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SVP International

Skills For Change

Investee:  Skills for Change

Executive Director: Cheryl May

Lead Partner(s):  Ehren Cory, Lindsay Cross, & Franklin Garrigues

Board Member:  Kevin West

SVP Partner Volunteers: Steve White, Jane Gaskell, Catherine Ackerson, Denise Zarn, Stephen Brown, Usman Aslam, Lisa Smecca, Mara Sofferin, John Kim, Harry Berholz, David Ycasiano, Robin Cory

Financials:     Total Grant:  $75,000

Investment Period:  2009 – 2012


Skills for Change is a Toronto-based organization that helps new immigrants in their settlement and career transitions. Working with internationally trained professionals seeking employment in their field, the organization builds the skills of new immigrants and helps them develop meaningful relationships with potential employers.

SVP Toronto selected Skills for Change as an investee in late 2009, and during its three-year relationship worked on several service projects to increase the effectiveness of the organization. After an initial assessment, SVP Toronto determined that, like many settlement agencies, Skills for Change excelled at welcoming and training immigrants, but could benefit from developing its relationships with businesses. SVP Toronto volunteers and staff joined forces to create and launch of an Employer Engagement Strategy designed to foster business relationships and ultimately increase placement and retention of new immigrants in the workforce.

Throughout the year, SVP Toronto also provided strategic council and hands-on education on the following:  business relationship and sales training, IT systems roll out, product and service review, communications, and HR processes. Other work streams included developing a strategic fundraising plan, which involved a makeover of the organization’s premier fundraising gala. SVP Toronto also worked with the board to develop capabilities in governance, HR policies, and real estate.

Partners invested a total of  XXX volunteer hours with Skills for Change. Its impact includes better-trained staff and improved structure and processes to better serve businesses and increase new immigrant employment.

“As executive director at Skills for Change, I worked closely with a stellar SVPT team. The partners responded to the unique requirements of our non-profit with project management, strategy and coaching.  The team also worked closely with staff to develop an Employer Engagement Strategy that repositioned the agency and its clients for success.”

Cheryl May