NCRP’s Power Moves team chatted recently with Emily Troia, manager of partner engagement and communications for Social Venture Partners (SVP) Cleveland. As NCRP expands its focus beyond grantmaking institutions to influence individual donors, SVP Cleveland’s story offers insight into the ways Power Moves can be adapted by donor networks to inform and catalyze new approaches to giving with an equity lens.

SVP Cleveland brings together like-minded, engaged philanthropists to collectively give and support local nonprofits. A midsize  affiliate of an international network, SVP Cleveland has 70 partners and has been active for 20 years.

NCRP: What motivated you and the network to give more attention to equity issues?

Emily Troia: For 20 years, SVP Cleveland has been a community of donor-volunteers (partners) committed to supporting local nonprofits through what we have historically called “engaged philanthropy.”

When we were founded, the SVP model was innovative: Our grantees received unrestricted multiyear funding plus capacity-building support through collaboration with our partners.

Since our founding and increasingly during the last 5 years, our organizational understanding of the inherent power imbalance in philanthropy, and at a societal level, has continued to evolve.

In recent years, as the country has faced a racial reckoning and awareness of inequity has increased, SVP Cleveland’s evolution has accelerated.

As an organization, we continue to examine, dissect and dismantle the power imbalance in our giving model and ways we partner with community nonprofits. We also continue to individually examine our personal power and privilege.

This process of examination and deepening understanding has been profound for me. When I joined the SVP staff in 2017, the opportunities I had to learn about equity led to what I would call a personal awakening.

My colleagues and many partners fostered my personal commitment to equity and racial justice. When I joined the staff, SVP Cleveland was just beginning to address these issues head on; over the past several years, SVP’s organizational growth has given me inspiration and space for personal growth.

Read the full interview about SVP Cleveland by Wynter Moore at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.