SVP Portland was recently featured in a Philanthropy Together article on Giving Compass, “Hungry to Learn, Hungry to Transform: Advocating for Universal Early Education with SVP Portland,” highlighting how we deftly pivoted from a broad investment approach to focusing on the community goal of equitable preschool access.
In the wide-ranging interview with Executive Director Lauren Johnson, the author highlighted our expansion to work on systems change. “At first, the organization invested mainly in nonprofit organizations and education programs themselves, but Johnson and her team quickly realized that, without fixing the overall education system, this method of allocating funds wouldn’t have anywhere near the impact they wanted.”
They also discussed the courageous risk to step into the political arena, with Lauren sharing, “There was a worry that SVP shouldn’t play a political or advocacy role; that we were only meant to be a neutral convener. But we believed we’d made a commitment to our community, and we knew that Preschool for All absolutely needed public funding and financing. Part of our role was being bold and taking the risk.”
Lauren also talked about the bumpy road well-known to community-based organizations, “Sometimes it’s two steps forward and one step back. It’s not linear, but we’re committed to progress each and every day. Our future is saying, ‘What’s our next big, hairy, audacious goal?’ There’s so much growing momentum, and I’m excited to lead us through that process.”