“Q: What is Social Venture Partners?”
A: We are a group of engaged venture philanthropists collectively impacting the Greater Tucson community by Investing in capacity building for investees which advance life skills.”
Say what? That’s SVP in a nutshell. But outsiders trying to crack that shell may get frustrated and opt for the jar of Planters.
The words we use to talk about who we are, what we do and why we do it are important. And have been carefully selected. They are powerful, encompassing terms. Our Grantees are more than recipients of money; they are “Investees.” We’re not just giving away money; we are investing. And we focus our efforts where few venture to go: unrestricted funds for CAPACITY BUILDING (a rarity, to say the least).
I first started my year of service with AmeriCorps VISTA as the Programs and Communications Associate about 9 months ago. And like a baby forming in the womb, so has my savvy with the SVP vocab.
Yes, I googled all of these terms before applying for the position. But still, until I really got my hands dirty, the terms didn’t completely sink in. These terms are important to the SVP Brand. Now, I am comfortable with the weight of these words on my tongue.
So if you’ve ever thrown out the words “venture philanthropy” and gotten a polite head nod and an “Oh, that’s…interesting…” followed by a blank stare, this list can help you get a better hold on explaining these vital concepts to folks who may be new to the ideas.
Get out your pencils and take notes: this is SVP Lingo 101:
Who we are:
Community Foundation: SVPGT is a program of the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona which is a tax-exempt, nonprofit, autonomous, publicly supported, philanthropic institution composed primarily of permanent funds established by many separate donors for the broad-based charitable benefit of the residents of a defined geographic area. Community foundations provide an array of services to donors who wish to establish endowed funds without incurring the administrative and legal costs of starting independent foundations.
Investee: Nonprofit organization that receives support from an SVP in the form of time, money and expertise. View our Current Investees
Partners: Individuals who join an SVP by contributing time, money and expertise to carry out capacity-building work with Investees. View a list of our Partners here.
Partner Unit: A Partner Unit is an individual or pair (with some relationship to one another such as a spouse or significant other, sibling, parent/child, etc.). The Unit pays one annual Partner contribution.
Philanthropy: The effort to increase the well-being of humankind by donations or volunteerism.
Social Venture Partners International: With over 2,000 members, it is the largest network of philanthropists in the world. It brings together worlds that typically do not overlap: grant making, volunteerism, nonprofit capacity building, and philanthropic education. Every SVP is a network of engaged philanthropists who believe that they can have a positive impact on their communities and who use innovative strategies to address complex social issues. There are affiliates in the U.S., Canada, Japan and India. Visit SVPI’s website
Venture Philanthropy: A long term relationship between a grantee and a funder who provides expertise as well as capital. The focus is on capacity and operational infrastructure, with agreed upon measurable outcomes.
What we do:
Capacity Building: The development of core skills, management practices, strategies and systems to enhance on organization’s effectiveness, sustainability and ability to fulfill its mission.
General/Operating Support: A grant made to further the general purpose of work of an organization, rather than for a specific purpose or project; also called an unrestricted grant or basic support.
Grant: An award of funds to an organization or individual to undertake charitable activities. Our grants also include a commitment from our Partners to volunteer their time and talent to projects identified as needs of the Investee in particular infrastructural areas, such as human resources and governance.
Investment: Used interchangeably with “grant.” SVP investments are philanthropic, with no financial return to SVP or its Partners. “Investment” instead of “grant” implies strategic and active giving (including volunteering) with an expectation of social return. Learn more about the upcoming grant round
Philanthropy Development: The creation of knowledge and engaged donors within the SVP network in order to create communities of lifelong, informed and inspired philanthropists.
Site visit: visiting a grantee or prospective grantee at its office location or area of operation and/or meeting with its staff or directors or with recipients of its services.
Unrestricted Funds: Contributed funds that are not specifically designated to particular uses by the donor, or for which restrictions have expired or been removed.