Month: May 2017

Welcome, Courtney!

We’re thrilled to welcome Courtney Martin to the SV2 team as our new Office & Communications Assistant. Courtney brings a strong background in communications, content creation, research, and project management. Prior to joining SV2, she worked as a Project Manager at a start-up data collection platform and worked in communications and events support at her college’s art gallery. She holds a BA from Grinnell College. Please join us in warmly welcoming Courtney to the SV2 community!

Grantee Spotlight: The Art of Yoga Project

The Art of Yoga Project, a 2014-2017 SV2 Grantee, provides teenage girls in the juvenile justice system a pathway to a more positive future through its yoga interventions. As the three-year tenure of SV2’s collaboration with The Art of Yoga Project comes to a close, we’re celebrating their achievements since joining our portfolio.

The Art of Yoga Project uses evidence-based neuroscience and therapeutic models to address the emotional effects of young adult trauma. The Art of Yoga Project’s trauma-informed yoga programming addresses the root causes of behavioral problems to foster self-awareness and self-respect in teen girls. Using over a decade of research, The Art of Yoga Project recently published Wise Inside, a best practices curriculum for mentoring trauma-impacted populations.

Highlights of the Art of Yoga Project’s achievements include mentoring over 2300 at-risk teenage girls, with up to 91% reporting increased self-awareness and self-respect; securing a $100,000 grant from the hope & grace fund; and developing a unique certification program to train over 50 new teachers throughout the Bay Area.

In describing their experience with SV2, The Art of Yoga Project said, “The access to SV2 Partners and their extensive network enables us to articulate our issues and then quickly find experts that can help us brainstorm solutions and move forward.” As one example, The Art of Yoga Project was able to trademark their logo and tagline with pro bono legal services from the Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati law firm, thanks to connections forged through SV2. Thanks to Lead Partners Lucy Caldwell Donovan and Nancy Yu for serving as liaisons during SV2’s collaboration with The Art of Yoga Project.

As the Art of Yoga Project graduates from the SV2 portfolio, you can find more info on how best to support The Art of Yoga Project here. Join us in celebrating The Art of Yoga Project’s incredible work and inspiring impact!

Learning Through Leading

Did you know that at any one time roughly one quarter of all of SV2’s 200+ Partners put their hands up to serve as active volunteer leaders across the SV2 Partnership? Check out this year’s impressive leadership cohort here and let us know if you are interested in a leadership role next year.

Central to what makes SV2 work so well are the many Partners who “power” our special SV2 community through their leadership. Some of these volunteer roles include:

  • Leading Classic and Lightning Grant Rounds
  • Leading the Impact Investment Working Group
  • Serving as Lead Partner liaisons to Grantees and Impact Investees
  • Spearheading SV2 Kids Family Service activities
  • Facilitating educational programming and social events
  • Supporting SV2 Partner recruiting and onboarding
  • Serving on SV2’s Board of Directors and its various committees

Partner Leaders are supported in their volunteer leadership by the SV2 staff team.

If you are a new or veteran Partner interested in a meaningful volunteer leadership role at SV2, please contact SV2’s Chief Relationship Officer Lisa Van Dusen. In particular, if you are interested in leading a Grant Round next year, please contact SV2’s Grantmaking Officer Jody Chang.

Meet Our Newest Grantee: The Stride Center

SV2 is pleased to announce its newest Grantee, The Stride Center, selected in this year’s Economic Opportunity & Employment Grant Round. The Stride Center offers hope for a brighter future by providing quality technical education and professional skills in a structured environment that will ensure success for every student in its program.

The Stride Center was chosen as the 2017 Economic Opportunity & Employment Grantee and awarded a three-year grant of $175K, following a rigorous five-month diligence process. Partners were impressed by Stride’s leadership and client outcomes, and excited about its new expansion to Santa Clara County.

Partners also chose to award a finalist grant of $25K to Employment Training Center (formerly Asian Neighborhood Design). ETC’s mission is to reduce poverty and revitalize neighborhoods in the Bay Area by building healthy communities and providing opportunities for low-income residents to become economically self-sufficient.

The topic of Economic Opportunity & Employment was chosen as the sector focus for this Round in response to interest expressed in last year’s All-Partner Survey. After landscape learning from sector expert Elena Chavez Quezada of the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, Partners chose to focus on Job Training in this year’s Round. Sixty-six organizations expressed interest, and Partners dove into a thorough diligence process involving written materials, conference calls with Executive Directors, site visits, and group discussions. At the end of this process, two finalist organizations – Employment Training Center and The Stride Center — were invited to make in-person presentations. ETC was awarded a finalist grant of $25K, and The Stride Center was chosen as our newest Grantee with a three-year grant of $175K.

