May 2020 marks the 15th anniversary of SVP Charlotte! One of our long time Partners, Catherine Fischer, shared the organization’s journey at our Q2 Partner meeting on May 14, 2020.
In 2005, a group of 24 Founding Partners launched SVP in Charlotte with a three year grant from Foundations for the Carolinas. The organization was born from frustration with the slow process of change when trying to create positive community impact. As we know from our own experiences and with talking to our nonprofit Investees, this is a common beginning for a lot of nonprofits. The Founding Partners discovered the SVP concept at a conference in 2004, and founded SVP Charlotte the following year.
Over the first few years, schools, housing and healthcare were the initial focus areas for our Investees. WISH (or Workforce Initiative for Supportive Housing) later merged to form Charlotte Family Housing. Besides frustration being a motivator for starting a nonprofit, often another nonprofit’s initiative can be a genesis for an idea. Communities in Schools, aka CIS, was planning to bring a lot of tutors into the schools and a number of us had been very frustrated with tutoring in CMS schools. That formed the idea of developing a tutoring program that would help students, not interrupt teachers and be rewarding for tutors…and HEART Tutoring was born! HEART stood for Helping Ensure Academic Results through Tutoring. I believe HEART was a first amongst SVP International in terms of a chapter developing its own nonprofit.
Seed funding, serving on Boards, playing major roles in strategic development, strengthening organizational infrastructures, plus hours and hours and hours of volunteering were some of the ways SVP Charlotte helped these nonprofits. I remember first meeting Robin Hill-Emmons of Sow Much Good. Her enthusiasm was contagious, her energy boundless and her mission, well, directionless! Single-handedly she was taking it all on…another trait of many nonprofits, seeing all the needs and wanting to fix it all. By helping Robin with organizational capacity assessments and strategic planning, SVP helped her focus her energy and helped in the establishment of the first Urban Farm on Sunset Road.
You will also note that in 2011, SVP Charlotte had its first SEED20. Ah, another acronym, who knows what the SEED of SEED20 stands for? Denise Pineno knows: Social Entrepreneurs EmpowereD. She remembers when Phelps Sprinkle presented the acronym after Debbie Darden and Susan Daniel (our former ED) went to the SVP International Conference and came back with the idea of a Fast Pitch competition. The acronym stuck and here we are nine years later with the seed having really grown. From our first Grand Prize winner, Grub to Grub, to our latest winner, Transforming Youth Movement, we have had the hardest time picking only one winner when the voting begins.
Moving into more recent times, you can see an even deeper impact on our community through more Investees. It’s also fun to see that HEART and ourBRIDGE updated their logos! You may have already noted that usually you will see an Investee for three years in a row (for example Fashion & Compassion for 2016, 2017, 2018) because that’s our usual model of investing for three years. Having more Investees during these years is a direct result of more Partners and therefore more funds. Also with more Partners, we have increased and diversified the range of skills that we can offer to our Investees. Growth is Good!
A very brief Impact report of our 15 years!
- There have been nine years of SEED20 with over 175 nonprofits participating and we’ve given away over $385,000 in cash prize money. That money goes up to $456,650 when you include in-kind donations and the additional Wells Fargo grant in 2019.
- To our Investees, SVP Charlotte has given over $1.5 million in grants to 20 Investees and, let’s see if we can figure out the volunteer hours…20 Investees x 2 Lead Partners x 3 years x 9 years of SEED20 x 3 Staff x ??? volunteer opportunities…OK, I’m a HEART Tutor but this math is above my grade level!
I hope you are as proud of what SVP Charlotte has done over 15 years regardless of when you joined and I hope you are as excited as I am about what we are going to do in the years to come. Thank you ALL for ALL that you do and have done!