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From SVP International Board Member to Grandpa, Cleveland Partner Kevin Shaw is Committed to Building Connections for Bright Futures

Posted by cleveland

Where are you from originally?

Toledo, Ohio

What is your favorite food and who makes it best?

Linguini with Clam Sauce—definitely JOYCE (my wife) makes it best!

You have an infant grandson. Your first! How has becoming a grandfather changed you?

This has been a wonderful opportunity to capture all that I missed during my own children’s growing up. I have spent a more conscious parenting—a more present parenting—with my grandson than I did with my own children. This is, in part, because I was so busy during that phase of my life and, in part, because I did not realize how precious the time, the changes, and the created memories would be.

So I appreciate this precious time more. I am astounded by what a great father my son is. And I am more appreciative and amazed by how much of our parenting effort Joyce took on.

You are one of SVP’s most veteran members, having joined in 2003. What drew you to SVP then and what has kept you engaged for the past 17 years?

SVP Partner Mary Bright drew me in because she spoke so highly of this organization. The chance to make a difference was what most attracted me. Today, my close friendships are what keep me involved.

You served on the SVP International board of directors. You were the board president, as a matter of fact! How did being on that board shape your understanding of SVP as an international organization, and how did that role shape your vision for SVP Cleveland today?

The International exposure has made me acutely aware of the enormous possibilities that lie dormant in the SVP Network. In large measure, this has remained for me an “unscratched itch.” SVP’s special power is its proximity. We are hands-on. Being intensely local is what makes our work special. But this heads-down effort makes our engaging and coordinating across our network less natural. For example, when I worked with Near West Theatre, I missed the opportunity to learn from any other SVP affiliate that had worked with a Community Theatre. Who knows what important best practice I missed? Our opportunity is for every engagement to benefit from our entire Network of experience.

In addition, I think the SVP Movement itself has a special power for many. It is exciting to see our work catching on around the world. I remember the founder of SVP India told me once that maybe as many as half of its Partners were attracted by the movement and the other half were attracted by the on-the-front-lines community work.

Our opportunity is to get new Partners—from Cleveland to Bangalore—to engage with and benefit from one another.

What are you most passionate about?

After my family, my passion is to grow or improve mission-driven organizations. Frankly, their tax paying status is irrelevant. But whether a business or a nonprofit, both these efforts are filled with challenges, and I experience setbacks all the time. My hope for long-term improvement is what keeps me involved.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why there?  

I think it would have to be Israel or Greece. Both these countries have had a profound influence and are the foundation of the world we live in today.

If you were talking to someone on an elevator and you discovered they had never heard of SVP Cleveland, what would you share?

SVP is a special place.

Partners can engage. Friendships can emerge. We can raise hopes. We can act and have impact. And our communities will become stronger.

Read Kevin’s bio here.