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Partner of the Month: James Zuiches

Posted by Sagarika Ravishankar

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Jim Zuiches joined SVP in January of this year, and he’s already engaging with us and the community like he’s been here for years. In his eight months, he’s already joined the Fund Development Capacity Building Team and the Albina Head Start Investment Team and has contributed to the teams by offering his strategic advice to solidify the practices we use for fund development with partners and our Investees. He also has undertaken the nitty-gritty work, for example, conducting interviews for data collection and managing the drafting of an investment proposal.

Jim is a stellar example of a Partner who embodies our values. He’s committed, accountable, and takes responsibility for the tasks he undertakes. He shows up as a learner and comes to every SVP experience with a critical mind and open heart. Rebecca Brown Schroeder, our Partnership Manager, and long-time SVP Partner said: “He strives to be a servant leader, and he succeeds. He listens, learns, builds trust, partners effectively, and follows through on his commitments. It’s inspiring to see.”

Jim also volunteers at SCORE, an organization that offers a network of volunteer, and expert business mentors, where he serves as a business mentor to nonprofits. Before that, he was embedded in higher education at Washington State University as a Dean at the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences, and as a Professor of Rural Sociology. Before retiring, he served as the Vice-Chancellor for Extension, Engagement and Economic Development at North Carolina State University, and then Director of Research Strategies at National Louis University. Through Z-Educational Consulting, LLC, he and his wife Carol Zuiches provide consulting services and executive coaching to higher educational institutions.

We are humbled and in deep gratitude for Jim’s commitment to SVP, and proud to acknowledge him as Partner of the Month. He’s proof that with SVP, you get what you put into your experience.

What drove you to join SVP?

Three activities led me to SVP. First, a SCORE nonprofit client asked how they could qualify for an Encore Fellow, so I researched the answer and discovered SVP. Second, I had joined Oregon Entrepreneurs Network in 2016 and participated as an investor with Angel Oregon and while I learned a lot and enjoyed the experience of investing in a start-up, I was not satisfied with just the venture capital approach. Third, and most importantly, Paul Speer and I serve on a University of Portland Board and he suggested SVP might be more rewarding with its venture philanthropy philosophy and commitment to a significant social cause.  He was right.

What has been most rewarding for you thus far?  

Meeting other partners and experiencing their commitment to the vision of preparing every child for kindergarten and engaging with the nonprofits that are executing that vision in so many creative ways.

Have you had any “aha” moments?

Realizing the seriousness of the need for pre-school early learning and educational programs in Portland. For a progressive state and city, we are not adequately supporting such programs for our children.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy spending time with our grandchildren, skiing, hiking, reading, and travel.

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