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Meet Our Newest Community Partner: CAIRO

Posted by Social Venture Partners Portland


Social Venture Partners is proud to announce our most recent investment in the Center for African Immigrants and Refugees Organization (CAIRO)! CAIRO’s focuses on breaking down the barriers to success for Portland’s African immigrant children and families, including preschool programming that prepares their children for success on their first day of kindergarten and beyond. This investment will primarily tap into SVP Partner expertise to clarify and build CAIRO’s organizational strategy and leadership.


CAIRO was founded in 2015 in response to the widening achievement gaps for African children in Oregon. CAIRO runs multiple programs to help African (primarily Somali) children and families succeed in school. Their SPACE (Schools, Parents, And Communities Engaged) Program provides “cultural navigators” who work closely with children / families in schools and support the exchange of cultural and institutional expectations, in order to help students to succeed and reach their fullest potential. . CAIRO also runs CAIRO Academy, a culturally specific preschool serving 20 African children and families in SE Portland.


CAIRO has responded to many opportunities to support their community, resulting in rapid programmatic growth, which naturally outpaced their ability to thoughtfully develop and implement the administrative structures necessary to respond to such growth. Therefore, CAIRO and SVP will be working together over the next nine months to build CAIRO’s internal capacity, including

  • clarifying organizational structure
  • strengthening board engagement
  • updating their mission and vision to align with their current and future work
  • strategic planning that is responsive to community input

With organizational clarity and strong leadership, CAIRO will be better positioned to ensure more African immigrant children can access high quality pre-kinder experiences that are relevant to their culture and provides a bridge to the Oregon school system. An investment in CAIRO is an investment in SVP’s “Preschool for All” strategy. After this initial investment of expertise, we will consider how a next-stage investment would be of benefit to their plan and leadership and to our investment goals.


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