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SVP Portland’s Commitment to Advancing Racial & Ethnic Equity

SVP Portland is working toward a future where all kids enter kindergarten with the foundation for learning and life success. Along the way, we realized from data and dialogue that race and ethnicity plays an outsized role in determining kindergarten readiness, with children of color1 suffering the biggest disadvantages. Our commitment to the Ready for Kindergarten goal  –moreover, our commitment to a strong, vibrant Portland community – compels us to act. Therefore, we commit to advancing racial and ethnic equity in the following ways:

We Commit to Invest. We strive to be exemplars in philanthropy by investing deeply in the people closest to the needs and solutions we seek to impact. We will invest in removing barriers for children and families of color and in creating community-driven alternatives. Further, we will mobilize assets from the private and social sector and strengthen the impact of donors, organizations, and systems as support to community-based leaders.

In 2017, we specifically commit 67% of our Partnership grant resources to organizations and collaborations that directly benefit children of color.2

We Commit to Learn. To be skillful venture philanthropists and collaborators in the racial equity movement, we must develop a deeper understanding of relevant data and the lived experiences of children and families. Our nonprofit community partners have been our best teachers; we will find more and richer opportunities to learn from them and act on their counsel. We will build our understanding of the experience and impact of racism by our communities of color, the historic privilege of institutional philanthropy, and personal privileges and biases. We believe that understanding their impact lays the foundation for fully acknowledging inequality and using our power to change it.

In 2017, we specifically commit to fostering a culture of learning and open dialog with respect to equity, diversity, and inclusion. At least 70% of SVP Partners and 100% of our staff and Board will engage in activities designed to better understand and promote racial equity through our mission.

We Commit to Diversify. We believe in the richness of an organization and community filled with people of different races, ethnicities, cultures, languages, abilities, and experiences. We want to grow that richness and experience it more fully. Bringing diversity to our governance has already led to better strategy and policy making. To ensure that our venture philanthropy is firmly rooted in the experience of our neighbors and peers, we will also create an organization that reflects the racial and ethnic diversity of our community.

In 2017, we established our internal demographic baseline, goals, and strategies to ensure long-term racial and ethnic diversity in our staff leadership, Board, and Partnership.

We Commit to Transparency. By June 1, 2017, we will publish our scorecard and regularly update our progress on these commitments here. 

We pledge to do what it takes to advance equity and inclusion knowing our organization’s efficacy and the shared future of our community are at stake. We expect that lasting change will not happen overnight within our Partnership nor the broader community. Our outlook is long and our commitment will last beyond the trend, beyond our current goal, and beyond any discomfort or setbacks. We invite your partnership, feedback, encouragement, and accountability to bring greater racial and ethnic equity to Portland and beyond.

[1] Includes African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, African Immigrant & Refugee, and Slavic. Click here

[2] 67% of “priority population” in Multnomah County are children of color based on ECONorthwest calculations; U.S. Census Bureau, ACS 2009-2013


Click here for the full download of our Equity Statement.