Social Venture Partners Philly announces investments

Social Venture Partners Philadelphia has announced the awardees of its second investment cycle: Abolitionist Law Center, Why Not Prosper, and Collective Climb. Each led by and serving people of color, SVP will invest a total of $300,000 in multi-year, unrestricted general operating support across all three organizations. 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 are thrilled to partner with, support, and learn from our second cycle of investees—organizations working toward eradicating poverty in Philadelphia," said Jen Gleason, Managing Director of SVP Philadelphia. "As our network of Partners grows—guided by the experiences of BIPOC leaders–they are better able to offer more than financial support, including their time, professional expertise, and social connections."

When developing its second investment cycle, SVP Philadelphia sought to support nonprofit organizations addressing poverty at a structural level, including investing in organizations whose mission delivery activities seek to reform laws, policies, regulations, and institutional practices impacting Philadelphia communities experiencing poverty; change public narratives around an issue, coalition building, and creating alternatives to inequitable systems. Knowing that philanthropy has historically underinvested in nonprofits led by people of color and that Philadelphians of color are most impacted by poverty, the 2022 investment cycle was open only to nonprofit organizations that self-identify as led by and serving Black, Brown and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC).

"It was important for us to continue investing in BIPOC-led and -serving organizations this cycle to counteract historical funding disparities," said Gleason. "At SVP, we know the most effective strategies in combating drivers of poverty in marginalized communities come from the communities themselves. That's why SVP aims to lift up the work of BIPOC leaders to ultimately have the greatest impact on the people and families they serve."

The three organizations selected in this round work at the intersection of criminal justice reform and human development; each are engaged in reducing racial, social, and economic disparities by changing institutional practices or policies and regulations that produce and sustain poverty. 

“Why Not Prosper, the SWAG Team, and the Board of Directors are overwhelmed with gratitude to be partnering with SVP. We are looking forward to impacting many lives in the city of Philadelphia and engaging in criminal justice reform for formerly incarcerated women.”- Rev. Michelle Simmons, Executive Director

"Restorative Justice for BIPOC youth is a critical practice based on Joy Harjo’s idea that conflict resolution is for holy beings. It is also a lesson in black joy. Together, they remind us of our ongoing responsibility to healing, not harm." – Hyungtae Kim, CC Staff

“The Abolitionist Law Center is excited to harness SVP’s resources to strengthen our work to end mass incarceration and other facets of the criminal punishment system which disproportionately targets BIPOC, poor, and other marginalized people in our community.” – Robert Saleem Holbrook, Executive Director

SVP Philadelphia, in association with United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ), is made up of a community of donors SVP refers to as Partners, committed to mobilizing people and leveraging resources to reduce intergenerational poverty in Philadelphia. 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 need, not what they think funders want to hear.

"At United Way, everything we do is intentional, including designing and leading bold initiatives to eradicate poverty and advance racial equity in the Philadelphia region,” said Bill Golderer, President, and CEO of UWGPSNJ. "We are proud to support SVP in organizing SVP Partners, to invest in BIPOC-led organizations using advocacy and organizing strategies to eradicate poverty. For too long, BIPOC-led organizations have been underfunded. United Way through SVP is changing the status quo.”