Local nonprofit organizations led by and serving People of Color will receive unrestricted long-term funds, as well as SVP Partner resources to deliver on their missions
PHILADELPHIA, PA — Social Venture Partners (SVP) Philadelphia announced today the awardees of its inaugural investment cycle: Center for Black Educator Development, Women’s Community Revitalization Project (WCRP) and Resilient Coders. SVP will partner with these organizations, each led by and serving People of Color, to invest $600,000 in multi-year, unrestricted general operating support. In addition to financial support, SVP Philadelphia and its network of engaged Partners will work directly with the investees and offer professional expertise, connections, and long-term pro-bono consulting to deepen impact across the poverty-fighting organizations.
“We’re excited to join in partnership with our first investment cycle organizations and work alongside them to further understand what their organizations and our community needs – in addition to our financial support,” said Jen Gleason, Managing Director of SVP Philadelphia. “We know we’re not the experts when it comes to how best to address deeply rooted poverty in Philadelphia. That’s why our model is designed for SVP’s local Partners to not only invest time and resources, but to learn as much as we can from the wisdom of frontline leaders, and to become champions for their work.”
When developing its first investment cycle, SVP Philadelphia sought to support nonprofit organizations addressing the root causes of poverty, including housing access, education, criminal justice and economic security. Knowing that philanthropy has historically underinvested in nonprofits led by People of Color and that Philadelphians of color are most impacted by poverty, the 2021 investment cycle was open only to nonprofit organizations that self-identify as led by and serving Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC).
“Philanthropy is supposed to help reduce inequities, but the system itself is flawed,” said Gleason. “For our community to thrive, we need a collaborative approach – with mutual accountability and power sharing. No one sector is going to solve this issue. At SVP, our goal is to not only support poverty-focused nonprofits, but also help educate ourselves on how to share power and resources with the people and organizations who are closest to this work.”
The three organizations selected in this first round work in different issue areas, but each is engaged in reducing racial, social, and economic disparities by changing the systems that produce and sustain poverty.
“The ability to bring meaningful experiences to Black and Latinx students that motivate and train them for careers in education is what fuels our mission, and we are incredibly grateful for SVP Philadelphia’s support,” said Sharif El-Mekki, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Center for Black Educator Development. “We’re proud to consider ourselves on the frontlines of educational justice as we continue to make strides towards racial representation and equality within our educational spaces, though we still have a long way to go. That’s why today, and every day, we are thankful for partners like SVP Philadelphia and look forward to what we will accomplish for, and with, Black and Brown students both in Philadelphia and across the country.”
“We believe if you start to address the issue of affordable housing, you will begin to address the issue of poverty — two things Philadelphia knows a lot about,” said Nora Lichtash, executive director of the Women’s Community Revitalization Project (WCRP). “For over 35 years, we’ve been working to combat the Philadelphia housing crisis by creating and advocating for equitable, healthy community development, policy change, and more support for women and their families. We are thrilled to be a part of SVP Philadelphia’s inaugural investment cycle and look forward to working together to create a deeper understanding of the challenges we are facing and make meaningful change when it comes to affordable housing in Philly.”
“We’re really excited to begin working with SVP Philadelphia as we continue our expansion in the city,” said David Delmar Sentíes, Executive Director and Founder, Resilient Coders. “Not only will this investment help deliver on our priority of a cost-free technology education for underrepresented students, but it will also expand our program participants’ networks and access to capital. And in the tech world, that’s invaluable.”
SVP Philadelphia, in association with United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ), recently launched as a local chapter of SVP International and is made up of a community of Partners committed to mobilizing people and leveraging resources to reduce intergenerational poverty in the Philadelphia region. Its diverse network – whose members come from various socio-economic backgrounds and professions – aims to promote trust-based philanthropy. This means addressing the inherent power imbalances between funders and nonprofits so nonprofits can solicit the support they actually need, not what they think funders want to hear.
