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. In personal clips, we resoundingly chorused our gratitude for Hilary’s “warmth,” “vibrance,” “acumen,” and “sincerity.” However, the most ubiquitous comment was that Hilary “makes you feel like you are the most important person in the room.” And, knowing Hilary, in that moment, we each truly were.
Joining SVP Cleveland’s staff as its Director of Partner Engagement in 2011, Hilary immediately inspired all around her. She rapidly increased the number of Partners and helped to introduce SVP’s Personally Significant Giving Model, alongside Linda Springer, Hilary’s executive director predecessor. Hilary took over Linda’s role in 2014. Over her five-year tenure at SVP’s helm, Hilary cultivated deep relationships throughout Northeast Ohio’s philanthropic and nonprofit communities and well beyond. Hilary also collaborated to develop SVP’s equity lens, a reflection of her lifelong commitment to social justice and overcoming all forms of oppression. The strong bulwark Hilary helped SVP build over her nearly eight years reflects her deep passion for personal, organizational, and societal growth.
Though Hilary has moved to the East Coast and is already dearly missed, we are excited to see what dynamic opportunity she engages in next. In Hilary’s own departing words, SVP will continue “Onwards and upwards!” and, for her, “This is NOT goodbye.” And she wasn’t kidding! We are happy to say that Hilary has followed in the footsteps of her fellow former SVP Cleveland Executive Directors—David Wittkowsky and Linda Springer—and become an SVP Cleveland Partner. So we shall not say “goodbye” either. Welcome to SVP Cleveland, Hilary!