My first six months have been an exciting ride, learning our strengths and weaknesses through hundreds of conversations with partners, community members and stakeholders. It’s apparent that SVP has played a significant role in our partners’ philanthropic growth.Yet one question remains at the forefront of our ability to effect change:
How will SVP’s explicit focus on racial equity improve our impact and propel partners to authentically collaborate with community-based organizations to create change in our region?
Philanthropy, as a sector, must move away from ‘business as usual’ to ensure those most impacted by inequities can influence and lead. The need for people of color in the philanthropic ecosystem has never been more apparent as these communities face previously unimagined threats. To be most effective in breaking down systems of injustice, SVP must address these disparities and align our learning and grantmaking on communities that have been consistently marginalized.
SVP has been on this journey since 2011, and we are at a turning point where we must set the bar higher for ourselves and our colleagues in the sector. This year, we will hone in on the following strategic priorities:
- Deliberate investment in organizations that are led by and focused on people of color and racial inequities.
- Scalable and community-centered model for building the capacity of the nonprofit sector and influencing the philanthropic ecosystem.
- Clear policies and practices of racial equity rooted in our organizational governance, operations and public voice.
- Focused engagement with people of color through philanthropic and community networks.
We will borrow from what we know works well, while designing and innovating to build upon our community approach. Increased cultural competence and equity will not spring from a special committee’s project, but will emerge from changes in SVP’s methods of operation, confronting structures that perpetuate social problems.
This work will not be easy and I am thrilled to work alongside SVP’s staff, board, partners and investees, as well as community leaders, to create a plan of action and move forward with these initiatives. This plan will be unveiled at SVP’s 20-Year Anniversary Celebration this May, and I hope to see you all there (details to come).
For more on why this work matters and what it will mean in the coming months, see our Frequently Asked Questions.
SVP Seattle, CEO