The newest member of the Social Venture Partners network opened in Melbourne, Australia in May, part of the city’s rapidly growing social investment and entrepreneurship movement. ‘We see SVP Melbourne playing a significant niche role,’ said Margi Olson, one of the founding partners. ‘Our focus is on supporting small but vibrant non-profits that have a clear mission and a drive to bring about real social change.’
Partners in SVP Melbourne will pool their funds (AUD 5,000 annually) and make multi-year grants to carefully vetted local non-profits. SVP Melbourne’s will also offer the business and professional expertise and support of its partners. The aim is to strengthen the non-profit, increase its impact, and put it on the path to sustainable growth. In the medium term SVP Melbourne intends also to provide funding support in the form of low-interest loans and/or impact investment.
The group will focus initially on non-profits working with children and families in underserved sectors and communities. The choice has been influenced by the group’s strategic alliance with the ten20 Foundation, a new venture philanthropy fund dedicated to supporting collaborative, community-based projects for children and families in need. The ten20 Foundation is one of SVP Melbourne’s ten founding partners, drawn from business, law, academia and non-profit sectors. The target is to have 30 partners by the end of the year.
SVP Melbourne is unique in Australia in combining aspects of philanthropic giving with donors’ active involvement and volunteerism. The venture capital and investment disciplines that it will apply to selecting non-profits also set it apart. It is these unique qualities that have struck a chord with the founding partners and others in Melbourne’s business and professional communities. SVP Melbourne considers part of its mission to contribute to the development and growth of the venture philanthropy sector in Australia.
SVP is the world’s largest network of engaged donors, with 2,700 participants in 32 cities in five countries: USA, Canada, India, Japan and Australia. SVP is slated to open in Beijing in October.