In 1998, Laura Arrillaga launched the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund (“SV2”) with two objectives: 1) providing Silicon Valley donors with philanthropic experience and education that would empower their personal giving; and 2) awarding local nonprofits with multi-year, capacity-building grants that would help them to strengthen their organizations and meet the higher level of accountability associated with contemporary philanthropic investments. SV2 followed a venture philanthropy partnership model in which investors pooled their money to give large, multi-year grants to nonprofits and also served in consulting and advisory roles to help grantees meet their capacity-building goals.
Arrillaga created SV2 in partnership with Community Foundation Silicon Valley (“CFSV”), a nationally recognized public foundation that had experience working with individual donors and had established credibility within the philanthropic field. Arrillaga formed SV2 as a donor-advised fund to ensure that CFSV staff would help guide SV2 partners leverage their expertise and funding to select high-performing community organizations, thus generating the greatest social impact.
By 2005, Arrillaga and CFSV had built a volunteer-driven organization composed of 160 partners ranging in age from their twenties to their sixties. SV2 had donated $2 million to support 13 local grantees. Moreover, SV2 had implemented two professionally facilitated strategic planning processes in its short history. In the future, Arrillaga and her team hoped to continuously evolve the organization, in particular, to improve SV2’s partner consulting program to better leverage partner expertise to benefit grantees. They also wondered how to more fully engage partners in SV2’s grantmaking and educational activities while increasing SV2’s accountability to grantees, partners and the broader philanthropic community.
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Case No: SI80
The Global Environment Fund (GEF) is a private equity fund focused on investments in environmental and energy solutions in both developed and developing markets. The fund is currently examining the strategy of one of its portfolio companies–NEOgás, a Latin American natural gas supplier–which is considering entering the Mexican distribution market. The case recounts two previous GEF investments in emerging markets, a South African forestry company and a Southeast Asian waste management business, as examples of successful management strategies for creating value in emerging markets.
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