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A Partner’s Reflection on the Power of SVP

Posted by sarahcohendoherty

A Partner since 2014, Oscar Mayer is passionate about SVP Portland’s venture philanthropy model and our current focus on expanding access to quality early learning experiences. Oscar is a member of SVP’s Portfolio Management Team, which is comprised of Partners who make investment decisions and oversee our portfolio, a member of the Early Childhood Funders Learning Circle, and engaged with the Community Education Worker Program

In the feature below, Oscar discusses the role SVP’s Portfolio Management Team plays in overseeing our partnerships with Community Partners to ensure they are well-positioned to grow their early childhood programs.


October 15, 2019

SVP is an entity of partnerships, both with Community Partners and, equally, with Investor Partners whose resources provide much of the wherewithal for SVP’s work. By pooling the expertise, money, and influence from a community of volunteer professionals, SVP helps organizations and initiatives address challenges with greater impact.

This year, the State of Oregon allocated $200 million over the bi-ennium to fund early learning programs and services. We anticipate that significant funds will be disbursed to SVP Portland’s Community Partners, beginning in 2020. Therefore, we are working in close partnership with these organizations to ensure they are well positioned to access, manage, and account for those funds and to grow their early childhood programs. Our Portfolio Management Team is responsible for ensuring SVP effectively helps Community Partners achieve their organizational capacity building goals, including preparation to capitalize on this significant influx funding in order to benefit the children they serve. 

Who makes up SVP’s Portfolio Team? is comprised of Investor Partners, like me. Together, we oversee our portfolio of investments—including impact goals and success measures—and make decisions on our new and renewed investments. We take multiple things into consideration when making these decisions: What is the unique value-add that we can provide? Do we have Partners with the skills needed? And, of course, how does each investment contribute to our “Preschool for All” goal?

“Preschool for All” will not be achieved simply by counting the number of kids in seats. It is about expanding access to quality early learning that reflects the cultures of the families served. To do this effectively, we must look at workforce development (such as SVP’s investment in Growing Master Trainers), financing, infrastructure, and policies (all of which are key for Multnomah County’s Preschool for All Initiative and the Equity Collaborative, for which SVP is serving as fiscal agent and lead capacity builder), as well as the programs themselves (like our work to help scale the Juntos Aprendemos program at Latino Network). 

Transformative partnerships within the community are the means by which SVP Portland pursues its goal of eliminating the achievement gap for the children in Multnomah County. I am proud to support our efforts in driving this forward!

Written by Oscar Mayer

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