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Featured SVP Chicago Partner

Posted by Bill MacKenzie

Tasha Seitz, SVP Chicago Founding Partner

For investors in early stage companies, there’s something inspiring about seeing an idea blossom into a full-fledged, functioning organization. The same can be said about philanthropists who dedicate their time, energy, and money, into a fledgling nonprofit organization they believe will make a difference in the community.

For Tasha Seitz, Social Venture Partners (SVP) Chicago is the perfect intersection of her venture investment experience and her philanthropic work. Tasha is a partner at JK&B Capital where since the mid-1990s, she has been investing in early stage, technology companies, helping them grow and thrive. Tasha also is chief investment officer for Impact Engine, a startup accelerator for businesses whose goals are to have positive societal or environmental impact by addressing some of society’s biggest challenges. She’s had firsthand experience advising start-up teams on all types of financial, governance, strategic and operational issues.

A committed philanthropist, Tasha has been writing checks to various organizations for years, seeking to have an impact on causes she believes in. However, a trip to Zambia in 2009 with Spark Ventures, a Chicago-based startup venture philanthropy nonprofit, broadened her perspective on philanthropy. Volunteering at a community school in the Zambian village of Twapia, she saw the impact of her charitable dollars firsthand. She also saw how her experience and skills coupled with her contributions made a far greater impact on the organization and its leaders than just her funding alone.

While Social Venture Partners, a partnership of philanthropically-minded individuals striving to make a significant impact on the lives of those in their community, has partnership groups across the US and in other parts of the world, there wasn’t an SVP chapter in Chicago. Given her background, Tasha understood how powerful the venture-capital-like investment approach to funding innovative nonprofits could be, and how magnifying the impact of the dollars through volunteering time, expertise, and partners network connections to support of the nonprofits’ missions could have real value.

Seeing opportunity and potential for the SVP philanthropic model in Chicago, Tasha co-founded Social Venture Partners’ Chicago chapter in 2011. She says,” It has been very rewarding to see the enthusiastic response to the SVP model by a diverse group of accomplished professionals from the Chicagoland area. The partners understand that through SVP Chicago they are committing more than their financial resources. They are enthusiastic about providing their professional skills in a hands-on way to our nonprofit portfolio. They’ll be able to add real value to the nonprofits and see the result of their efforts first hand, just like I did in Zambia”.

Tasha says with the clarity of a seasoned investor who knows great business models when she sees them, “The ultimate goal is to help solve problems faced by people and communities in the Chicagoland area. With a significant pool of funds to invest and the broad range of partners’ skills, SVP Chicago will help the nonprofits we support have greater, more sustainable impact, at a faster rate. That’s exciting!”