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Partner of the Month: Diane McCartney

Posted by Social Venture Partners Portland

February’s Partner of the Month, Diane McCartney, is no stranger to the SVP world. While she has only been in Portland for a little more than a year, Diane has been an SVP Partner for more than a decade—first in Dallas and then as a founding member of SVP Austin.

Since moving to Portland, Diane has jumped into the Partnership with vigor. She regularly attends SVP Portland events, meetings, and connects with other philanthropists in our network. She is an active member of the Portfolio Management Team, providing strategic oversight of our capacity building investments, and she has helped craft the next iteration of our capacity building evaluation. In both roles, Diane has been a champion for shaping how SVP continues to prove and improve its impact.

Diane is joining several other Partners with financial expertise to pilot a comprehensive Financial Health Assessment with one of our nonprofit Community Partners this month, a process created by SVP Seattle as a starting point to build capacity in the areas of bookkeeping practices, accounting procedures, and comprehensive reporting..

We are proud to have Diane as a member of the SVP Portland Partnership!


Why did you join SVP?

I’ve always been a fan of the for-profit venture capital model—to provide both funds and expertise for the fastest, healthiest growth. So, when I was first introduced to SVP in Dallas, adopting a venture capital model to help nonprofits grow was a natural fit for me.

How does capacity building solve community problems?

In the same way that a for-profit company must invest in its operational structure to be successful and grow, nonprofits need to invest in their operational structure to successfully deliver their programs to the community. This is especially true for a nonprofit that is growing, so they can effectively deliver even more services to the community. To me, capacity building means building a healthy operational structure. I look forward to the time when the majority of funders recognize, as SVP does, that investing in improving a nonprofit’s operational structure is as important as funding programs.

What has been most rewarding thus far?

I’m particularly impressed with the staff of SVP Portland. They are highly competent, action-oriented, and do a great job of supporting my work as a Partner—and, they are all very nice people.  I also really enjoy getting to know other Partners better as I work with them on various projects.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I live in a co-housing community, in fact, living in co-housing is what brought me from Austin to Portland. So, I spend a lot of my time serving on some of the teams that get the work done to run Trillium Hollow. Right now, I’m Team Lead for our Legal/Financial team and serve on our Repair & Maintenance and MAP (Meeting Agenda People) teams. I love outdoor sports and have recently taken up Pickleball in place of the tennis I used to play. Being outdoors, especially around nature, invigorates me. I also do a lot of traveling, mainly to visit family and friends, but also to experience other cultures. I find immersing myself in another culture broadens my perspective and reminds me that we are all just people trying to live our lives the best that we can.

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

It’s the capacity building we do.  I was the head of a number of different regulatory compliance departments during my career in financial services. During that time, my focus was on two things: 1) getting the right people in the right seats—making sure the person’s strengths matched what the work required, and 2) reviewing processes, procedures and policies to make sure they supported our goals and then revising them if they didn’t. I’ve been amazed over the years at how many people stay in roles for which they are not a good fit (and how many companies let them) and at how many processes are in place that make it harder for the people doing the work to support the company’s goals. So, I love that SVP is so focused on capacity building. It’s a good fit for me.


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