Thank you to everybody who attended the Annual Partners Meeting on October 19th. We really appreciate your dedication to our collective goal: ensuring that every child in Multnomah County is ready for kindergarten.
The Gallery of Impact
At the beginning of the evening, Partners toured our Gallery of Impact. The Gallery highlights the amazing work that our nonprofit investments have done with the assistance of SVP Partner dollars and volunteer hours. It was an opportunity to mingle with Partners, Community Partners, and community members to discuss collective impact, the state of early childhood education, and philanthropy. You can see the gallery images here.
Terry St. Marie’s State of the Union
The official event program started with a speech from SVP Board President, Terry St. Marie. He spoke to the state of the Partnership, and to the fact that we remain committed to the challenge of charting the course towards our Ready for Kindergarten goal with our community partners. We pride ourselves on bringing the best of ourselves to the best of the great organizations in our community that are doing the work to create opportunities for Portland’s youngest citizens. As a Partnership, we will continue to challenge ourselves to get better at what we do. We need to balance our big thinking with being more effective and productive within the organization. Above all, we will continue to challenge structures that benefit white students, while our children and families of color lack support and equal opportunity.
Terry also awarded the Board Chair’s Award for Passion and Service to Wendy Weissman. To read more about Wendy and the Board Chair’s Award, click here.
Then, we premiered a short video that describes the SVP experience. To watch it, click here.
Our CEO, Mark Holloway, spoke next. He outlined SVP’s past year and our vision for the coming year. At SVP, we are currently going through our “awkward teenage years.” We have grown a lot, and we are honing in on who we want to be as an “adult” organization. It is a beautiful time, but also a time of change, transition, and awkwardness. Our CEO, Mark Holloway, said it best while standing in front of a photo of himself as an awkward teenager: “My teacher saw my heart beat for social justice and believed in me. I want to take this time to lean into what we can do together. Awkward teenagers turn into pretty phenomenal adults when people lean in.”
The Future of the R4K Goal
We shared an even more focused approach on our Ready for Kindergarten goal: Access to high-quality preschool. Our 2017 Annual Report states the following:
“Getting to the roots of the R4K goal means prioritizing the children and families with the largest disparities in educational success. These include children living in poverty, children of color, and children whose first language is not English. That’s more than 63% of our local children.
To achieve the R4K goal, we need to ensure access to high-quality preschool experiences for 14,000 underserved kids. So SVP partners with organizations that provide culturally relevant, quality programs that help all families feel welcome and give the kids the early education they deserve. We also partner to ensure policy makers and funders provide fuel for those programs, not create barriers that stall their success.”
- The Executive Director of Latino Network, Carmen Rubio sharing what it is like to partner with SVP to advance the work that Latino Network does in the community. “SVP isn’t just a funder or investor. They are a Partner. And now they are a part of our Latino Network family. SVP gets to the root of us, building us from the ground up.”
- Our Director of Development, Phoebe Ebright, shared an inspirational story of why she became a Partner.
- We shared in celebrating our Encore Fellows Program Manager, Steve, who will be retiring at the end of this year.
- Incredibly talented dancers (New Expressive Works) performed at the beginning and singer Edna Vazquez, sang a moving rendition of El Pastor.
To all of you who attended, and for those of you who were there in spirit, “you are all the secret ingredient to the magic that is SVP. All of you.”