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SVP International

What Did We Learn From the Advocacy & Influence Dynamic Team?

Posted by Social Venture Partners Portland

We are proud to announce that our initial Dynamic Team has successfully achieved its goal! After a thorough and thoughtful process, the team unanimously recommended that SVP’s advocacy and influence priorities should be resourcing coalitions/collaboratives (focused on aligned advocacy) and supporting Washington County Preschool for All efforts. 

Executive Director Lauren Johnson shared, “This Team is part of our SVP’s intentional shift of power. Many philanthropic organizations make significant strategy decisions that directly impact community-based organizations without them, or with their input in the capacity of “advisor.” We’re cognizant of this imbalanced power dynamic and are challenging it by asking community leaders to join us as valued decision-makers alongside SVP staff and Partners. I am humbled by the level of engagement of this team, and thrilled at how our facilitators integrated the diverse and exceptional expertise that each member brought in order to accomplish the Team’s goals.”

SVP Partners Leah Fox and Melinda Gross facilitated the series of five meetings over four months, creating agendas, leading discussions, and managing activities that allowed the team to align on priorities. The decision-making team was made up of Partners, Community Partners, SVP staff, and community collaborators:

  • Dahnesh Medora, United Way
  • Elizabeth Aguilera, SVP Staff
  • Kimberly Melton, Multnomah County
  • Molly Day, United Way
  • Rob Aslett, SVP Partner
  • Ruby Ramirez, Oregon Community Foundation
  • Tony DeFalco, Latino Network

The team started by learning about the current advocacy landscape based on interviews with a number of Community Partners who already engage in this work. By listening to community input about barriers organizations face when doing advocacy and policy work benefiting communities of color, we were able to better understand root causes. The Dynamic Team also used one of their meetings to act as a focus group themselves, contributing their to further deepen our understanding of the challenges and potential strategies to address them. These perspectives, alongside the community interviews, led to the recommendations around their recommendation.

So what are the next steps? We will create an Implementation & Evaluation Dynamic Team with the goal of identifying specific activities for each priority along with key milestones and success metrics. Onward with the work!

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