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What if you had a way to end youth violence, but didn’t have the time or the skills to share your idea?  What if you knew how to package and market an idea, but hadn’t found a meaningful use for that talent?

These are not hypothetical questions. (We’ve shared the story below.)  They’re why SVP was founded in the first place: to connect people with diverse skills and shared passion – allowing each to have a greater impact than they could alone.

In partnership with SVP volunteers, our Investees improve human resources policies, financial management, board governance…all that behind-the-scenes work that (when optimized) allows them to fulfill their mission more effectively.



Alive & Free is just one example.  Since 1997, SVP Partners have collectively given more than $16 million and 35k volunteer hours to 100+ King County nonprofits.  The impact of these investments is illustrated in both in numbers and in more of our Investee’s stories.

Photo by Gary Voth of students in SVP Investee Powerful Voices’ CHANGE program.

The nonprofits we support are changing lives.

They’re protecting our most precious natural resources, and helping to ensure that all kids get a fair shot at a success.  SVP’s job?  To help them serve more kids, provide more effective programs, and make an even greater impact by remembering one simple rule…

Stronger nonprofits deliver better results.

Seems obvious, right?  You’d be surprised how often the health of a nonprofit gets overlooked.  Things like sound financial systems and up-to-date technology are not the stuff rallying cries are made of, but they can mean the difference between reaching 200 and 2,000 students in need. That’s why we do what we do.

Since 1997, SVP Partners have given more than $16 million and 35k volunteer hours to 100 local nonprofits. And this number multiplies when looking across SVP’s international network. Partners in 40 cities have collectively given more than $70 million and countless volunteer hours to more than 900 nonprofits. 

“Our work with SVP and the impact of that work has allowed us to support our students in a deeper way.”

– Susan Mitchell, College Access Now Executive Director

College Access Now (CAN) believes every student, regardless of income or background, should have the opportunity to graduate from college. In 2011, they were serving three high schools and 227 low-income students, but to truly bridge the opportunity gap they knew they had to do more.

Over five years, CAN’s staff worked with SVP Partners and consultants on everything from strategic planning and staffing structure to photography and finance. These projects enabled them to expand quickly, but thoughtfully, without losing sight of what they do well, and while simultaneously building a strong network of supporters.

“When an organization grows, they often end up starting new programs, and things get watered down a bit,” says CAN’s executive director, Susan Mitchell. “But through the strategic planning process and interviews we did with all the different stakeholders, we learned that what folks love about CAN is that we’re focused – we’re not trying to be all things to all people. We’re here to help students succeed in college.”

CAN Growth

Donors often cite CAN’s clear vision and practices as a reason for their support and their budget has multiplied six-fold since they became an SVP Investee. With this growth, CAN has now served more than 2,000 students in eleven high schools with stellar results. 94% of CAN students enroll in college – twice the national average for students from low-income families, and even higher than the enrollment rates of their more advantaged peers.

More Nonprofit Stories…


“Speak English And —”

Peggy’s work helping families nurture their home language is just one outcropping of a growing partnership between OneAmerica and Southeast Seattle Education Coalition (SESEC). SVP has supported the two organizations through the Education Collective Action Team (EduCAT) over the last two years. And, in more than one way, the two have gone from complementary to a single force.

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Investing in the “Business” of Team Read

“It was as fundamental as survival for the organization,” says Team Read Executive Director Maureen Massey. “If we hadn’t done the capacity work that we did with SVP, Team Read wouldn’t be able to look forward in the way that we’re able to look forward now.”

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A Healthy Environment Speaks All Languages

Sophorn Sim’s living room was packed. Children sprawled out on the rug and every couch cushion and chair was filled as the group faced the projector screen. It read: “How many of you recycle more since the last presentation?” Sophorn translated in Cambodian, and more than half the room raised their hands.

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Building Capacity Builders, Part 1: The Grantmaker

Nonprofit finance is already like swimming against the current. Once more, the recession and its aftermath profoundly affected the sector. With scarcer resources, organizations were living closer to the bone and the margin for error was thinner than ever. As capacity builders, we had to ask ourselves, Where were we falling short? And how we can do better?

