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Excitement, Success, and Inspiration: A Q&A with SVP Partner Liaison Cyndy Dunn

Posted by cleveland

SVP is excited to go all in with our newest Investee, Birthing Beautiful Communities (BBC)! Helming this partnership is the brilliant duo, Jazmin Long (BBC’s executive director) and Cyndy Dunn (the newly minted SVP Partner liaison for the engagement). We sat down with Cyndy for a Q&A and talked excitement, success, and inspiration.

SVP: What excites you most about SVP having selected BBC as our newest Investee?

Cyndy: SVP is committed to working with ourselves and our community to understand and address the systems and beliefs that continue to perpetuate racial injustice in our community and country.  George Floyd’s murder and the disproportionate impact of COVID on Black and Brown communities are just two recent examples of racial inequality.

BBC is addressing another huge and troubling example of racial injustice: the high infant mortality rate and maternal health disparities for Black women in Cleveland, Northeast Ohio, and the country at large. SVP has an opportunity to answer the call and support BBC as it supports Black mothers and infants and fights to change the systems feeding this inequity. Together, BBC, SVP, and BBC’s other community partners have the opportunity to build BBC’s capacity allowing it to expand its successful program model and improve the chances for a healthy start for our youngest, most vulnerable citizens.


SVP: What excites you most about being the SVP Partner Liaison for BBC?

Cyndy: I am most excited about the BBC model of community involvement. BBC is predominately Black women helping Black women and using all available community resources to help women through their pregnancy, critical weeks after delivery, and the first year of life. Wraparound services addressing nutrition, housing, child care, and transportation in addition to maternal and infant healthcare are necessary for eliminating the barriers to healthy outcomes.

I am also very eager to learn from these committed and determined women who refuse to accept the status quo. I had the opportunity to learn about BBC’s work from their board chair and some community foundation leaders. All talked about the strength, expertise, and hard work that defines the BBC team. I see that as a very personal opportunity to learn, understand, and become engaged in working for true equality and inclusion for all races, genders, and marginalized peoples.


SVP: Our relationships with our Investees are opportunities for mutual growth and learning. How can SVP and our Partners best embrace this opportunity with BBC?

Cyndy: The BBC team best understands the complexity and interconnectivity of problems that exacerbate the high infant mortality of Black babies. BBC’s approach is engaging the community in accessing a comprehensive menu of resources that will help its clients have positive outcomes. Working with BBC, our Partners have a chance to learn about this dire issue, its systemic roots, and opportunities for change.

For our part, SVP brings business-growth acumen that can help address the need for successfully building capacity. Our Partners represent a broad range of experienced professionals interested in volunteering our time and talents to help make a difference. Our collaborative thought-partnerships with nonprofits—especially small and young ones—can be huge for organizations that often do not have the budgets or resources to have access to this kind of support. This partnership seems like a “win-win!”


SVP: What would a successful engagement with BBC look like?

Cyndy: For me, success would be defined as a trusted partnership developing between BBC and SVP and for SVP to deliver on our commitment to help build BBC’s capacity. It will be important that BBC finds SVP to be supportive, responsive, and protective of BBC’s mission and community engagement model.

This is also an opportunity for SVP to show our commitment to the values of equity, diversity and inclusion through working with an organization that is directly addressing one very visible and consequential outcome of racial inequality—the high infant mortality rate in our NE Ohio community. BBC’s success will be success for our whole community..


SVP: What is a quote that deeply inspires you and why?

Cyndy: I just finished reading Trevor Noah’s book, “Born a Crime.”  He writes that people love to quote, “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” What Trevor Noah adds is “What they don’t say is wouldn’t it be nice if you gave him a fishing rod?”

We need to help make the right tools available and put in the hands of the very capable folks who know what their nonprofit organizations need. The dreams and visions of these leaders are creative and so full of potential. Working with them to identify the necessary and appropriate “tools” for their success is my idea of what SVP is all about.