Venture Philanthropy Partners: Investing in Social Change.

VPPNews

December 2015

Date: 
Mon, 2015-12-14

"VPP has been applying the concept of venture philanthropy since the beginning, cultivating it as well as adjusting it to a changing environment."
 

- Gabriela Smith, VPP Board Member and Founder and President of Crimsonbridge Group and Crimsonbridge Foundation

From Carol’s Desk: We Are Avoiding the Drum Major Instinct

A few weeks ago, I enjoyed the Suitland High School drumline performance for the launch of our new initiative, Ready for Work: Champions for Career and College Ready Graduates in Prince George’s County.
I could not help but make a connection with the way the drumline played to the way Venture Philanthropy Partners collaborates with leaders from nonprofits, business, government and philanthropy. Neither VPP nor the drum line has a lone drum major.
And that is an important distinction.
In 1968, Martin Luther King delivered a sermon to his congregation. He told them to avoid the Drum Major instinct. The Drum Major instinct is the desire to be out front, to crave distinction, to lead alone. Dr. King said,
“Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice.  Say that I was a drum major for peace.  I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter... But I just want to leave a committed life behind.”
Over the past 15 years, Venture Philanthropy Partners has tried to provide a steady drumbeat of investment, support and innovation. We do this work because the success and dreams of the more than one-and-a-half million children and youth of the National Capital Region matter. 
Their potential is only limited by our imagination. 

Last month, I enjoyed the Suitland High School drumline at the launch of our new initiative, Ready for Work: Champions for Career and College Ready Graduates in Prince George’s County. I could not help but make a connection with the way the drumline played to the way Venture Philanthropy Partners collaborates with leaders from nonprofits, business, government and philanthropy.

Neither VPP nor the drumline has a lone drum major, and that is an important distinction. In 1968, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King delivered a sermon to his congregation telling them to avoid the Drum Major instinct. The Drum Major instinct is the desire to be out front, to crave distinction, to lead alone. Dr. King said:

“Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter...But I just want to leave a committed life behind.”

Over the past 15 years, Venture Philanthropy Partners provided a steady drumbeat of investment, support and innovation. We do this work because the success and dreams of the more than 1.5 million children and youth of the National Capital Region matter. Their potential is only limited by our imagination. 

Read more about the launch of the Ready for Work initiative in this column from VPP President and CEO Carol Thompson Cole.

youthCONNECT at Suitland High School: Not Your Average Networking

The term “networking” is traditionally associated with professionals making connections and building relationships with others around a common interest. These events tend to be after work and business casual, where one usually leaves with a slew of business cards and new connections. Well, youthCONNECT at Suitland High School falls into the category of networking; it is about making connections, but it is not your average type of networking. It is more than a group of professionals with a common interest; it is a group of organizations with a larger mission. youthCONNECT at Suitland High School is a “safety net” working together to support the Region’s most vulnerable youth.

Read the full blog post.

VPP Inducted into Year Up Hall of Fame

Carol had the incredible opportunity to represent VPP at Year Up’s 15th Anniversary Opportunity Gala in New York to celebrate the organization’s historic growth and aspirations for further impact in the future.

It is truly an honor for VPP to be inducted into Year Up’s Opportunity Hall of Fame for our investment in the National Capital Region and for being the second largest investment in Year Up’s national influence strategy. We are proud to be included with a group of leaders and visionaries who together have committed to closing the opportunity divide for the future of our young adults.

Enjoy this video of an alumnus describing what Year Up means to him.

Get to Know: Gabriela Smith, VPP Board Member and Founder and President of The Crimsonbridge Group and The Crimsonbridge Foundation

We had the opportunity to chat with VPP Board Member Gabriela Smith about how her life experiences influenced her interest in youth development and what led her to invest in VPP.

What were some early influences for you? Things, ideas and/or people you encountered that made you the person you are today?

My parents, as well as learning about my family history. Since I was very young, my parents told me that regardless of societal expectations or limitations, I needed to have not only a college education, but also a graduate degree. I grew up in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, at a time when girls were not encouraged to pursue that type of education, and had no idea how I was going to do it, but knew I would. 

Looking back, any thoughts on why you were drawn to philanthropy and service as they relate to children and youth?

There was so much uncertainty and conflict growing up in Argentina in the 70’s. The country was suffering from rampant hyperinflation, the economy and political systems were in chaos. As a little girl that was my reality. 

Read the full interview with Gabriela.

Tevera Stith, KIPP DC, Discusses the Value of Professional Development Through youthCONNECT Network

After five years in operation, youthCONNECT’s achievements are encouraging. In that time, six unique organizations came together, developed a commitment to collaborate to better serve youth and constructed a Common Outcomes Framework in which to do it.

Between 2010 and 2015, youthCONNECT network partners served more than 20,000 at-risk young people, ages 14 to 24, across the Region through education, healthy behaviors and career readiness programs. Thus, we met our goal for serving youth one year early.

Additionally, youthCONNECT partners gained valuable experience from one another through shared work and collaborative efforts. Watch this video of Tevera Stith from KIPP DC explaining how the youthCONNECT network helped both she and her team grow professionally. 

Watch the full video clip of Tevera.

Links We Love

Child Trends asks: How about implementing positive youth development with emerging adults and adults? 

New NAEP Scores show DC public charter school students continue to make gains.

Enrollment up in DC public schools for seventh consecutive year.

The Social Innovation Fund (SIF) is committed to capturing and sharing the results and lessons learned from investments. Through the Knowledge Initiative, they will share resources developed to support grantees and subgrantees, reflect on what has worked, what hasn’t, what they’ve learned and share the results from the 70 plus SIF-funded evaluations currently underway. 

In this TED talk Sociologist Alice Goffman asks how we're priming some kids for college—and others for prison. 

AppleTree Institute for Education Innovation, an investment partner of VPP’s, was recognized for their data-driven work. Congratulations to Jack McCarthy, President and CEO of AppleTree for being named one of the 32 newest Moneyball for Government Nonprofit All-Stars! These leaders—Presidents and Executives of nonprofits across the country—are improving lives every day through their data-driven, evidence-based solutions.  

Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP) makes the future brighter for youth living in the National Capital Region by tackling the largest barriers to their success and forging partnerships that bring the expertise, passion and reach necessary to achieve life-changing results. Over the past 15 years, VPP has raised $100 million to help children and youth of low-income families in the National Capital Region access quality education, health care and career training – setting them on the right path to learn, graduate, and become successful, healthy adults. This funding, coupled with our management expertise and support in strengthening staff leadership, has increased the capacity of local nonprofits to help them expand to 80 new sites and serve 50,000 young people each year.
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