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Partner of the Month: Kelly Starkey

Posted by Social Venture Partners Portland

Over the years, SVP Portland has prided itself on bringing together changemakers and leaders with diverse skills, experiences, and networks. One Partner who has invested her unique expertise in marketing, engaged her terrific network, and served as an incredible champion is Kelly Starkey, so we are proud to recognize her as our March Partner of the Month.

Kelly joined the SVP Portland Partnership in 2015 and is often encouraging others to invest not just their dollars, but their skills and expertise, in order to make a truly meaningful contribution to our community. Kelly said she “leaned into SVP because it has, year after year, yielded transformational community impact that shows what’s possible for the future.”

 Shortly after joining SVP, Kelly engaged with Latino Network to help them realize their ambition of scaling their early childhood Juntos Aprendemos program. Her ability to see the trees through the forest, and manage a team of Partners, was key in the ultimate success of growing the program state-wide.  

Professionally, Kelly is an executive advisor to marketing and sales leaders, helping them amplify their impact and influence across the country. She loves connecting with professionals and organizations in media/entertainment, healthcare, gaming, education, nonprofit, and retail. Her passion for travel and curiosity for new ideas inspires her work. She is currently bringing her wisdom, creative thinking, and marketing skills to SVP through our internal Development and Marketing Teams.

Come meet Kelly and other dedicated professionals who achieve impact through our venture philanthropy model at our upcoming Happy Hour at Upfor Gallery on March 19th. Discover the passion that Kelly and other partners have for SVP while enjoying a glass of Stoller wine in this wonderful contemporary art gallery. This event is open to the public so you are welcome to invite your friends!


Why did you join SVP?

When I moved to Portland, I was looking to join a philanthropic community with whom to engage more deeply. Having served on two different nonprofit boards in other communities, I often felt the expectation was a rubber stamp and a pat on the back for Executive Directors and Development Teams, rather than using my background to drive greater impact. I was introduced to SVP through my work with the Ronald McDonald House in Phoenix, and reached out once I had gotten settled into Portland, to better understand the venture philanthropy model and how to make my contributions more impactful.

How does capacity building address community problems?

I think of capacity building like the “teach a man to fish” proverb. Working hand-in-hand with Community Partners to understand their challenges and the areas where they feel they could most benefit from SVP Partners’ knowledge and experience provides an opportunity for deeper learning and ultimately more impactful outcomes. Our ability to build trust and mutual respect leads to more honest and vulnerable conversations, and to work that is deeper and more meaningful for the future of the organization, rather than focusing on the short term needs. By identifying, and then bolstering, an organization’s underlying structural needs and helping it achieve their vision of future success, SVP is truly a partner and not just a funder or rubber stamper.

What are the benefits of being a Partner?

Seeing the impact we have building the capacity of our Community Partners is incredibly rewarding and SVP does a remarkable job highlighting the successes our Partners are able to achieve. Being a part of the Juntos Aprendemos project and watching their vision come to life in the Redmond/Bend area has been wonderfully fulfilling and shows the expanded impact we are able to have when we bring brilliant Partners with diverse skills to bear on a challenge. Beyond the work itself, I have been fortunate to find a community of like-minded friends and look forward to the regular social gatherings and team meetings to continue to strengthen those relationships.

What has been most rewarding thus far?

Watching SVP Portland grow, adapt, and thrive through transition with a very small and dedicated staff. The success stories with our Community Partners are undeniable, but it would not be possible without the SVP staff team connecting Partners, identifying opportunities to build capacity, and driving systems change to benefit our community as a whole. It has been wonderful to see Lauren grow into the Executive Director role, building upon the legacy while defining our future and her vision. SVP Portland continues to be the best-kept secret in Community Impact and I look forward to increasing awareness and growing the Partnership, thereby amplifying the impact of the organizations we partner with.

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