Destination Impact: Affiliate Reflections

SVPI 01/17/2024
Affiliate Spotlight

Jason Williams, SVP Boston

Founded by the Raikes Foundation and now hosted at the Impact Driven Philanthropy Collaborative, Destination Impact has been cultivating spaces for peer-to-peer learning and community-building among organizations dedicated to donor-supported initiatives since 2018. Their recent event in Puerto Rico was the first in-person convening since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, and four leaders from SVP affiliates were invited to attend. Jason Williams, CEO of SVP Boston, gives us his perspective on the transformative experience.

My Destination Impact journey began with a sense of excitement and appreciation. Not only had I been invited to meet and learn with fellow professionals in the collective giving space, I was finally headed to Puerto Rico, a place I’d wanted to visit for years. In between deep discussions about critical issues in philanthropy, networking opportunities, and relationship-building, I’d get to visit the island where my stepmother’s family is from. That connection made the event all the more precious to me.

Right away, my fellow SVP family and I noticed shared sentiment among attendees. We were all fervently committed to donor education, a facet of philanthropy that often doesn’t receive its due acknowledgment. As a newcomer to the venture philanthropy field, the event illuminated the potential of collective efforts in reshaping the philanthropic landscape for me. Donor education and organizing emerged as key themes, with discussions revolving around the potential to significantly influence the direction of philanthropic dollars at a national scale. We soon started thinking of this endeavor as a movement-building exercise.

One message that resonated with me was the pivotal role the SVP network can and must play in this movement. Our network’s international footprint, extensive history of impactful work, and proven track record puts us in a unique position to facilitate and support collaborative efforts. We can catalyze impactful change on a grand scale. This realization and revitalization of my dedication left me feeling more motivated than ever about the path I’ve chosen in my professional life.

Beyond the formal sessions, Destination Impact provided a valuable opportunity to strengthen relationships and forge friendships within the SVP affiliate community. Face-to-face interactions, like those with Emiko Atherton of SVP Seattle, solidified the sense of camaraderie within the affiliates. The exchange of insights and strategies among colleagues laid the foundation for future collaborative endeavors. In fact, Emiko and Hattie were involved in a recent SVP Boston board meeting that provided insights into overcoming current industry challenges. Additionally, a member group shared a comprehensive landscape analysis on donor education across the country. This resource promises to guide and enhance our programmatic offerings and learning opportunities at SVP Boston in the coming year.

The dialogues we engaged in reaffirmed alignment on our “North Star” – shifting resources to underserved communities to reinforce our multicultural democracy. One memorable dinner conversation centered on our obligation to advocate for Puerto Rican statehood and legal representation, given the lingering disenfranchisement of fellow American citizens there.

Destination Impact served as a catalyst for collective learning, collaboration, and motivation. The event underscored the importance of unifying efforts, embracing movement-building, and recognizing the unique position of the SVP network in molding philanthropy’s future. As we navigate the path ahead, I am energized and driven, armed with insights gained and connections forged at Destination Impact.

Together, let us embark on this journey of transformative philanthropy and unified purpose.

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