Month: December 2017

Advocacy Deep Dive Workshop Series Begins this February

We are excited to launch SV2’s new three-part “Advocacy is Everywhere” Deep Dive Workshop series. Following the 2017 Strategic Refresh and Annual Partner Survey, Partners and the SV2 Board explicitly identified an interest in learning more about advocacy as a tool in the strategic social change toolkit. Three Partner Leaders, Julie Cates, Alison Elliott and Paru Yusuf, are collaborating with staff team member Lisa Van Dusen to navigate this new territory to serve three distinct audiences: SV2 Partners, SV2 as an organization, and SV2 Grantees and Impact Investees. 

In this series, we will learn what advocacy is, what it isn’t, and the range of options open to social impact organizations (including SV2, our Grantees and Impact Investees) within the advocacy arena, as well as how it can be a powerful social change tool. By boosting our collective “advocacy literacy,” we aim to understand how advocacy is at work throughout the social change ecosystem. We hope you’ll join us to kick off this new series on Friday, February 2 at 9:00am (RSVP here).

For example, SV2 Partners can explore how advocacy might fit into their philanthropic and other giving, including: short-, medium- and long-term goals; local, state and federal levels; and democracy-strengthening vs issue specific. SV2 as an organization will learn about and explore how it might use its “voice” on mission-related issues, and/or shape its grant & impact investing approach to include advocacy in some fashion. SV2 Grantees and Impact Investees can learn and share how advocacy is or could be part of their work.

In the first Deep Dive Workshop at on Friday, February 2nd, we will explore the wide range of ways in which advocacy plays an essential role in social change, and help you reimagine how advocacy can be an essential element in your philanthropic toolkit. Advocacy can transcend partisan politics, and we will learn about the many ways that the social sector relies on advocacy to achieve broad scale social change, even in our own backyard. Advocacy work is directly relevant to achieving SV2’s vision of creating a more equitable and sustainable Bay Area community and world where everyone thrives. The workshop will be facilitated by Christine Sherry of Sherry Consulting, and will feature guest speakers Amanda Stanley, Executive Director of COMPASS Science Communications, and Rebekah Saul Butler, Co-Executive Director of The Grove Foundation, who will each share how advocacy informs, infuses and is included in their work.

In the second session we will dig into the advocacy do’s and don’ts for social impact organizations and explore what advocacy can look like in action.

In the third session, we will focus on our own backyard, Silicon Valley, and SV2’s specific areas of interest. By the end of the series, we hope SV2 Partners, Grantees & Impact Investees, and the broader SV2 community will be better able to evaluate whether, when, and how they want to incorporate advocacy as a social change tool in their philanthropy and work. We look forward to having you join us for the first session on Friday, February 2 at 9:00am (RSVP here). More information on the following sessions and dates coming soon.

Pathways to Opportunity Classic Grant Round Kicks off in January

SV2’s Pathways to Opportunity year is well underway, with our fall learning season having wrapped up, and our Grant Round about to kick off. This fall, Partners heard from nine expert panelists, sharing from the perspectives of funders, researchers, and practitioners. We distilled their insights, along with sector research and Partner feedback, into a systems-level, strategic framework for the Grant Round, which you can view here. All the panels were recorded, and you can check out audio and video here.

A research team, made up of Grant Round Partner Leader Linda Lazor and Partners Criss De Guzman, Sayuri Sharper, and JoAnne Tillemans, with staff support from Jody Chang, took a deeper dive in November into specific focus areas. These focus areas were identified by our speakers as having proven impact in helping people move out of poverty and into economic sustainability, and include mental health and family engagement (both in education) and sector-based job training and social entrepreneurship (both in workforce development). The research team identified 10-18 organizations in each focus area, and Partners then nominated 4-6 organizations in each area to be invited to submit Letters of Interest for the Grant Round.

