Social Venture Partners launches ‘Project XLR8’ to support socially innovative nonprofits

Social Venture Partners is broadening eligibility for its funding so nonprofits can help even more of our community’s residents reach their full potential during this time of increasing disparities in health, income, education and opportunity.

SVP is a nonprofit that actively engages philanthropists in support of other organizations, going beyond simply giving money to offer hands-on, in-depth coaching, training and guidance. The agency is launching a new accelerator model, Project XLR8, which combines elements of its ongoing Fast Pitch storytelling competition and its multiyear general operating support funding. SVP will select up to 12 organizations for the phased eight-month program. 

MORTAR co-founder Derrick Braziel and Social Venture Partners Melissa Jones, Susan Ingmire and Carrie Johnson attend MORTAR’s fifth anniversary celebration in September 2019. SVP has worked with MORTAR since 2019 to create plans and processes for expansion to new cities, as well as to build planning tools and infrastructure operations for human resources, communications, finance, fundraising and more. 

The only requirements are nonprofit status and a socially innovative idea that aims to enhance opportunity, and create effective, sustainable and just solutions to our society’s challenges. The idea also must reflect the lived experience of the people it intends to serve.

“We want to encourage nonprofits to take risks and bring forward fresh ideas that might not receive conventional funding because they are untested or new,” said Chris Shroat, SVP’s volunteer board chair. 

Nonprofits will receive not only funding, but SVP partners share their decades of expertise in finance, marketing, fundraising, strategic planning and more. And SVP will award grant money to participating nonprofits at each phase of the program.  

During the first phase of the program, SVP partners will work closely with 10 to 12 nonprofits to brainstorm and refine their ideas. After 12 weeks, nonprofits will share their concepts with all the partners, who will select four to six to advance to the next phase. 

For another 12 to 16 weeks, partners and selected nonprofits will take a deep dive into developing a business plan for these socially innovative ideas. This phase will close with SVP partners selecting one idea as the focus of a sustained, multiyear community investment.

In phase three, dedicated teams of SVP partners will help the chosen nonprofit identify and solve the most pressing strategic and operational challenges in launching the idea. While the funding will last up to three years, SVP builds relationships with its investees that often are sustained well past the funding period.

“Project XLR8 is intended to build even deeper relationships with our nonprofit collaborators and help them maximize their impact,” Shroat said. “We aim to help nonprofits focus on what really matters – making our region a stronger and more vibrant community.”

SVP will host community forums to discuss Project XLR8: June 15, at noon and June 17 at 5 p.m.

The online application will open June 11 and close Aug. 1. or

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