Invest in Vetted Nonprofits
There are thousands of nonprofits in Seattle alone. How do you decide which ones to fund?
At SVP you don’t have to make that decision on your own. Whether or not you participate directly, you benefit from the careful selection and reviews carried out by SVP grant committees – ensuring that your money is wisely invested.
Each year, 18-24 SVP Partners gather for a few hours a week over six months to select the organizations that SVP will fund. These committees are looking for nonprofits that are having a great impact in our community, and are poised to take their work to the next level. On these grant committees Partners:
- Learn about the area they are funding (e.g. education) and about good grantmaking practices
- Collectively review letters of inquiry and proposals, debating the merits of each organization
- Visit those organizations, meeting staff and board members, and witnessing their work first-hand
- Select one or two organizations to fund
Partners consistently say that participating on a grant committee is one of the most rewarding experiences at SVP.
Change takes time. That’s why SVP gives multi-year grants to the nonprofits we support. We fund 15-20 organizations in any given year, and the resulting Investee Portfolio is overseen by a committee of experienced SVP Partners. They meet with each organization twice a year, reviewing their mission-based results, and the progress they’ve made on strengthening their internal systems (e.g. financial management, communications, etc.)
In this way the Portfolio Grant Committee (PGC) ensures that SVP continues to invest in organizations that are having a great impact in our community and are optimizing their relationship with SVP. Participating on the PGC also offers our Partners a unique experience, because rather than getting to know one or two organizations, members get a broad perspective of all the organizations SVP works with.
More Stories from Our Grant Committees...
There are so many questions when a parent discovers that their child has special needs, the most pressing of which is: "Where do I go for services for my child?" Since 1979, Dynamic Partners has provided a simple answer for King and Pierce County families through great services and an unusual model.
During the 13 years that Connie Nguyen has worked in nail salons, she's seen numerous friends and co-workers become ill. She, too, has come down with mysterious skin rashes and respiratory problems – and her story is far too common. There are simple ways to reduce risks, but much of that information does not reach the people who need it most. That’s where SVP’s newest Investee, the Environmental Coalition of South Seattle comes in.
“A student who can't read at grade level by 3rd grade is four times less likely to graduate by age 19 than a child who does read proficiently by that time.” This stunning statistic was released in 2011, and is just one of the reasons why Team Read’s work is so important.
What is the most accurate predictor of college completion? Academic performance? You would think so, but actually, family income is a far better indicator. Fifty percent of low income students enter college right after high school, compared to 80 percent in affluent communities. College Access Now strives to change that.
When he was 16, Reid Saaris was put on the fast track with advanced-level courses that would prepare him for college. His best friend, although equally bright but low-income, was not, and spent a decade making up for missed opportunities. Spurred by this story, Reid founded Equal Opportunity Schools, SVP’s newest Investee.
I took a little time last month to check what really happens on an SVP Grant Committee. The topic at the last meeting? That 4-6pm 'danger zone' that affects so many kids city-wide.
Reviews with a funder can be a daunting process for a nonprofit. A group of people they barely know swoop in to evaluate their work, and then disappear to decide the fate of their next year of funding. This is exactly what SVP’s Portfolio Grant Committee is trying to avoid.