Next steps in the Round will include phone interviews with Executive Directors, review of full grant applications, a live “Pitch Event” where Partners will hear directly from four semi-finalists, site visits, and a grant decision. The Grant Round will run from January – May 2018, with meetings at lunchtime (the time preferred by a majority of Partners in our survey). SV2’s Classic Grant Rounds provide a comprehensive, hands-on grantmaking experience with lots of opportunities for Partner learning and engagement. We hope you’ll join us! Next meetings are on Thursday, January 18 (RSVP here) and Tuesday, February 13 (RSVP here).

Youth Law Center Highlight

We are delighted to introduce and welcome Youth Law Center (YLC) to the SV2 community! As winner of the November Resilient Youth Lightning Grant Round, YLC will receive a one-year general operating support grant of $30,000.

The Youth Law Center is led by Jennifer Rodriguez, a former foster youth who also spent time in the juvenile justice system. When speaking about the organization’s work, Jennifer notes, “Our end goal is not simply to make things less bad for our [systems-involved] children but to do what we’d want for our own children which is that they are happy, feel loved, and that they thrive. This is so important and it informs all of our work…”

Over the last forty years, YLC has worked in California and across the United States to:

  • reduce the use of foster youth group homes
  • ensure safe and humane conditions in foster youth placements
  • keep children out of adult jails
  • secure equitable treatment for children in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems

YLC approaches its work by listening to the voices of foster children and youth, their birth families, and foster and kinship families when deciding what problems to approach. They then integrate robust research to design litigation, systems change approaches and solutions from diverse fields such as child development, psychology, behavioral economics, marketing and branding, and adult learning.

We are energized by YLC’s efforts to transform the foster and juvenile justice systems, and we are thrilled that they are a part of our community.

To learn more, visit YLC’s website and stay tuned for future updates about YLC’s work.

Resilient Youth Lightning Grant Round Kicks off in February

We are proud to announce that SV2’s newest  Lightning Grant Round will be focused on increasing opportunities for Resilient Youth (previously called At-Risk Youth), an issue in which Partners expressed interest in our recent all-Partner survey. This Round will be led by SV2 Board Member Shalyn Eason with staff support from Ashley Clark.

What do we mean by Resilient Youth? Resilient youth are young people, ages 14 to 26, who face significant barriers to life success. This population  could include foster youth, homeless/formerly homeless youth, disconnected young adults who are neither working nor in school, and incarcerated and formerly incarcerated young adults. This is a particularly vulnerable population where intervention and the right supports at the right time can transform life trajectories.

What is a Lightning Grant Round?

Lightning Grant Rounds are a shortened grantmaking experience, taking place over four to six weeks with only two in-person meetings. For the Lightning Rounds, SV2 collaborates with funder allies who nominate organizations from their own portfolios and share their diligence materials with us. Working with funder allies lessens the burden for nonprofits and allows Partners to learn how to conduct due diligence from experienced philanthropy professionals. For this Round, we’re delighted to work with the Walter S. Johnson Foundation and the California Wellness Foundation.

During Lightning Rounds, participating Partners have the opportunity to research 6-7 organizations in the sector, learn from other funders about these organizations and their grantmaking processes, hear presentations from the leaders of three finalist organizations, and collectively select a single Grantee. Lightning Round Grantees receive a one-year general operating support grant of up to $30,000, and participating Partners get to engage in a fantastic hands-on learning experience!

This sounds amazing! Tell me how to sign up…

In-person meetings for this spring’s Lightning Grant Round will be on Thursday, February 1 and Thursday, February 15 from 12:00pm-2:30pm at SV2. The Round will kick off in early January, before the first meeting, with diligence pre-work, which includes reading and optional conference calls with our funder allies.

What’s the deadline?

The deadline to participate in the full round has passed, but all Partners and prospective Partners are welcome to audit the first meeting on Thurs., Feb. 1, featuring presentations from our three finalists. If you would like to audit this meeting, please RSVP by emailing Ashley Clark.