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Giving Thanks

Posted by Social Venture Partners Portland

It would be more than an understatement to say that 2020 has been a difficult year. Globally we’ve experienced the COVID-19 pandemic and the recession that quickly followed. Nationally, and acutely locally, we have seen demonstrations in response to racial injustice and political turmoil. And, here at SVP Portland, we were blindsided by unimaginable loss when Sarah left us too soon.

While it would be easy to dwell on the negative, the holiday season presents a simple challenge: appreciate and give thanks.

I find inspiration in Maya Angelou’s words of wisdom: “The ship of my life may or may not be sailing on calm and amiable seas. The challenging days of my existence may or may not be bright and promising. Stormy or sunny days, glorious or lonely nights, I maintain an attitude of gratitude.”

My appreciation first is to our Community Partners without whom we would be a wandering group of philanthropists, eager to partner but without purpose. Your dedication and exemplary work, including serving children most marginalized and impacted by systemic inequities, have inspired and deepened our commitments to educational equity. When we chose our early childhood goal in 2011, we could only aspire to partner with such exceptional leaders and organizations, and are honored to advance community-driven solutions together. Thank you for trusting us, sharing your expertise, inviting us to partner with you, and giving our work meaning.

My next thanks is to the foundations that provide invaluable support through their grant-making. The Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) has been with us from the start in 2000, and our partnership continues today with their support for our roles as catalyst, capacity builder and convener with Preschool for All and the Equity Collaborative, as well as our newest role as fiscal coordinator and project manager of the Child Care Shared Services Alliance. The Collins Foundation has also been a strong proponent of our work, both directly and through the Equity Collaborative, and now to build the capacity of the Child Care Shared Services Alliance. The Oscar & Elsa Mayer Family Foundation has been critical to our work strengthening the financial health of our nonprofit partners. In addition, the Lora and Martin Kelley Family Foundation has been a long-time investor in our capacity building work to make universal preschool a reality, and with a focus on equitable opportunities for our children. Additional foundations that provide us with valued support are recognized at the end of this update.

My final expression of gratitude is for the fuel of SVP Portland, the Partner Power, that makes our work possible. Our Investor, Business, and Foundation Partners don’t just donate money, they donate our superpower — their skills and expertise. Through October of 2020, Partners have given more than 5600 hours of their time to our Community Partners and SVP teams. That is, with two months left in the year, nearly 800 more hours than in all of 2019. That is an extraordinary commitment by an amazing group of change-makers that are taking venture philanthropy — our unique model for impact — to the next level.

My gratitude is abundant this holiday and I — we — have all of you to thank for the successes that SVP Portland has experienced among tragic hardships this year. We could not have done it without all of you.

May you and your family have a safe, healthy, and appropriately distanced Thanksgiving holiday.

Cheers,

Lauren Johnson
Executive Director

• Foundation Support •

Oregon Community Foundation The Collins Foundation Oscar G. & Elsa S. Mayer Family Foundation
Lora and Martin Kelley Family Foundation The Renaissance Foundation Rose E. Tucker Charitable Trust

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