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Our Stories

SVP works with stellar individuals and organizations that are making our world a better place. We are honored to be their accomplice. Here are some of their stories.

How It All Started

It was 1994, and Paul Brainerd was out of a job. He had just sold his software company, Aldus Corporation to Adobe. PageMaker, the desktop publishing program his company created, had revolutionized printing and publishing – and left him an unexpected millionaire.

At 47, early retirement might have looked attractive to some, but Paul had other ideas.

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Global Conference Sparks Fast Pitch Fire

When SVP Arizona Executive Director Terri Wogan-Calderon attended SVP LA’s Fast Pitch in 2009, she recognized immediately this was something she had to share with the folks back home. As it turns out, Arizona wasn’t the only affiliate who caught the Fast Pitch bug at the conference.

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White House Honors SVP Partner Jeff Tollefson as a Champion of Change

SVP Minnesota Partner and Social Venture Partners International Board Member, Jeff Tollefson was honored by the White House as a "Champion of Change," for his leadership at Genesys Works. The Champions of Change program was created to honor ordinary Americans who are doing great work in their communities

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The Anti-Retirement

“I didn’t have a philanthropic bone in my body,” says SVP Portland Partner Larry Fox. “And when I retired, my goal was to squeeze every ounce of self-indulgence that I could endure. Then, one night when I was going to bed, I pulled back the sheets and I thought – I was just here. And I have nothing to show for it.”

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Capturing Joy

Lisa got the call at 10:30 on a warm July night. Sara was in labor. Caught off-guard, Lisa panicked slightly. She had been out for drinks with friends and didn’t feel safe driving to the hospital. Luckily, the woman on the other end of the line assured her the birth was hours off. Heading straight home, Lisa packed her gear. Tomorrow would be a first.

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Project Feast: The Secret Ingredient is Purpose

In 2012, Veena Prasad had an idea: to use food heritage as a way for refugees and immigrants to begin a new chapter in their lives. She didn’t make it past the SVP Fast Pitch quarterfinals at the time, but in pitching the concept, Veena came face-to-face with a deeper need in her life. A year later, Project Feast was no longer just an idea. This time, it went all the way to the finals – and won.

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Growing From the Core

When College Access Now (CAN) first applied for an SVP grant, no one could have predicted how the organization would evolve. Now in their final year as an Investee, CAN has worked with SVP Partners on everything from strategic planning to building a portfolio of photos that captures the depth of their story and diversity of the communities they serve. The growth they’ve experienced as a result is dramatic.

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A Head for Numbers, a Heart for Change

Up until five years ago, Tanya Anderson’s definition of ‘philanthropy’ was straight forward: to give money. It might have been her career in finance that had something to do with it. But after working with SVP Seattle's Finance Community of Practice, she had a change of heart.

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Speaking Transit

"She approached the problem like she was handling an Obama administration issue,” says Transportation Choices Coalition Executive Director, Shefali Ranganathan. “It was the same level of commitment.” Shefali is referring to SVP Partner, Racquel Russell who volunteered to help TCC hone their communications. Hear about their work together in this short video!

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From Pumpkin to Chariot: The Tale of a Nonprofit Website

Team Read's website was old. Really old. "Before giving people our web address, I used to tell them please, don’t judge the quality of our programs by the quality of our website," explains Executive Director, Maureen Massey. What was a solid site in 2008, now looked woefully outdated and it was getting in the way of Team Read’s fundraising and growth.

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Learning to Soar

"I was trying so hard to be invisible ... I was just the quiet kid in the back -- always."

Regina shares her journey and how Summer Search helped her break out of her shell. Find out more below and learn how SVP partnered with Summer Search to strengthen their organization and DOUBLE the number of students they serve.

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"I Can't Do Math" is a Thing of the Past

Some people can do math and some people can't? Not anymore. Explorations in Math (now Zeno Math) is building a positive math culture in Washington and now beyond.

SVP was a part of that. Find out how.

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Finding the Right Words

Executive Director, Deidre Martin McCormack is a passionate advocate for Summer Search’s mission, but last year she found herself frustrated by its lack of visibility. Very few people had heard the name Summer Search, and even if they had, they didn’t really know what the organization was about.

That’s where SVP volunteer Sam Neukom came in.

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