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SVP Portland’s Executive Director Update: March 2020

Posted by Social Venture Partners Portland

Dear Partners, 

On February 25, Partners gathered to learn about and discuss our 2019 impact and 2020 strategy. In case you missed it, here is a recap of the conversation: 

2019 was a historic year of impact, from supporting the scaling of Latino Network’s Juntos Aprendemos early learning program state-wide and passage of the $20M Equity Fund, to the publication of the Preschool for All initiative’s plan and significantly strengthening SVP’s own capacity. 

Hanif Fazal, CEO and Founding Partner of the Center for Equity & Inclusion, spoke to the importance of SVP’s capacity-building model. “I’ve learned what partnership means… and it’s more than giving advice. [SVP] really challenged us to be the best version of ourselves that we can be… I personally feel transformed as a leader.” 

You can read more about our 2019 impact in our Year in Review, listen to the Partnership Meeting here, or see the presentation here.   

Internally, we made tremendous strides in 2019, including: 

  • LEADERSHIP: We strengthened our Board of Directors by electing four new Directors, as well as a new Board Chair, Vice Chair and Treasurer.
  • STRATEGY: We clarified SVP’s strategic priorities and unique value-add roles in our community.
  • CULTURE: We emphasized accountability, excellence in execution, transparency, and a proactive mindset; we also advanced our equity work with staff, Board, and Partners through a new partnership with the Center for Equity & Inclusion.
  • STEWARDSHIP: We focused on deepening relationships with our Partners, who are essential to achieving our mission!
  • FINANCE: We increased our financial health significantly, integrating best practice forecasting, budgeting, and reporting.

While we are pleased with this progress, we have ambitious goals to further improve SVP’s operating capacity in 2020. Therefore, we will continue to leverage Partners’ skills, expertise, and resources to ensure we build upon the positive trends set in 2019, work toward our long-term health, and maximize our impact.

In 2020, we defined our strategic priorities as well as key short and long-term success measures related to our access to “preschool” goal. A few examples include:

  • Creating business plans to scale quality preschool programs
  • Completing comprehensive financial health assessments and associated capacity building to prepare organizations for significant growth 
  • Securing sustained public funding for universal preschool

Additionally, our Board of Directors will clarify what “sufficient community capacity” to achieve our access to “preschool” goal looks like. We believe that SVP’s capacity building expertise is still needed to help the community develop essential capabilities and systems (e.g., workforce, facilities, ready-to-scale programs). Therefore, a sub-group of our Board and Portfolio Management Team is working to validate a set of hypotheses and better understand emerging needs in the early learning landscape. This group will bring a recommendation around future SVP investment priorities to our Board this summer, to inform our conversation about key indicators of community capacity that we must reach before moving to a new goal focus.

There is still critical work to be done to fulfill our commitments to the community and our access to “preschool” goal. Therefore, we need you, our valued SVP Partners, to fuel our continued progress with your time, talent, and dollars. Together, we can show what is possible when a committed group works in true partnership toward a shared vision for transformational change.

In partnership, 

Lauren 

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