During our many conversations with Affiliate leaders, we heard that the network strategy needs a path for the evolution of SVP – including a collective “North Star” for why SVP exists in the world today. You’ve called on us to answer what’s next for SVP given the philanthropic context and the power of 43 affiliates and 3200+ Partners around the globe?
In 2020, we began to answer that question via an external facing change initiative “Reimagine Giving.” A signature aspect of the 2020 launch was our first network-wide grant fund through which we moved $70K to Affiliate-nominated efforts across the US. This pilot was a quick proof of concept that:
- Recruited new donors while normalizing a shared – and equity based – analysis of the philanthropic problems we’re trying to solve
- Catalyzed resources directly to those who have historically been left out of the major flow of philanthropic giving
- Amplified the leadership of Affiliates who leveraged their local context and relationships to nominate and connect our network to community organizations, through grant nominations which also eliminated any application burden for those already taxed nonprofits
Beyond the Fund, Reimagine Giving is establishing a unifying umbrella for our work on systems change, creating alignment with movements for justice, and focusing our attention for network level learning, events and partnerships, like our upcoming Summit in partnership with Philanthropy Together (May, 2021). It renews our focus on shared values and collective impact.
Very practically, Reimagine Giving will help us modernize our work to catch up with the changing world, whether that is through virtual events, digital giving, cross city collaborations, or guidelines for expansion and new Affiliates.
I know that the changes underway might create some tensions. All change does – especially when we’re talking about changing ourselves. That’s part of the nature of networks. Ultimately, the change across our network will look a little different for each of us. We’re focused on aligning our values and approach for greater collective impact, not on duplication of work happening through Affiliates. Local strategies need locally based leadership, but SVP International will steward alignment and seek opportunities where we can have significant network level impact together.
Right now, Reimagine Giving is just this: A framework, an affirmation of our shared values, and a set of learning guideposts for us to engage around together. We know there’s much more to discover.
One of the early litmus tests for this new strategic direction is the response from external partners in the sector. I’m happy to share that Raikes Foundation, the Fidelity Charitable Trustees Initiative, and other funders have all stepped up to support the development of Reimagine Giving and SVPI’s strategic transition. We also have several organizational partnerships underway to bolster our collective impact. This is meaningful validation from our field, and it allows us to resource the required capacity at the network and Affiliate level to move Reimagine Giving from concept to implementation.
I’ll be back next week with more to share about what this all means for our work together in the coming months and years, and especially to help you understand how we are shifting our work to center grassroots and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color leadership.