Lead Partner Perspective
Over the last three years, SVP Partner Denise Ratchford has served as Lead Partner for Fashion & Compassion. Lead Partners are the primary liaisons between SVP and our Investees, managing volunteer projects and advocating on their behalf. At our annual Partner meeting, Denise shared the outcomes of our investment with Fashion & Compassion.
New Staff and location changes
2019 has been a year of significant change for Fashion & Compassion. Michele Dudley stepped down as Executive Director and Beth Bell stepped into that role. Like Michele, Beth fully embraces a partnership with SVP and our two organizations enjoy a tight bond. From our very first meeting with Beth, she shared her vision for Fashion & Compassion, which included remaking the boutique on Cleveland Avenue to serve two purposes-a comfortable meeting space where groups can gather, as well as continuing to serve as retail space, where large black and white photos of the artisans and their stories are the focal points of the rooms.
The change in the physical space, where the artisans occupy the focal point, speaks to a clarity of vision that Fashion & Compassion has experience during their partnership with SVP. In the first year of our relationship, Henry Lander led F&C staff and board in Strategic Planning workshops and helped them with their vision statement. Preceding this, the organization had experienced a tug of war in what drove the organization-their retail business or serving their artisans. Since SVP has been on board, we have been able to focus on strengthening the support of their artisans with an Artisan Empowerment Plan in which they assist the women in articulating life goals for themselves and link the women with other organizations that will further help them achieve their goals. SVP also worked with F&C to grow their referring partner database. This year, SVP Partner Debbie Darden has been wonderful in an advisory capacity with Fashion & Compassion and Partner Jonathan Ishee was able to assist with the boutique remodel.
Overall, the relationship between SVP and Fashion & Compassion has been successful and satisfying. One important contributing factor to this success has been the willingness of both ED’s to be transparent. The whole staff at Fashion & Compassion has been wonderful to work with and we wish them continued success in the future containing ongoing relationships from our partnership.