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SVP Interviewed by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy: "Understanding Equity"

Our Manager of Partner Engagement and Communications, Emily Troia, talked with the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP) about how NCRP's Power Moves influenced her personal understanding of power & privilege in philanthropy as well as SVP's journey. Read More »

SVP Interviewed by Giving Compass: "Lessons from A Five-Year (and Ongoing) Journey Toward Equity in Philanthropy"

“We’ve learned that we don't have all the answers....We're increasingly focused on collaborative engagements and an experience of mutual learning.” -- Abby Wesbrook. Our executive director, Abby, and our manager of Partner engagement and communications, Emily Troia, share about SVP Cleveland's ongoing equity journey, lessons we've learned so far, and where we're heading, on Giving Compass. Read More »

With Hope and Passion, SVP Partners Embrace 2021

“I truly believe 2021 will be a year of making connections and helping others like never before. There was hope and a renewed sense of purpose that was born from such a tumultuous 2020,” SVP Partner Holly Mueller shares. Holly and fellow Partners—Cyndy Dunn, Stephen Hayden, and Evan Ishida—are looking at 2021 with passion for the opportunities ahead! Read More »

Six SVP Investees Share What’s Exciting in 2021

Six current and emeritus SVP Investees are brimming with enthusiasm for 2021—including new programs, new partnerships, and even new headquarters! This year holds a lot in store for Family Connections, Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank, Kinnect, Progressive Arts Alliance, University Settlement, and Youth Opportunities Unlimited. But we won’t steal their thunder. Read what they have to say! Read More »

Investment Reimagined Transforms Vision into Reality: Q&A with Co-Leads Dick Cahoon and Tara Schmitt

SVP Partners Dick Cahoon and Tara Schmitt did an amazing job co-leading Partner workgroups through Investment Reimagined—the final stage of SVP applying an equity lens to reenvision how we engage with nonprofits. The results? Our updated traditional investment cycle and new opportunities for small and start-up nonprofits to partner with us! We asked Dick and Tara to reflect on where we’ve come from and where we’re heading. Read More »

Welcome to Our New Executive Director, Abby Westbrook!

Drawn to SVP's commitment to engaged philanthropy and the Cleveland community, Westbrook hopes to deepen the organization’s commitment to equity through individual and collective education, reflection, and action. Read More »

Farewell to Former Executive Director Hilary Sparks-Roberts

Though May 30th was Hilary Sparks-Roberts’s last day as executive director of SVP Cleveland, it does not mark the end of the positive impact she has had on our Partners, staff, Investees, and community. Testament to this impact are the teary-eyed farewells given by Partners and staff in Hilary’s sendoff video. Read More »

SVP Cleveland's Statement to the Community

For almost two decades, the drive to make the world a better place has fueled SVP. However, our understanding of how we—SVP’s Partners, board and staff—approach this work has evolved over time. The events of the past days, weeks, and months are just the latest reminder of the systemic racism that permeate all aspects of our society. They are also testament to the fact that our evolution must be swifter, deeper, and all encompassing. We can—and must—do better. Read More »

SVP launches new site to support nonprofits impacted by COVID-19!

We are excited to announce WeCareForCLE.org – a new website to help Northeast Ohio’s social sector respond to and recover from the devastating COVID-19 pandemic. Read More »

Pitches with a Purpose: Fast Pitch Presenters Inspire at SVP's bigBANG!

Flowers. Foster kids. Flying & floating. Fashion & flow. The nonprofits participating in bigBANG! 2020, SVP’s Fast Pitch competition, all put the F in Flair and get an A+ for missions impacting Northeast Ohio! Read More »

PHASTAR wins bigBANG! 2020, SVP's Showcase of Social Change and Innovation

bigBANG! provides a forum for Northeast Ohio nonprofits to pitch their socially innovative work and recruit volunteers and donors. Read More »

Moments of Silence. Moments of Hope. A Glimpse into Cleveland’s Human Trafficking Court

I am sitting in a small courtroom in downtown Cleveland next to Tenisha Gant-Watson, Executive Director of Jordan Community Resource Center. Unlike any other court I’d seen in real life or on TV, the room is filled with women. Everyone is visiting and chatting among themselves, cracking jokes and catching up. Some are clean and sober, others seem to be high.  Some are with guards in special pews and wearing gray jail scrubs, not the ‘Orange is the New Black’ outfits my stereotype led me to expect. Read More »

Stable Growth: Kinnect’s Expansion Increases Stability to Ohio’s Children in Foster Care and Their Kin

SVP Investee, Kinnect, is embracing change. Kinnect began their mission as a regional approach to identifying individuals whom a foster child considers their “kin” and involving these kin to create stability and permanency for that child. Recently, that mission expanded statewide. And SVP Partners have jumped in wholeheartedly to support our newest Investee’s growth. Read More »

