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SVP Portland 2020 Impact Update

Posted by Social Venture Partners Portland

With more than half of 2020 behind us, we want to update our Partnership on SVP Portland’s accomplishments, challenges, and impact so far this year. In the midst of a pandemic and a long-overdue national awakening to the need for fighting systemic racism, we want to circle back to our 2019-2021 Vision and share progress toward our three Strategic Priorities.

Strategic Priority #1: Amplify Systems Change

In January, our goal to make access to preschool a reality continued with a reinvestment in the Preschool for All Initiative. In July, the Initiative made a huge leap forward with a finalized plan for universal preschool in Multnomah County and, in August, we helped move the needle again with referral of a ballot measure for the November election. Following a survey finding overwhelming support from SVP’s Partnership, our Board of Directors voted to leverage our social capital and influence by publicly endorsing the ballot measure.

Our 2019 advocacy for and coordination of the Equity Collaborative that influenced passage of the Student Success Act reaped financial benefits in 2020. In July, $4.6M was granted to our Community Partners from the State’s Equity Fund, in some cases doubling the budget of these important programs.

Are you interested in helping advance SVP’s advocacy efforts? Email Matt to learn how you can get involved.

Strategic Priority #2: Build Capacity of Organizations, Collaborations & Initiatives 

As COVID-19 hit in March, our work with Community Partners suddenly faced a new challenge. We quickly adapted our capacity-building plans to address the new realities they were experiencing. We assembled an expert Partner team to advise on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) of the CARES Act and help community-based organizations (including past and present Community Partners) navigate the application process and apply for funding.

“Amidst unprecedented, devastating economic impact, SVP has helped secure more than $3.3M in PPP funds for our Community Partners. Considering that Oregon has been amongst the least well-funded states, SVP Portland’s Partner-powered efforts have been remarkable.” —Noel Johnson, Lead Partner of the CARES Team

In addition, the Portfolio Management Team made reinvestments in the Center for African Immigrants and Refugee Organization (CAIRO) and Latino Network, and new investments in The Children’s Museum and the Childcare Shared Services start-up. Initial support for the shared service model was provided by a small group of Partners who helped address urgent needs. We were then asked by the community to serve as the fiscal coordinator and project manager through this critical start-up period, which we are fulfilling thanks to a grant from the Oregon Community Foundation.

Are you interested in helping advance SVP’s capacity building efforts? Email Matt to learn how you can get engaged.

Strategic Priority #3: Strengthen SVP Portland

In light of the tumultuous economy and uncertain forecasts, we adapted revenue projections and further improved our financial reporting to ensure exceptional stewardship of our resources, with an eye toward long-term operational health and sustainability. We successfully secured $104k in CARES Act PPP funding in May, and are in the process of applying for 100% forgiveness.

We stood in solidarity with our Community Partners as the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum in the wake of yet more police brutality. Our commitment to advancing racial equity has continued with DEI trainings, the launch of a new Partner-powered Equity Team, and comprehensive workshops at the Board level, all facilitated by our partners at the Center for Equity and Inclusion (CEI).

“Everyone keeps asking me, what can I do right now in this time of Black Lives Matter? I would say to all of you—supporting Preschool for All is one thing you can do for Black Lives Matter. And you’ll do it for Brown lives, and Indigenous lives, and the Asian and Pacific Islander and Slavic communities and our poor community. This is something you can do to show that children matter.” —Kali Ladd, Executive Director of KairosPDX.

In May, we welcomed three new Partners to our Board of Directors. The Board provides leadership for our mission to mobilize the time, money, and influence of our Partnership for investment in our community. Each of these Partners brings specific skills that support this charge, as well as passion for our access to preschool goal.

“In today’s difficult financial, political, and social environment, SVP has an ever more important role to catalyze and advocate for lasting and structural change, and to mobilize change agents across the community to bring them to life.” —Bob Tate, New Director

Are you interested in serving on an internal committee? Email Matt to learn how you can get engaged.

“We could never have envisioned the immense challenges we would face this year, locally and globally. In spite of obstacles that may have seemed insurmountable, our Partnership rose to the challenge by adapting quickly in response to community needs, working creatively and collaboratively together, and stepping up to provide invaluable support to organizations on the frontlines. We faced the opportunity to live out our values more deeply, by confronting the realities of our privilege and inequities and leveraging our unique assets. Over the past year we have proven to be resilient, so I have great confidence that SVP will continue serving its critical role as a capacity builder, making a transformational impact in our community.” —Lauren Johnson, Executive Director

We are SVP because of you, our Partners. Please join us at an upcoming event to learn more about our Community Partners, the Preschool for All initiative, or advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion! Visit our Events page for a full schedule.

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