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Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund (SV2)

Unleashes the resources and talents of Silicon Valley in support of promising social ventures to achieve measurable impact
Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund (SV2)
Leadership team

Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen (Co-founder)

Jeff Skoll (Co-founder)

Jerry Yang (Co-founder)

Laura Lauder (Co-founder)

Gary Lauder (Co-founder)

Ted Janus (Co-founder)

Kathleen Janus (Co-founder)

Type
Entrepreneurship Program, Venture Capital
Number of Employees
0 - 50
Headquarters
San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley, West Coast
Established
1998
Social Media
Summary

SV2, or Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund, is a non-profit organization that brings together philanthropists, business leaders, and social entrepreneurs to tackle pressing social and environmental issues in Silicon Valley and beyond.

Since its founding in 1998, SV2 has provided over $10 million in grants to more than 150 innovative non-profit organizations and social enterprises. SV2's portfolio includes a wide range of focus areas, such as education, economic opportunity, health and wellness, the environment, and social justice.

In addition to providing funding, SV2 also offers its members opportunities for experiential learning, leadership development, and collaboration. Members are encouraged to get involved in every step of the grant-making process, from due diligence and site visits to portfolio management and strategic planning.

SV2 is guided by a set of core values that includes impact, experiential learning, shared leadership, innovation, empathy, and collaborative community. The organization's mission is to unleash the resources and talents of the Silicon Valley community to achieve meaningful social impact, with a vision of a more equitable and sustainable Bay Area and a world where everyone thrives


History

Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund, commonly known as SV2, is a venture philanthropy organization founded in 1998 by Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen and a group of philanthropic pioneers, including Jeff Skoll, Jerry Yang, Laura and Gary Lauder, Ted and Kathleen Janus, Marcia and John Goldman, and Charlene and Derry Kabcenell.

The idea for SV2 was born in a coffee shop in Palo Alto, where Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, a Stanford business student, pitched the president of the local Community Foundation with a new model of giving and investing in social impact. As a graduate student, Laura developed the business plan for SV2 after researching why young tech leaders were amassing great fortunes but giving comparatively little back. Her theory was that there was no model of giving that addressed their unprecedented circumstances.

By launching SV2, Laura and the founding partners went beyond pooling donations. They invested their time and professional expertise to help high-potential nonprofits build their organizational capacity and scale their impact. SV2 was incubated by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation for ten years and became an independent 501(c)(3) organization in 2008.

Since its founding, SV2 has funded over 125 nonprofits and social enterprises, providing more than $7 million in funding. In 2000, SV2 made its first grant of $75,000 to Project Help. In April 2014, SV2 awarded its first collective impact grant to The Big Lift, a collaborative of San Mateo county leaders and community organizations focused on closing the achievement gap for third-grade reading proficiency.

In addition to its grantmaking, SV2 has also launched several programs to educate and engage its partners and their families in philanthropy. In 2009, SV2 kicked off the SV2 Teens program that has since inspired programs around the country and the world. In 2011, SV2 launched the SV2 Kids Family Service program to teach the younger children of SV2 partners about giving, service, and empathy.

SV2 has also expanded its programming to include impact investing, making its first impact investments in three mission-driven companies – Nepris, Learning Genie, and PastureMap – in fall 2015.

SV2 has received international acclaim for its work, inspiring the venture philanthropy movement around the world. In September 2008, SV2 joined the Social Venture Partners (SVP) network, the world’s largest network of engaged donors. In fall 2017, the publication of the Giving Code report inspired SV2’s multi-year “Pathways to Opportunity” local grantmaking strategy. In 2018, SV2 launched the ‘Get Proximate’ initiative to better understand, and address, systemic barriers and inequalities through deeper relationships with local communities and grantees.

In March 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SV2 successfully transitioned to virtual operations and programming, being inspired by and embracing community leadership and adaptability. SV2 also joined 780+ funders in signing the Council on Foundations Pledge, enacting funder best practices in a time of crisis.

Overall, SV2's mission is to unleash the resources and talents of Silicon Valley to achieve meaningful social impact, and it has become a powerful force for good in the region and beyond.


Investment criteria

To determine which organizations to invest in, SV2 has developed a set of investment criteria that it uses to evaluate potential partners. The following are SV2's investment criteria:

  • Social Impact: SV2 invests in organizations that have a significant positive impact on the community they serve. The organization should have a clear mission and measurable outcomes that align with SV2's values.
  • Organizational Capacity: SV2 looks for organizations that have strong leadership and management teams, as well as effective systems and processes in place. The organization should be capable of executing its mission and achieving its goals.
  • Sustainability: SV2 invests in organizations that have a clear plan for long-term sustainability. This includes financial sustainability, as well as a plan for scaling impact and adapting to changing circumstances.
  • Innovation: SV2 is interested in organizations that are innovative and have the potential to create systemic change. The organization should have a unique approach or model that has the potential to be replicated or scaled.
  • Collaboration: SV2 values collaboration and looks for organizations that are willing to work with others to achieve shared goals. The organization should be open to feedback and willing to learn from others.
  • Equity and Inclusion: SV2 is committed to promoting equity and inclusion and seeks to invest in organizations that share this commitment. The organization should have a clear understanding of the communities it serves and work to address systemic inequities.

