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Partner of The Month: Chris Nelson

Posted by Social Venture Partners Portland

We are ushering in November by shining a spotlight on our Partner of the Month, Chris Nelson! Co-founder of Capstone Partners, Chris has developed some landmark real estate projects that have influenced neighborhood revival and livability. He brings the same passion to his philanthropic endeavors, through SVP and other community organizations.

Chris and his wife Barbara have been SVP Partners since 2010. They were originally drawn to SVP because of the Ready for Kindergarten goal, which prioritized children and families facing the greatest disparities in access to high quality early learning experiences.

Because of this passion, Chris hosted SVP’s Inspiration & Innovation Night in June at his Custom Blocks development in the Central Eastside for Investor and Community Partners to hear from a panel of leaders in education share their  ambitious vision for Portland. Chris also hosted a Partner Happy Hour in August, providing another opportunity for Partners and friends to connect with each other.

Over the years, Chris has brought his myriad skills and areas of expertise directly to our Community Partners, contributing 385 hours of his time thus far. He currently serves on the Board of KairosPDX, and has been the Chair of its Real Estate Committee.

Kali Ladd, Executive Director of Kairos, greatly values the skills and passion Chris brings to the table. “Chris’s commitment to Kairos and the work of historically-underserved children has been phenomenal. On our board, he has shown leadership, tenacity and grace as he has worked with our organization to grow strategically and navigate some difficult political challenges with our building. Chris has gotten in the middle of these things because he believes in our work, our mission and our kids…this makes all the difference. I feel so blessed to have Chris as part of the Kairos family.”

Wendy Weissman, SVP’s Lead Partner with Kairos, adds, “It’s hard to imagine fundraising, operational consulting, or strategic planning at Kairos without the presence of Chris’ fun, insightful and warm presence.  We are so grateful for his contribution to SVP and Kairos.”



Why did you join SVP?

The combination of a compelling social mission (Ready for Kindergarten) and a unique operating model that leverages human capital and financial resources to make meaningful change in our community.

Why did you decide to help with SVP’s Inspiration & Innovation Night?

Since we are in the business of developing unique projects in emerging Portland neighborhoods, the timing was perfect to donate our recently completed Custom Blocks space for the SVP event before it is leased to a long term tenant.

What about KairosPDX spoke to you?

KairosPDX’s mission to eliminate the equity and opportunity gaps for Portland’s underserved kids and families of color hits right in my heart space!

What has been most rewarding thus far?

As an entrepreneur, I have really enjoyed the opportunity to jump at the beginning as a startup Board member and work with each the amazing co-founders and other Board members – it has been a real privilege.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

My wife and I (and our dog Sherman) love to spend our spare time in Hood River where we have a weekend home and enjoy mountain biking, hiking, and just hanging out. In the winter love to ski and are always up to jumping on a plane to visit our two college aged kids whenever they will have us!

How has SVP helped you make a bigger difference in the community?

SVP provides a unique platform and opportunity to plug into a greater network of people to help leverage greater impact in the community.  I am a big believer in the power of aligning like-minded people to solve big problems. SVP is the best organization to do that in Portland.


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