locally and throughout the US. By the end of the first year’s investment, we anticipate having a clear understanding of the market and possible options for IRCO; and can move to business planning in the next year.

Q: What have the highlights been so far?

A: First and foremost, the people. The IRCO and SVP Partners that gather around the table to explore the issues are an amazing cross-section of talent and experience.

Q: What has surprised you so far?

A: It’s not as much of a surprise as a fact that continues to ring true. Relationship building is a process and one that is sometimes slower than desired when timetables and goals are involved. Nonetheless, it remains the essential foundation of any partnership.

Q: Why would you encourage other Partners to get engaged with one of SVP’s Investees?

A: It is more important than ever that we move away from our own protective boxes, assumptions, and biases; and to do so we must continue to learn. SVP offers a unique opportunity for quality community involvement and learning. It’s a very good feeling to be excited about something!

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