This Round was generously sponsored by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, enabling SV2 to make its largest single grant to date. Special thanks to Partners Shalyn Eason and Paru Yusuf for their leadership of this Grant Round!

SV2 Teens | In the News…Again!

In May, we wrapped up our 9th year of SV2’s popular Teens program. Not only did our Teens learn about effective philanthropy, engage in meaningful service learning, and together make grants to three stellar local community organizations focused on STEM education, but the SV2 Teens program received well-deserved accolades in Gentry Magazine this month. Congrats, Teens!

Gentry featured SV2 Teens in their annual Philanthropy edition. Guest Editor and longtime SV2 Partner Noosheen Hashemi’s article ‘Start ‘Em Young’ highlights the ways that our SV2 Teens program empowers teens to explore best practices in experiential learning, grantmaking, and service. SV2 Teens offers 7th-12th graders the opportunity to participate in hands-on grantmaking that culminates in the giving of actual dollars to the grantees they collectively select. To learn more, read the full article here.

In 2017, our teens chose to focus on education for underserved youth, and selected three new Grantees: the Multicultural Institute, Khan Academy, and buildOn Bay Area. Hats off to our SV2 Teens facilitators, Janet Oh, Elizabeth Newton and Karin Scott, and SV2 staff liaison Jody Chang, for skillfully guiding our Teens through their learning and service.

Annual SV2 Portfolio Review

Ever wanted to learn more about SV2 Grantees’ progress in the second and third years of their relationship with SV2? Curious about lessons learned from our first two years of Impact Investing? Interested in better understanding SV2’s overall portfolio of grants and impact investments?

Each spring, the SV2 Board’s Grant and Impact Investment Review Committee engages with questions like these through its annual review and evaluation of SV2’s full grant and impact investment portfolio. All current SV2 Partners are invited to participate in this unique learning opportunity.


On Wednesday, June 7 from 10am-2:30pm, all Partners are welcome to join the annual SV2 Portfolio Review meeting.

  • 10am-12pm: Lead Partners will share reports on our seven current “classic” (3 year) Grantees
  • 12pm-12:30pm: Lunch and Impact Investing Overview
  • 12:30pm-1:15pm: Lead Partners will share reports on our three Impact Investees from 2015-2016 program year
  • 1:15pm-2:15pm: Portfolio Insights and Learning discussion
  • 2:15pm-2:30pm: Board Grantmaking and Review Committee Executive Session

Partners are welcome to join for the entire meeting, or to choose a segment of particular interest to them, such as

  • Grantee reporting from 10am—12pm
  • Impact Investing reporting 12pm–1:15pm
  • Overall Portfolio discussion from 1:15pm–2:15pm (attending other parts of the meeting will give helpful context for this discussion)

In the interest of time, we ask that Partners who are not on the Board Grantmaking and Review Committee take an “observer only” role during the Lead Partner reporting sessions. All attendees are welcome to fully participate through questions and discussion during the Impact Investing overview and Portfolio Insights and Learning session. Please RSVP to Jody by May 25 – this will enable you to receive the written reports for advance review before the meeting. We look forward to learning together in a day of discussion and insight!

Co-create SV2’s future!

What might SV2 look like in several years? What ultimate impact does SV2 seek to have in Silicon Valley? And what activities will help us achieve that impact? These are just a few of the questions under consideration as a part of this year’s strategic and business planning process.

SV2’s Strategic Planning Steering Committee has been exploring some fresh, creative ideas that we are excited to share with you. Whether you’re eager to share your feedback or you’re just curious to learn more about these ideas for SV2’s future, we hope you’ll join us for one of two upcoming community-wide workshops – lunch on May 11 (RSVP) or dinner on May 16 (RSVP).

SV2 is pleased to be working with the team at Open Impact, who is helping to guide the SV2 Board of Directors through an inclusive strategic planning and business modeling process.

A Strategic Planning Steering Committee, made up of Board Members Bill Brownell, Lisa Jones, Kelly Pope, Tony Stayner, and Paru Yusuf, is leading this work, and will ultimately make a slate of recommendations to the full Board regarding SV2’s vision and goals to guide the organization over the next several years.

