SVP Partner since 2011
As long as I can remember, I’ve loved making connections. Connecting the dots. Connecting the Legos just-so to make a colorful house. Connecting my best friend with her latest crush. Later, in my early career as a special education teacher, I enjoyed connecting new parents with other parents and professionals who could help them better understand and meet their child’s unique needs. If I had been born in another place or time, I think I would have made an excellent matchmaker.
So I guess it’s no surprise that when our family started a Fund in support of improving early learning experiences for children in our community, I wanted to do more than just give money. I found myself drawn to volunteering with the organizations we supported. By becoming involved in the day-to-day work of the program, I was able to connect the dots between our financial investments and the impact they made for children and families. It allowed me to step beyond the theories and research studies, giving me abundant opportunities to listen and learn from the people working directly with families at risk. And, of course, it gave me the chance to make more connections along the way.
When my husband David and I became Partners in SVP last year, we knew we were joining a group of like-minded people who also wanted to do more than give money. Clearly, SVP Partners are special people, willing to engage deeply and lend their talents and expertise toward making a real impact in our community. We also expected we would learn a lot from our fellow Partners and staff about best practices. With two young daughters making our lives abundantly full, and no previous experience directing philanthropy, David and I had often felt we were winging it when it came to due diligence and assessing the impact of our donations. We were drawn to SVP’s many resources available to help guide our broader giving.
Of course, the Partnership’s impassioned leadership around solving the Kindergarten readiness crisis also spoke to me. I was excited to work with people from various sectors who wanted to solve this important problem. What still surprises me though is how quickly and dramatically I have expanded my view on how I can contribute my talents toward tangible results for kids. The fellow Partners and staff at SVP recognized potential within me to step into roles I might not otherwise have considered. As a result I have found my skills and interests expanding as well. You might say I am undergoing my own personal form of “next stage growth.”
I still get to be passionate and knowledgeable about direct services and early childhood pedagogy. But as a Lead Partner with our investment in the Early Kindergarten Transition Program last summer, and now with our latest Investee – Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) – I get to see the real value of three things I love doing most: Listening, learning and making connections. By listening and learning about the priorities of the Investee, I have the remarkable opportunity to connect them with resources and people within our Partnership and in the greater community. Along the way, I get to see how successful programs expand and ultimately how organizations broaden their impact for the lives of children and families.
Thanks to my involvement in SVP, I’m starting to see a whole lot of new dots on my horizon. I can’t wait to see what’s next.