By Sabine Kortals Stein
This month, as SVP Boulder County celebrates 20 years of philanthropic changemaking countywide, we renew our commitment to bring good business practices to good causes. To date, we’ve provided more than $7M in pro bono consulting, mentoring, coaching, and education; and more than $1.65M in supporting cash grants to 200+ Boulder County nonprofits.
In recent years, in addition to achieving 501(c)(3) status, SVP also identified and implemented a greater emphasis on organizational sustainability and culture, replacing and building upon its previous emphasis on growth; as well as an increasing momentum around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work.
“That means more intentionally prioritizing the diversity of all SVP stakeholders – from our Partner network to the nonprofits we support,” says CEO Joshua Silberstein. “It also means adding new programs for our Partners and nonprofits, and increasing volunteer opportunities around DEI work – which, in turn, fosters an ever-deepening sense of connection, community, innovation, and advancement within and among local nonprofits.” As a result, SVP restructured its programs and staffing to serve nonprofits beyond its longer-term Catapult investments and Invested Leaders program.
“I’m truly excited about SVP’s potential in the next 20 years, as the organization refines its role toward achieving a more just and equitable community,” says Jennie Arbogash, former CEO and a current SVP Partner member. “I see this playing out in a number of ways: by deconstructing the power dynamic of philanthropy and the nonprofit sector; by eliminating biases in the systems, structures, and practices that underlie so many of our institutions; by shifting the paradigm from treating the problem to preventing the problem; and by bringing together local leaders and influencers across sectors to more holistically address our community concerns – and to more effectively establish our own thought leadership standing, countywide.”
Adds Arbogash, “Where we used to be more transactional, SVP has moved into a really dynamic and richly responsive stage, where we’re poised to nimbly support short-term, urgent needs as they arise – as well as anticipate future needs.” Indeed, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Boulder County, the volunteer-powered network immediately sprung into action, eagerly heeding the call of our community. SVP Partners, board, and staff came together to provide support to local nonprofits for pandemic-related issues – from insights into strategy and government funding to fundraising and development, personal and organizational well-being, board performance, leadership, and more. [See SVP’s COVID-19 Response Report.]
“SVP’s COVID-19 Response Task Force not only expanded both Partner engagement and the number of nonprofits we serve,” concludes Silberstein. “The experience also helped us gain greater awareness of how we can continue to increase Partner engagement across more Boulder County nonprofits. For example, our new Resource Teams aim to tackle short-term projects tailored to nonprofits’ specific needs. We’re poised to respond and adapt to our times – including understanding and overcoming biases, and helping to address such complex issues as systemic racism, right here in our own backyard.”