To date the Steering Committee has:

  • Conducted three generative workshops with different subsets of SV2’s Board
  • Gathered candid feedback from SV2’s Grantees
  • Researched seven “big bets” that SV2 could explore to achieve even greater impact

After a great deal of work over the last three months, we are now ready to share some draft ideas and ask for your valuable input through an all-Partner survey and two interactive Partner workshops at SV2 in May.

The first workshop will be held on Thursday, May 11 from 11:15am – 1:30pm (RSVP); the second will be held on Tuesday, May 16 from 6:15-8:30pm (RSVP). The content in each workshop will be the same; please choose the time that better fits your schedule.

If you have any ideas that you’d like to share or questions about the process, feel free to reach out to any of the Steering Committee members listed above. Thank you in advance for your input!

On the impact investing leading edge

In April, we had a packed house at SV2 to hear from experts at the forefront of the impact investing field on how to move from awareness to action – as an organization and as individual investors. In case you missed it, you can check out this video of the program, featuring leaders from Omidyar Network, Toniic, Village Enterprise, and OpenInvest.

And if you’re in a learning mood, check out our robust YouTube library to watch more of our learning sessions.

At this learning session, titled “Impact Investing: Meet the Action Leaders,” we heard first from Adam Bendell, CEO of Toniic who shared early findings from the Toniic 100, a cohort of investors who have committed to 100% Impact Portfolios. Then Robynn Steffen, Senior Manager of Impact Investing at Omidyar Network, presented Omidyar’s framework set forth in the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) article “Across the Returns Continuum,” along with lessons from Omidyar’s extensive and sustained on-the-ground experience.

Then, we applied these frameworks to two organizations in the SV2 portfolio. Joshua Levin, Cofounder of recent SV2 Impact Investee OpenInvest, presented how OpenInvest’s platform supports “socially responsible investing made easy”, and Dianne Calvi, CEO of SV2 Grantee Village Enterprise, shared how Village Enterprise is piloting the first development impact bond in poverty alleviation. Attendees then discussed potential direct and/or market level impact, as well as how these organizations map into selected Omidyar and Toniic frameworks.

If you are interested in learning more about SV2’s impact investing work, contact co-leaders Bill Brownell, Lisa Jones, or Tony Stayner. Thanks to our fantastic lineup of expert speakers at this learning session, and to all the Partners whose hard work has made SV2’s first two years of impact investing a learning-filled success!

Grantee Spotlight: Food Shift

Food Shift, a 2014-2017 SV2 Grantee, works with communities, businesses, and governments to develop long-term solutions to reduce wasted food and hunger.

At the end of Food Shift’s three years with SV2, we are inspired by all the impact this powerhouse organization has created in this short period. Not only has Food Shift recovered and donated over 40,000 pounds of food to community organizations in the past two years, but their recently launched Food Shift Kitchen is creating jobs, preventing waste, and changing the food recovery system as we know it.

Dana Frasz founded Food Shift in 2012 on the belief that a more sustainable food system was possible, one in which all food that’s produced is processed and recovered. Moreover, Food Shift believes that a zero-waste food recovery system can also help solve other entrenched social issues including hunger and underemployment.

Since their founding, Food Shift has partnered with many Bay Area businesses, institutions, and governments to bring awareness to the hidden issue of food waste and create new food recovery systems. In 2015, Food Shift launched the Food Shift Kitchen, which produces healthy food products made of imperfect produce that would otherwise discarded and sells them to local businesses and food-insecure communities. The Food Shift Kitchen is housed at Alameda Point Collaborative, a housing community for homeless individuals, and provides training and jobs for residents of the collaborative.

SV2’s financial support has supported Food Shift’s launch of the Food Shift Kitchen, their strategic planning process, and their hiring of a Director of Operations. Through a Beyond-the-Dollars partnership, SV2 connected Food Shift to Stanford Alumni Consulting Team, which helped Food Shift develop a strategic plan, business model, and staffing strategy.

Want to get involved with Food Shift? Check out ways to volunteer and support their work here. We’re grateful for and inspired by Food Shift’s work, and look forward to seeing how their impact continues to expand. Congratulations, Food Shift!

Calling all Partners! Your voice needed

Be on the lookout! SV2’s 2017 All-Partner survey will launch this week. This survey is one of the most important tools we have for understanding our Partners, your interests, needs, and valued ideas, and the impact that SV2 has had on your lives and giving journeys. Your input is critical!

You’ll receive the survey in an email soon. We look forward to hearing from you.