Overall, SV2 seeks to invest in organizations that have a clear mission, strong leadership and management, a plan for sustainability and scalability, a commitment to innovation and collaboration, and a focus on promoting equity and inclusion. By using these investment criteria, SV2 aims to maximize its impact and support organizations that are creating positive social change in Silicon Valley and beyond.


Values

SV2, the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund, is committed to creating a positive social impact in the Bay Area and beyond. To achieve this goal, the organization is guided by a set of core values that underpin all its work. These values include:

  • Impact: SV2 believes in leveraging the extraordinary resources and talents of Silicon Valley leaders and social innovators to create a measurable positive impact in the community and the world. The organization is committed to investing in initiatives that have the potential to make a real difference and to working collaboratively to achieve this impact.
  • Experiential Learning: SV2 believes that learning by doing is the most effective way to gain knowledge and skills. The organization challenges its members to expand their knowledge, enhance their skills, and broaden their perspectives through hands-on experience.
  • Shared Leadership: SV2 is committed to developing emerging and seasoned leaders for social change and supporting them on their personal leadership journeys through experiential learning, peer leadership opportunities, and collective responsibility for the success of its work. The organization believes that shared leadership is essential to creating a lasting impact.
  • Innovation: SV2 seeks bold, creative approaches to its work, embracing both proven methods and new models for social impact. The organization is committed to finding innovative solutions to the challenges facing the community and the world.
  • Empathy: SV2 strives to foster empathy and compassion, serve those most vulnerable in society, and support opportunity and equity for all people. The organization believes that empathy is essential to creating a more just and equitable world.
  • Collaborative Community: SV2 is building a welcoming group of active socially responsible community members who believe in the power of creating social impact together. The organization believes that collaboration is essential to achieving its mission and values the diverse perspectives and skills of its members.

Mission

SV2's mission statement is to unleash the resources and talents of the Silicon Valley community to achieve meaningful social impact. The organization recognizes that, despite the great wealth and opportunity in Silicon Valley, there is also an unprecedented level of inequality in the region. Many individuals and families are struggling to secure affordable housing, find stable employment at a living wage, and navigate troubled school systems.

In response to this challenge, SV2 aims to support effective solutions by providing a platform for new and seasoned philanthropists to deploy their resources in a way that addresses inequality and promotes meaningful change. The organization's ultimate vision is a more equitable and sustainable Bay Area and a world where everyone thrives.

SV2's mission is grounded in a set of core values that guide all of its work. These values include impact, experiential learning, shared leadership, innovation, empathy, and collaborative community. By leveraging the extraordinary resources and talents of Silicon Valley leaders and social innovators, SV2 strives to create a measurable positive impact in the community and world, while fostering empathy and compassion and supporting opportunity and equity for all people.


Portfolio

As a venture philanthropy organization, SV2 builds and manages a diverse portfolio of social impact investments across a range of issue areas, including education, health, environment, and economic opportunity.

SV2 invests in both nonprofit organizations and for-profit social enterprises that have the potential to create significant positive change in the world. The organization takes a hands-on approach to its investments, working closely with its portfolio organizations to provide strategic guidance, operational support, and access to its network of Silicon Valley resources.

Some of the notable organizations in SV2's portfolio include:

  • Code2040 is a nonprofit that creates pathways to educational, professional, and entrepreneurial success in technology for Black and Latinx individuals
  • Kiva is a nonprofit that expands access to capital for underserved communities through crowdfunded microloans
  • Crisis Text Line is a nonprofit that provides free, confidential mental health support via text messaging
  • Upwardly Global, a nonprofit that helps skilled immigrants and refugees rebuild their careers in the United States
  • Handshake is a for-profit social enterprise that connects college students with internships and job opportunities

Overall, SV2's portfolio reflects the organization's commitment to investing in innovative solutions to pressing social challenges and supporting organizations that have the potential to create a lasting positive impact in their communities.


References
Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund (SV2)
Leadership team

Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen (Co-founder)

Jeff Skoll (Co-founder)

Jerry Yang (Co-founder)

Laura Lauder (Co-founder)

Gary Lauder (Co-founder)

Ted Janus (Co-founder)

Kathleen Janus (Co-founder)

Type
Entrepreneurship Program, Venture Capital
Number of Employees
0 - 50
Headquarters
San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley, West Coast
Established
1998
Social Media