Dr. Gail Christopher Presents "Rx Racial Healing: A Path Toward Equitable Opportunity and Outcomes for All"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zimHtTia1ec National equity expert and Glenville native, Dr. Gail Christopher [...] Read More »

From Crisis to Kin: SVP Investee Kinnect Helps Children in Foster Care Find Permanency and Stability

Who are your kin? For a child in foster care, this straightforward question is anything but simple. SVP’s newly-selected Investee, Kinnect, recognizes the importance of kin to children who are temporarily separated from their families. Kinnect honors the fact that “each of us relies on a network of chosen family—blood relatives, close friends, and other loved ones—who support us physically, emotionally, and financially.” Read More »

A Ticket to Self-Discovery: Effective Leadership Academy Helps Youth Launch Successful Life Journeys

The demands and distractions many children face in today’s world do not leave much room for a “journey of self-discovery.” That’s where SVP’s time-only Investee Effective Leadership Academy (ELA) comes in; its programs serve as a veritable life-skill travel agency aiding students in their voyage of personal growth. Read More »

Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank: Volumes of Appreciation for Those Who Share Their Time

As an organization, it takes a lot of volunteers to fulfill Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank’s mission of fostering improved literacy and a love of reading by providing free books to children in need. In fact, 6,000 people have volunteered with the Kids’ Book Bank (KBB) in just over three years. These volunteers played a crucial role as KBB partnered with more than 900 organizations who helped distribute two million books to children in low-income families throughout Northeast Ohio. Read More »

SVP selects Kinnect to be next Investee

Social Venture Partners (SVP) Cleveland, the philanthropic venture fund that supports and partners with nonprofit organizations in Northeast Ohio, has awarded its seventeenth multi-year grant to its newest Investee—Kinnect. Having selected Kinnect from a pool of 52 local nonprofit applicants, SVP will offer Kinnect an initial $15,000 unrestricted grant as well as tailored consulting, pinpointed through a collaborative relationship. The consulting is provided by SVP volunteers with a range of nonprofit-management expertise and a passion to engage with nonprofits making an impact in the community. Read More »

The Measure of Success: Following the Process, Recognizing the Progress, Focusing on the Potential

“Impact is one area where SVP needs to continue to evolve.…It’s where we’re going to go, who we’re going to be,” shares SVP Partner Pete Punwani, reflecting on why he chose to not only participate in SVP’s Real-Time Strategic Planning (RTSP) process but also to become one of its Impact Subteam co-leads. “Impact” was one of three overarching areas of focus that came out of the initial stages of SVP’s RTSP process, which began at the 2017 Fall Partner Meeting... Read More »

From Near Death to Thriving: A Case Study of Open Doors Academy’s Revival and Relationship with Social Venture Partners

Open Doors Academy (ODA) was founded out of a church basement in 2002 to provide after-school enrichment programs for at-risk youth. But the real underlying motivation was to help these families break the cycle of poverty. Like most start-ups—for-profit and nonprofit alike—ODA experienced more than its share of both highs and lows in its early years... Read More »

Collaborative Problem Solving and Lively Discussions Highlight the “Great Boards and Valuable Board Members" Educational Workshop

SVP Partners and representatives from other nonprofits gathered at the Midtown TechHive on October 23rd for the “Great Boards and Valuable Board Members” educational workshop. The workshop was masterfully facilitated by David Wittkowsky, who is a former SVP Executive Director, current SVP Partner, and Vice President and Compliance Officer for Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio. David’s extensive experience working with boards and working on boards was clearly on display as he led the attendees in lively discussion and collaborative problem-solving Read More »

When Happily Ever After Comes to Town: Kids’ Book Bank Saves Books and Enriches Lives

Once upon a time (just two years ago), hundreds of thousands of children’s books were being shredded and disposed of rather than reaching the hands of children in need. Then a hero came to town and saved those books, and the love of reading spread ever more widely in the land of CLE. Kids’ Book Bank (KBB) and its more than 4,000 volunteers are the heroes of this story, having dispersed more than one million books to an estimated 95,000 children and families in the two years following their 2016 inception! Read More »

A Ticket to Self-Discovery: Effective Leadership Academy Helps Youth Launch Successful Life Journeys

The demands and distractions many children face in today’s world do not leave much room for a “journey of self-discovery.” That’s where SVP’s newest collaboration-only Investee Effective Leadership Academy (ELA) comes in; its programs serve as a veritable life-skill travel agency aiding students in their voyage of personal growth. Read More »

