Please tell us about your organization and the work you do in Chicago.
My name is Bevon Joseph and I am the founder and executive director of the Greenwood Project. Our mission is simple: we expose Black and Latinx kids from underserved communities in Chicago to careers in finance and fintech at the highschool and college level through internships and a summer paid program as well.
What was crucial about the moment your organization started working with SVP?
The SVP community really supported Greenwood as we were going through an explosive growth period in 2020. Having never been part of a nonprofit before, I needed a lot of support on the mentorship side. For example, I had to build my board and I leaned on SVP for that. I was in the Fast Pitch competition as well in 2021, which was a great experience. A lot of donors were watching virtually online, and I connected with them after the event was over, which led to a lot of significant additional donations to my organization. The network and community it provided during the program and to this day is amazing — we are tripling the size of the program each year. There were a lot of growing pains, but the SVP network has been crucial in that support of me in particular, but also of the organization as we grew.
How did the SVP support impact your organization?
As a small nonprofit that went from a one person shop in 2020 to six people this year, there were a lot of growing pains. One was board development. I had to get the board together and restructure it from when we first started and I leaned on SVP for that and they were eager to help out — a lot of professionals with a lot of experience. They really helped to fill the board out to where it is today – we completely restructured it and there are 11 people sitting on it today. SVP also played a huge part in our capacity building and success.
The Greenwood Project is growing really quickly, even expanding outside of Chicago and other countries is on the horizon. There are a lot of kids in the city of Chicago, but our goal is to help kids across the country and in other countries as well. In 2023 we may be even sending kids from the south and west side of Chicago to London for example for internships. SVP is an organization that I will always tap into for support, advice, mentorship, and guidance as we continue to grow. They do a great job of highlighting organizations like the Greenwood Project — tiny but mighty and doing amazing work in the city. SVP has helped me personally grow my network and my social capital to connect with individuals to support what we are doing and help kids on the south and west sides of Chicago.