Entrepreneurs know that a solid idea takes time to develop. It was almost 12 years ago that Karen R. Brown, Vice President of Programs at the Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, spoke with Paul Shoemaker from SVP Seattle to explore bringing SVP into Connecticut. Yet, an SVP remains an idea until at least one driven individual can devote the time and energy to rally a group of like-minded colleagues – and launch.
Don Kendall is that person. Don and his wife Kendall Webb, moved to the state in 2008 from San Francisco, where Don enjoyed success as a tech entrepreneur. They set up house – and their family foundation – and have been active social investors and board members in the community ever since. Both are graduates of the Philanthropy Workshop West, a donor education program established by the Rockefeller and Hewlett Foundations.
Karen R. Brown joined as a Founding Partner along with: John Adams (CEO, Cametoid Technologies); Greg Behrman (Founder, CEO, Editor, NationSwell); David Berkowitz (private investor); Bob Dortenzio (Principal, Sun-Wind Solutions); Amy Chan Downer (Fairfield County Community Foundation); Charles Harris (Portfolio Manager, Director of Capital Aggregation of Edna McConnell Clark Foundation); Tripp Killin (Executive Director, Jeniam Foundation); Dan Levinson (Founder, Main Street Resources); Lindsay Reimers (Fairfield County Community Foundation); Robert J. Smith (formerly with Glencore); Ted Yang (former CTO, Bridgewater Associates); Zac Zeitlin (former Partner, Silver Point Capital).
“Our Partners in Connecticut have deep experience with both for profit and nonprofit organizations,” says Don. “We share the belief that social enterprise enhances the stability and capacity of an organization to support positive social change. This is especially important in light of reductions in government and philanthropic funding. Entrepreneurs are a huge, largely untapped resource for social good. By channeling our time, treasure, and talent, we can help organizations strengthen and grow their internal capacity and drive the growth of their social enterprise’s earned revenue. The end result: sustaining and growing the organization’s mission and impact in our “backyard”.”
SVP Connecticut is set up as a “Field of Interest Fund” within the Fairfield County Community Foundation. Karen R. Brown shared, “Our community foundation is a proud to sponsor of the Center for Nonprofit Excellence, which is a regional nonprofit capacity building initiative in southwest Connecticut. We see the work of SVP Connecticut as perfectly aligned with the work of our Center for Nonprofit Excellence. And importantly, it brings to bear an important new resource– the skills and networks of entrepreneurs and business leaders in our region.”