As part of the international SVP network, we always welcome the opportunity to connect with and learn from fellow chapters. Earlier this month at the annual SVP Global Summit, we shared best practices, learned from one another, cultivated relationships, and enjoyed the stunning surroundings in Vancouver. Mission Capital represented Central Texas alongside Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin, the St. David’s Foundation, and Kate Robinson, an Austin film producer and nonprofit advocate.
The SVP Global Summit opened with a moving ceremony performed by Janis Campbell of the Squamish Nation. The ceremony honored the people and culture that inhabited the region before colonization, an important theme throughout the summit.
In three days, attendees were guided in an examination of philanthropy through different lenses, including justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. Presenters spoke about the historical context, power dynamics, and systems of oppression, which led to discussions on addressing the global and systemic challenges perpetuating inequities. We identified the importance of relational vs. transactional partnerships and belonging vs. us/them mentalities as keys to dismantling systems of power.
As philanthropists and capacity builders, we discussed how we can share power, build power, and wield power. John Powell, Director at Haas Institute- UC Berkeley, activist, author, and professor, led us in a powerful and humbling discussion reflecting on how inclusion implies assimilation, whereas belonging implies co-creation. We were reminded that good intentions aren’t enough, and systems don’t depend on individual intention.
We were grateful to learn from and be inspired by the phenomenal speakers, and excited to play a part in the programming as well!
We participated in a panel highlighting the innovative partnership between Mission Capital’s SVPs, Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin (MMBA), and the St. David’s Foundation. Moderated by Madge Vasquez, Mission Capital CEO, the panel featured Kim Updegrove, Executive Director of MMBA, William Buster, EVP of Community Investments at St. David’s Foundation, and me, Becky Austen, Mission Capital’s SVP Fellow.
MMBA saves babies’ lives by providing prescribed, pasteurized donor human milk. As a 2014 Mission Accelerator Graduate, and later an SVP Investee, MMBA worked with SVPs to scale their impact by generating earned income, ultimately strengthening their sustainability and ability to fund research and development. Through their work, they’re advancing health equity among marginalized communities and saving the lives of more low birth weight infants. It’s a privilege to be a small part of MMBA’s story and the big impact they’re making in the Central Texas community.
Kate Robinson, an Austin film producer and nonprofit advocate, screened a preview of her new film “Failing Forward,” a case study of Lifeworks that examines how nonprofits can promote a culture of continuous learning, while embracing failure as a catalyst to grow and drive sustainable impact. Moderated by Lisa Keefauver, Mission Capital’s Director of Strategic Partnerships, the session featured a lively exchange among Kate, Lisa and the audience following the film.
When asked to describe their reaction to the film in one word, participants responded with, “inspired,” “freedom,” “permission,” “abundance,” “ally-ship,” “wonder,” “breakthrough,” and “resilience.” The film premiers May 15 in Austin courtesy of the Austin Film Society. More information here!
William Buster, EVP of Community Investments at the St David’s Foundation, took the stage a second time, joined by other panelists including SVPI’s new CEO Sudha Nandagopal, to examine what it means to center impacted and historically marginalized communities in SVPs’ work. Panelists shared practical examples about the challenges and opportunities of community-centered giving.
After an impactful three days, we’re eager and inspired to bring back lessons learned to our organizations and our Mission Capital SVPs. We developed personal and professional connections with SVP staff, partners and board members from around the world, including affiliates in India, Australia, China, Japan, and across the U.S. We’re already looking forward to next year’s summit and encourage Mission Capital SVPs to join us!