“In the nation’s poorest big city, we need bold, yet common sense, solutions to increase equity and opportunity,” said Bill Golderer, President and CEO of UWGPSNJ. “This past year showed us that all systems need to be reimagined. SVP Philadelphia’s collaborative work is the kind of new thinking and approach that is needed to work through change while also elevating the good work that’s already being done. Through SVP Philadelphia, United Way is proud to play a role in mobilizing people and leveraging resources to fight intergenerational poverty in Philadelphia.”
“What we’re doing here isn’t radical – it’s just not something you often see in the world of traditional philanthropy,” said Shahrukh Tarapore, Chair of SVP’s Investment and Capacity Building Committee and Chief Technology Officer at Archetype Solutions Group. “That’s in part because change is difficult, and there is sometimes only so much capacity that organizations can devote to authentic relationship-building. But when you’ve been fighting deeply entrenched, intergenerational poverty as long as our city has, power-shifting approaches are necessary. And there are people out there who want to give their time and their expertise, and really listen to the leaders who know the issues and are doing the work.”
In addition to this investee announcement, SVP Philadelphia recently announced two additions to its Advisory Board: Omar Woodard, Vice President of Solutions with Results for America, and Erinn Corbett-Wright, Vice President of the Charitable Foundation for TD. Both have years of experience leading social impact programs and will help establish strong relationships with the new partner investees.
About SVP Philadelphia
SVP Philadelphia is a collective giving network of engaged leaders committed to reducing poverty in our region. By leveraging resources and investing in collaborative solutions, SVP Philadelphia connects social impact organizations with people who want to contribute money, time and their professional skills and networks. SVP Philadelphia is the newest chapter of SVP International, the global leader in engaged philanthropy with chapters from Boston to Bangalore. In association with the United Way of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey, and with generous support from the William Penn Foundation, SVP Philadelphia is part of the SVP global network, which is made up of 3,500 philanthropists in 42 cities worldwide. To learn more, visit www.svpphl.org.
About United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey
United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ) is on a mission to reduce poverty and expand opportunity for all. Serving Pennsylvania’s Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, and New Jersey’s Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May and Cumberland counties, United Way creates solutions that break the cycle of poverty. As part of a network of independent local nonprofit organizations, United Way provides countless ways to give, advocate and volunteer. To learn more, visit www.unitedforimpact.org.
About Center for Black Educator Development
Our mission is to ensure there will be equity in the recruiting, training, hiring, and retention of quality educators that reflect the cultural background and share common socio-political interests of the students they serve. Our vision is that all Black students will have consistent access to high quality, same race teachers throughout their PreK-12 experience, teachers who do not share the same cultural backgrounds as their students will demonstrate high levels of expertise in cultural responsive practices and anti-discriminatory mindsets and habits, and professional learning, pipeline, policies, and pedagogy will be aligned to ensure greater educator diversity, cultural responsiveness, and improved student outcomes. For more information, please visit us at thecenterblacked.org.
About Women’s Community Revitalization Project
Women’s Community Revitalization Project (WCRP) is a multi-racial, community-based organization committed to social and economic equity for low-income women and their families. For almost 35 years, WCRP has worked to address Philadelphia’s affordable housing crisis by advocating for long-term systemic change while simultaneously providing concrete services and housing opportunities. Core to our success has been the leadership of our constituents – primarily low-income women of color – who sit on WCRP’s board and committees and both shape and participate in our programs and campaigns. WCRP is unique in the extent of our commitment to the city’s poorest residents – often left behind in the affordable housing world – and for the blend of strategies we employ to achieve our mission. For more information, visit www.wcrpphila.org.
About Resilient Coders
Resilient Coders is a nonprofit workforce development program that trains young adults of color from low-income communities for high-growth careers as software engineers and connects them with employment. Through their free coding bootcamp, they teach more than technical skills – they present a path to economic resiliency. Resilient Coders works with populations that have been systemically marginalized, seeing in these communities an untapped talent pool with the potential to drive the 21st-century economy. They believe in social justice through economic empowerment, and in the opportunity for meritocracy in tech.