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SVP International

SVP Attends Global Engagement Lab with Edge Funders Alliance

Posted by Cathy Lehman

In early November I had the opportunity to represent SVP International at a four-day retreat in France for global funders committed to systems change philanthropy. The Global Engagement Lab was created by the Indie Philanthropy Initiative and Edge Funders Alliance to explore how “systemic crises” are being countered by “systemic alternatives” in the philanthropic sector. It’s a six-month cohort for roughly 30 global philanthropic leaders to help deepen our understanding of systems change theory and practice, and implement more transformational philanthropic practices in our institutions. I’ll represent SVPI again in Brazil next April at the Edge Funders Alliance conference. Until then, I’ll be participating in ongoing virtual learning with my cohort and proposing a project to support SVPI through our own transformation.

The work is highly intersectional and purposely experimental, and I’m very excited for the opportunity! Learn more about the Global Engagement Lab on their website, or check out their recent newsletter announcing this year’s cohort. It’s a pretty amazing group of peers I’ll get to collaborate with on behalf of SVPI.

My project over the next six months will be to create a framework of ideas to tackle what it could mean to “Decolonize SVP.” (If you’re wondering what that means – me too! We’ll hopefully work out ideas together over the next couple of months). Then I’ll work closely with the Board of Directors and incoming CEO early in the new year to identify our organizational priorities for 2019. Many of these concepts will tie into existing work being done by the SVPI Narrative and Strategy teams (picking up from the Priorities 2.0 conversation many of you may remember from the Chicago Summit), and may include things like a proposed revision to our vision, ideas to “flatten” the hierarchy of our organization, recommendations to better center impacted community voices and shift power in local communities with our model, and much more. As always, local decisions will remain with all of you, and I look forward to exploring where we can take our collective work in the future, together.

Stay tuned for updates, and rest assured, we will definitely have programming at the 2019 Global Summit in Chicago around systems change philanthropy and “decolonizing SVP.”

Which reminds me – I need to submit my content proposals for the Summit! You should too. Proposals are due by November 26 and can be submitted via the Global Summit website

I can’t wait to see the ideas and wisdom from our global network.



Cathy Lehman is COO SVP International
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