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Building Capacity Builders, Part 2: The Investee

When SVP approached Open Arms about going through a financial assessment, the organization was months away from a leadership transition and had lost two major funding sources in the past few years. What they were enduring was an uphill battle, the kind of hurdles most nonprofits their size face. Today, the assessment provides a roadmap to help them navigate the challenges — and opportunities.

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Project Feast: The Secret Ingredient is Purpose

In 2012, Veena Prasad had an idea: to use food heritage as a way for refugees and immigrants to begin a new chapter in their lives. She didn’t make it past the SVP Fast Pitch quarterfinals at the time, but in pitching the concept, Veena came face-to-face with a deeper need in her life. A year later, Project Feast was no longer just an idea. This time, it went all the way to the finals – and won.

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Growing From the Core: 5 Years with College Access Now

When College Access Now (CAN) first applied for an SVP grant, no one could have predicted how the organization would evolve. Now in their final year as an Investee, CAN has worked with SVP Partners on everything from strategic planning to building a portfolio of photos that captures the depth of their story and diversity of the communities they serve. The growth they’ve experienced as a result is dramatic.

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Step into Denise Louie's Classroom

"What makes Denise Louie very special is its focus on multi-cultural education," says board member Joan Duffel. "This organization says to kids, 'your home language, your family is important.'" Step into a classroom at the Denise Louie Education Center to see how their unique program helps kids get a great start in school and learn how SVP fits in.

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More than a website: SVP Partners help tell Team Read's story

“I wanted to do something that was really using my talents,” says SVP Partner Sandra Andrews. “And I literally raised my hand and said ‘is there a project I can be part of?’ And this one came up that was a really great fit.” Hear how Sandra and Team Read Executive Director Maureen Massey leveraged SVP to help tell Team Read’s story through the web.

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Keeping Great Crew on Board: SVP Partner Lends her Skills to Summer Search

A few years ago, Summer Search was struggling with staff retention and they were concerned about the impact it was having on the students they serve. Mentorship is core to their program and turnover interrupted the relationships between students and staff, not to mention the general productivity loss associated with churn. They wanted to change this and reached out to SVP for help. Two years later, they are still reaping the benefits of a single volunteer project.

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North Star found: SVP Partner brings strategic planning skills to Northwest SEED

“I just feel like we have the North Star we’ve been needing and we’re moving together in concert,” says Northwest SEED Executive Director Jennifer Grove. In this short video, Jennifer shares how SVP Partner Tim Schottman guided her organization through strategic planning, turning the overflowing number of opportunities at their fingertips into attainable goals.

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Speaking transit: SVP Partner brings White House marketing savvy to TCC

"She approached the problem like she was handling an Obama administration issue,” says Transportation Choices Coalition Executive Director, Shefali Ranganathan. “It was the same level of commitment.” Shefali is referring to SVP Partner, Racquel Russell who volunteered to help TCC hone their communications. Hear about their work together in this short video!

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From Pumpkin to Chariot: The Tale of a Nonprofit Website

Team Read's website was old. Really old. "Before giving people our web address, I used to tell them please, don’t judge the quality of our programs by the quality of our website," explains Executive Director, Maureen Massey. What was a solid site in 2008, now looked woefully outdated and it was getting in the way of Team Read’s fundraising and growth.

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Better Tracking = More Kids Thriving

Developing an organizational dashboard may sound technical and dull to some, but not to those of us at SVP! Particularly when such a tool helps Children’s Therapy Center ensure more kids with special needs thrive in life.

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Navigating the Transit Rollercoaster

Dozens of bus routes poised for a dramatic drop. A startling 180 degree flip from preserving to expanding service. And then … a final surge of yes votes in November. Find out how a mapping project helped Transportation Choices Coalition and their partners navigate last year's harrowing ride to secure transit for all.

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Learning to Soar

"I was trying so hard to be invisible ... I was just the quiet kid in the back -- always."

Regina shares her journey and how Summer Search helped her break out of her shell. Find out more below and learn how SVP partnered with Summer Search to strengthen their organization and DOUBLE the number of students they serve.

