Our nonprofit Investees’ and other nonprofits’ executive directors, boards, staff, and the people they serve are experts. They’re the experts about the unique ways their organizations are serving their communities and the specific hurdles those communities face in our society. Communities we’ve worked with include:
- individuals reentering the workforce after incarceration, recovering from addiction, and/or having formerly been sex trafficked
- families unable to provide their children with books, access to the arts, or leadership-skill training
- people with all types of disabilities
- people with mental illness
- the Broadway-Slavic Village neighborhood
- and more
When these groups and our Investees discuss what issues, opportunities, and programs are important to them, we listen carefully to and can better respond to the real needs at hand.
This listening approach is part of why our Investees have chosen to work with us. They know we believe in creating solutions together rather than telling them what to do. We draw from our nonprofit-management knowledge, pinpointing and helping to apply strategies that will strengthen and grow Investees.
Moving forward with an equity lens: We pride ourselves on our collaborative approach to/in working with our Investees, but we’re not blind to the reality that the grantor/grantee relationship has a power imbalance built into it. Part of being an SVP Partner is recognizing our own limitations and the need to gain a deeper, cultural awareness of communities with whom our Investees work. So what are our goals moving forward? We aim to
- make sure our Lead Partners (who work the most closely with our Investees’ executive directors) and our advisory teams are oriented with a cultural awareness to the community whose needs are being addressed by the Investee
- continue to find new ways and opportunities to listen to and learn from the voices of the people in the communities our Investees serve
- comb through our investment cycle from start to finish to ensure the process is equitable
- first establish and then help our Investees meet new expectations and requirements for each to maintain its own equitable practices
- and more