I was first introduced to Social Venture Partners by SVP’s “founding father” Will Miller (Will was the founding Partner and first Executive Director of SVP in Charlotte). Will explained the concept of venture philanthropy to me generally and SVP’s role in the field specifically, but I have to admit that there were several iterations of this conversation before the ideas really “took.” Because of my family’s relationship with Will and his wife Missy, we dutifully wrote the first year’s membership check and decided to give SVP a shot. Now, nine years later, I’m very glad we did.
My family and I have been involved in SVP in a multitude of ways: Issue Committees, serving on the Board, helping put on SEED20, and hosting other social events over the years. Above all, though, the most enjoyable part of being an SVP Partner is witnessing the sincere passion that our fellow Partners have in changing the world. It is amazing to see people working hard and passionately on social issues, and not because they have to or ought to, but because they really want to. In an age where superficial, resume-building social work is not unusual, I’ve watched SVP’s Partners work diligently to feed, clothe, shelter, nurse and provide for those less fortunate in our community. This work is always done in order to accomplish the task, not simply check a box.
All this being said, it seems there is still never enough money to go around to all deserving nonprofits. This is the case with SVP as well. Because of economic scarcity, we are constantly working toward making our own organization and those we support more efficient. Creativity is one of the byproducts of this drive for efficiency. We’re never going to be the largest organization in terms of dollars, but I believe that SVP operates in a way that provides the highest possible return for the scarce dollars invested–and this, I think, is the hallmark of a good organization.
SVP has evolved from a fledgling organization with just a few families at its inception in 2005. After a few short years, it is now recognized in our region for its breadth and depth of talented individuals–and we are not done yet. As our evolution continues, my hope is that SVP will continue to improve the world in which we operate, changing lives for the better for those who need our help.