Social Venture Partners

In philanthropic circles, much is focused on time, talent and treasure, the kinds of support nonprofits seek from people, companies and foundations.

Fifteen years ago, Social Venture Partners (SVP) Tucson arose to help with a fourth “T”— ties.

SVP helps tie philanthropists and nonprofits together. By listening intently to nonprofits’ needs, combining individual contributions and identifying useful skills, SVP philanthropic partners can maximize how well a nonprofit operates. Efficient and effective nonprofits in turn better contribute to community well-being.

SVP wants to affect general operating funds. Groups that earn SVP Tucson’s three year, capacity-building grants have money to use as they see fit to fulfill their missions. They tap the skills of philanthropists to strengthen financial, marketing, fundraising and other operational procedures.

SVP Tucson’s Fast Pitch program works with nonprofits to hone their messages and improve donor relations, strategies that make their appeals to SVP partners more effective.

For philanthropists, SVP provides focus and guidance on where their efforts will make the geatest impact. “People are longing for community and purpose,” says SVP Tucson Chief Executive Officer Ciara Garcia. “SVP is a true community that aligns people’s passions with purpose.”

Each of SVP’s 130 partners makes an annual contribution of at least $2,500. Garcia and her team determine their highlevel skills and interests to match them to nonprofits’ needs. Those include strategic planning, employee coaching, marketing and program design. SVP aims to fight poverty by supporting nonprofits that address early childhood education, workforce development, racial and gender justice and challenges to historically marginalized communities. That work has earned the organization the 2021 Outstanding Foundation Philanthropist award.

According to an SVP 10-year impact report, nonprofits working with SVP had a 53% increase in financial reserves and an 83% increase in annual budgets. They more than doubled the number of clients they served.

SVP has supported 78 organizations. Recent beneficiaries include JobPath, Make Way for Books, Native Music Coalition and Second Chance Tucson.

Michael Brasher, executive director of Boys to Men Tucson, says his youth mentoring program will be “radically changed” after it completes its SVP collaboration. “The Fast Pitch program is not only helping us eat,” he says, “but it’s teaching us to fish.”

SVP continues to evolve as it takes the pulse of the community.

In 2020 it committed to support nonprofits like Boys to Men that are led by people of color or that serve marginalized communities. SVP provides resources for philanthropists to examine their own biases to address systemic racism and inequality.

This year SVP changed its Fast Pitch program “to get more resources into the hands of nonprofits working on the frontlines of social change,” says Garcia. This year’s participants provided voices surrounding toxic masculinity, indigenous issues, gender-based trauma and growing divides in wealth and education.

For several years, SVP has listened to and supported organizations that strengthen families by adopting a two-generation approach addressing both adult and child needs. Now it’s launching a major initiative that strengthens ties among nonprofits themselves.

“This 2Gen Nonprofit Collaboration will bridge gaps in service delivery for families,” Garcia explains. SVP is investing in shared systems that make it easier for individuals in need to use community resources that truly move them out of poverty.

For instance, she says, a nonprofit that gives a child a free book will quickly learn that a single mother runs the household. Other groups will help that mother get affordable childcare, financial support and job training.