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Lisa Lisa & College Jam

Okay, I’m totally dating myself (and subjecting you to bad puns), but I can’t help it. Whenever Lisa Bontje and Lisa Merrill are on a photo shoot, Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam just pops into my head! And while SOME of you might debate the brilliance of 80’s gems like “Lost in Emotion” and “Head to Toe,” you simply cannot miss the vibrancy of the students captured by Lisa and Lisa in a photo shoot with College Access Now!

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Changing the Odds for Kids

Discover how SVP Investees are knocking down barriers for kids in our community in this 3 minute video! It features the great work of our graduating Investees Powerful Schools, Vietnamese Friendship Association, Thrive by Five Washington, Summer Search and Communities In Schools of Washington.

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Protecting Our Natural Heritage from Mountains to Sound

The Mountains to Sound Greenway is a special place. Evergreen trees still blanket the hillsides and valleys. The air is still fresh; the water is still clean. Cougars still pad through deep woods. Even though millions of people live here, in the hundred miles from Seattle to Ellensburg, these things remain true.

How? Not by accident.

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Cure for Violence

What if you had a way to end youth violence, but didn’t have the time or the skills to share your idea? What if you knew how to market an idea, but hadn’t found a meaningful use for that talent?

These are not hypothetical questions. We all have a role in ending the disease of violence. Find out what role SVP plays.

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Making "I Can't Do Math" a Thing of the Past

Some people can do math and some people can't? Not anymore. Explorations in Math (now Zeno Math) is building a positive math culture in Puget Sound and now beyond.

SVP was a part of that. Find out how.

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Right On the Cusp

Friends of the Children supports our community's most vulnerable youth. Hear their stories and find out what role SVP plays in their work.

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Finding the Right Words

Executive Director, Deidre Martin McCormack is a passionate advocate for Summer Search’s mission, but last year she found herself frustrated by its lack of visibility. Very few people had heard the name Summer Search, and even if they had, they didn’t really know what the organization was about.

That’s where SVP volunteer Sam Neukom came in.

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Beyond the Funding with Facing the Future

“The first and second time we applied for an SVP grant, I highlighted all the great things we were doing because that is what we thought potential funders wanted to hear,” states Wendy Church, the Executive Director of Facing the Future. “And we got nowhere.”

“SVP talks about their open, honest relationships and their desire to help nonprofits build capacity. So on the third try … our grant proposal started with one full page of all—and I mean all—the things we needed to fix, change or drop—no successes really, just challenges.”

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SVP Watercooler

Wondering what folks have to say about their experience with Social Venture Partners, but don't have much time? Check out these one-minute snippets from SVP Partners, Investees and volunteers!

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I Have the Right

Taped to the back cover of her neon pink binder, the Dating Rules and Responsibilities are in plain sight for her classmates to see. They serve as a sense of armor, protecting Michelle. Classmates often stop and ask, “Hey what’s up with that? What do those mean?”

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Glass Fish and a Fire Truck

For twelve years Mike Stewart walked by the office Judi Moore, the Executive Director of Boyer Children's Clinic. Sometimes they would chat about a family Mike had just met, parents filled with anxiety having just discovered their baby had special needs. Other times they brainstormed for an upcoming event or celebrated the first steps of a two year-old girl whose parents feared would never walk.

For Mike, it was almost impossible to imagine a day when he wouldn't be able to do just that. Sadly, and much too soon, he discovered what that day looked like.

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Saturdays Aren’t Just for Cartoons Anymore

A dozen families. Three days. One shared purpose. Armed with a video camera, and alternately: a hairnet, a rain coat, and a pot of soup, we trailed SVP's youngest volunteers.

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Youth on a Mission

It’s Sunday night. The Sullivan’s basement rec room is filled with teenagers. A stack of pizza boxes is piled high, and cookies and snacks litter the coffee table. Chatter fills the room. The topics? Homelessness, public education, family planning, self-esteem, the environment.

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Nam Ngo & Rainier Scholars

This fall a young man boarded a plane bound for Massachusetts. With a full scholarship to Williams, he will be the first in his family to graduate from college. Nam Ngo is a Rainier Scholar, and he is among the first cohort of scholars now attending schools here, and across the nation.

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People For Puget Sound Stand for Clean Water

Dick Wood’s grandkids are 6th generation Puget Sound. He has fished his whole life and experienced the Sound's decline first hand. He stands for clean water.

How is SVP connected?

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