Venture Philanthropy Partners: Investing in Social Change.

Shirley Marcus Allen has been a Partner with Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP) for the past eight years. Venture Philanthropy Partners is a high engagement philanthropic investment firm which provides significant multi-year growth capital and strategic management support to nonprofits serving children and youth of low-income families in the National Capital Region.

VPP has adapted the relevant principles of private investment firms and applied them for investing in the nonprofit sector. In her role as Partner, Allen has managed a multi million dollar portfolio of nonprofit organizations, conducted due diligence and analysis of investment criteria to select high performing philanthropic investments, assisted in the creation of growth-oriented business plans, structured investment parameters, and provided strategic advice designed to assist nonprofit organizations in achieving their proposed social outcomes. Most recently, she has worked directly with the President/CEO to advance VPP’s mission through development of strategic partnerships, and is responsible for on-going relationship management and the generation of match funding to support VPP’s Social Innovation Fund initiative, youthCONNECT.

Prior to joining VPP, for eleven years she was the Vice President of Membership Services at the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) with responsibility for six regional offices throughout the country and ensuring the connectedness of over 1,100 public and private member agencies through the development of numerous conferences, trainings, and convenings annually. After having spent a number of years in senior level positions in Maryland local and state government working on behalf of low-income children and youth, in 1988 she was appointed by the former Mayor of Baltimore City and the former Governor of the State of Maryland as the Director of the Baltimore City Department of Social Services. In that position, she was responsible for city-wide social services, income maintenance, and child support, managing a workforce of 2,500 employees and an operating budget of $400 million, serving over 200,000 low income and/or at-risk Baltimore City individuals.

She has an undergraduate degree in sociology from Morgan State University and a graduate degree in public administration from the University of Baltimore. She is a member of the board of the National Human Services Assembly, National Advisory Committee for the Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program, and a member of the Morgan State University Board of Regents.