SVP Gets Real with Strategic Planning

It all began at the 2017 Fall Partner Meeting . . . getting real with our next foray into strategic planning. At that meeting, our executive director, Hilary Sparks-Roberts, asked the SVP International CEO Tim Schottman to give the SVP Cleveland Partners an introduction to Real-Time Strategic Planning (RTSP) and the rest, as they say, is history. Except it wasn’t history. It’s the future—the future of SVP and a forward-thinking approach to shaping it. Read More »

Mixed Thinks: SVP’s Cocktails & Collaboration Brings Together Diverse Expertise to Tackle Nonprofits’ Real-Time Challenges

When Consortium of African American Organizations (CAAO) Executive Director, William Holdipp, Jr., walked into Social Venture Partners Cleveland’s Cocktails & Collaboration session, he was eager to present a challenge his organization was facing to a room full of individuals with diverse professional backgrounds ranging from financial managers to marketers, from community activists to software engineers, from educators to doctors—all drawn from a multitude of nonprofit and business sectors. CAAO was grappling with the question, “How can our nonprofit impact more youth?” Read More »

Partner in the Press

“Once I got involved as a coach, I began seeing so many similarities between for-profits and nonprofits, with one exception—running a nonprofit organization is harder,” writes SVP Cleveland Partner, past board president, and former SVP International Board Chair, Kevin Shaw, about his experience working with Stephanie Morrison-Hrbek, founder and former executive director of SVP emeritus Investee Near West Theatre Read More »

Breaking the “Same-old Solution” Mold when Brainstorming: The SVP Advisory Team Model

At first blush, the process of collaborative brainstorming seems simple enough for a nonprofit to organize. Put a bunch of people in a room, give them a problem to solve, and have everyone throw out ideas like spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks. However, this system can result in the same people with the same experiences trying to solve the same problems and coming up with the same solutions. Avoiding this “group think” is one reason Social Venture Partners (SVP) Advisory Team (A-Team) sessions are unique and especially impactful approach to collaborative solution finding. Read More »

SVP selects Kids' Book Bank to be next Investee

Cleveland donor-volunteers to partner with an innovative organization fostering literacy and love of reading by providing books to children in need Read More »

What a BLAST! Inspiration Burns Bright at SVP’s 6th bigBANG! Fast Pitch Showcase

On October 26, more than 200 attendees had their feel-good fuses lit at SVP’s bigBANG! 2017, when six Fast Pitch Presenters blew up the stage with positive energy! Read More »

Passionate Problem-solving

The benefits bigBANG! semifinalists receive from SVP continue beyond the initial two months of Fast Pitch coaching [...] Read More »

Growing Green Beans and Cultivating Capacity: The New Agrarian Center Concludes Three-Year SVP Engagement

Over the course of NAC’s three-year SVP engagement, SVP Partners got a little healthier, filling their tables with fresh produce through participation in NAC’s CSA program City Fresh. Improving health was a mutual endeavor, though. While City Fresh’s veggies were providing nutrient boosts to Partners, Lead Partner Jim Vail and a nearly 40 strong Partner Advisory Team sowed seeds of capacity-building insight for NAC including developing multi-tiered marketing and communication plans and coaching its board in member recruitment, onboarding practices, and attaining fundraising goals. Read More »

The Building Blocks of Growth: SVP Partners Bolster Investee Home Repair Resource Center’s Sustainability and Presence in the Community

This past year, SVP partnered with Home Repair Resource Center’s new Executive Director Keesha Allen as both she and the organization continued to grow in exciting ways. In the first year of SVP’s engagement with HRRC, SVP Partners helped HRRC revisit its pricing model and marketing strategy. New pricing and outreach efforts grew out of the feedback, and HRRC has seen a 300% increase in revenue over this past year. Read More »

Paving the Way to Recovery: SVP Investee Jordan Community Resource Center Helps Women Discover a New Path

Finding direction after traveling such rough roads as substance abuse, sex work, and incarceration can feel like an insurmountable challenge. Jordan Community Resource Center provides women with a map to recovery and walks with them on their journey. Read More »

Improving Literacy One Story at a Time: The Tale of SVP Investee Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank

Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank (CKBB) believes that books change lives. Its goal is to help break illiteracy’s role in the poverty cycle by exposing low-income children to language and reading from birth. Its mission is to foster improved literacy and a love of reading by providing free books to children in need. Read More »

The Rhythm and Rhyme of Good: Hip-Hop’s Lessons Inspire

The music throbbed in the lobby of MOCA Cleveland. It collided with the angled walls, high ceilings, and cement floor. It enthralled—a siren call to mimic the engulfing rhythm. But three children sat calmly on the floor stretching in slow, deliberate motions. They were preparing for breakdancing lessons–one of the four facets of hip-hop they’re studying. Without realizing it, these students were showcasing personal discipline and focus—two of the many skills Progressive Arts Alliance’s Community Hip-Hop Camps foster. Read More »