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SVP International

Center for Equity & Inclusion and SVP Partnership

Posted by Social Venture Partners Portland

“At the core of SVP, we are a learning network and our commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion is a journey of self-exploration. Alongside our commitment to philanthropic service we seek to learn about and from the communities who we serve,” shared SVP Board member and Equity Committee Chair, Bala Cadambi.

SVP launched a unique partnership with the Center for Equity and Inclusion (CEI) in 2019, and we are excited to build upon accomplishments we’ve made over the past year, through newly established goals for continued impact in 2020. SVP will invest as we would with any Community Partner, providing human capital in areas of expertise that help CEI achieve its social mission. For example, Partners will work in the areas of leadership, marketing, IT, and business modeling.

CEI’s co-founder and CEO, Hanif Fazal, reflected upon the impact of SVP Partners, sharing, “Our partnership with SVP has been transformational in ways that I could not have imagined. As an organization, we have received critical support at a pivotal time in our organization’s growth. As a result, CEI is able to live its mission in a way that would not have been possible without the care, attention and commitment from SVP and its Partners. We couldn’t be more grateful for this partnership!” 

In exchange, CEI will engage with SVP as they would one of their clients, investing to advance our equity work through trainings for staff, Partners, and our Board of Directors, coaching, and tools for implementation. In this new phase, we will continue to work with our CEI consultant Tobias Sherwood, and transition from our long-time consultant (and former staff) Melinda Gross, to her colleague Sidney Morgan. We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from such experts in this space, who will push us to new levels of understanding and impact in the area of racial equity.

Under the guidance of CEI, we are now in the process of evolving our Equity Committee to form an “Equity Team” (aka E-team) with broad representation of race, gender, age, and experience to champion this work and set the pace for SVP. E-team goals include recommending and participating in a range of learning opportunities, as well as helping to embed DEI principles across SVP. 

The call is for each of us to proactively learn about issues of inequity in our community. SVP Partner Larry Fox expressed his experience participating in our equity work: “The opportunity to explore my own biases and limitations around race has been the most rewarding (if sometimes stressful) learning of my life.  I encourage everyone to get out of their comfort zone and benefit from this personal growth in service to a far better world.” 

Therefore today, we are inviting the broader SVP network to engage in various ways… and raise each of our commitment to advancing SVP’s equity work. As a learning organization, we will benefit from engaging as many Partners as possible. For each of us, the nature of this work will in essence be personal. Yet collectively, the commitment must be genuine and sincere. 

If you are interested in getting more involved with helping SVP advance our diversity, equity, and inclusion work, internally and in our community, please let us know at lauren@svpportland.org and sbcadambi@gmail.com.

Sincerely, 

Bala Cadambi, SVP Partner, Board of Directors & Equity Committee Chair

and

Lauren Johnson, SVP Executive Director

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