Having an Existential Moment




It’s been a whirlwind adventure these first four months as the new CEO of Mission Capital. One of my first steps has been a listening and learning tour with the members and partners we serve. The best part of being new is that I get to approach our work with a beginner’s mind, asking curious questions about our history and present to learn how to chart our future. Serving as the leader at Mission Capital has prompted me to explore age-old existential questions, such as:  who are we, how did we get here, and what is our reason for being? What is Mission Capital’s value and contribution to the Central Texas community? 

And this is what I’ve learned:

 

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same 

May-blog-2018-2.2In 2001, we (formerly Greenlights) were born out of a collective vision of community volunteers who wanted to support nonprofit effectiveness by providing capacity-building, leadership and learning opportunities, and consulting to help scale community impact. These services continue to be part of Mission Capital’s core competencies and offerings. We serve over 600 nonprofit members who live the daily grind of responding to escalating community needs. Over the last five years, Mission Capital has become a backbone convener for collective impact initiatives within child welfare (Foster Community) and data/evaluation (Good Measure).

Legacy is Important

Looking back at our evolution over the last 17 years, I’m reflecting on the power of legacy and how important it is to acknowledge and honor the contributions of leaders, organizations and board members that have paved the way for community impact. I am grateful for Deborah Edwards, our start-up founder and Matt Kouri, my predecessor, who scaled the organization in its growth years. I am thankful for Dennis Cavner, Suzi Sosa & Jen Vickers, leaders of Innovation+ (formerly the Social Venture Partner affiliate) for seeing the potential of two organizations being stronger together. I am deeply appreciative of our Mission Capital staff and board members who have demonstrated remarkable resilience during our own organizational evolution while striving for service excellence with our community partners.

 

“We’re a little bit country…and a little bit rock & roll”marieanddonny

In 2015, Greenlights merged with Innovation+, the Austin-based Social Venture Partner (SVP) affiliate. Social Venture Partners is a global network of 40+ affiliates across the U.S. They are engaged philanthropists, who collectively like to roll up their sleeves and provide consulting, coaching and financial investment in the social sector. Mission Capital is the home for our Austin SVP chapter.

With a vision of combining the core competencies of nonprofit consulting, leadership development and training with the engaged philanthropy and skills-based volunteerism of social entrepreneurs, we set out to tackle complex problems in our community. As I think about our organization post-merger (and as a child of the 70’s), I find myself humming that catchy Donny & Marie Osmond song, “we’re a little bit country…and we’re a little bit rock & roll”.  Blended together strategically, Mission Capital brings nonprofit capacity-building by leveraging our financial, human and social capital along with Social Venture Partners for the greater community good.

 

What’s Next?

May-blog-2018-4.1The listening and learning tour has been both inspiring and sobering as I grapple with what it means to work, live and play in this community I love – a community that is prosperous for some while unaffordable and inequitable for others. To develop our strategic plan this year, we are listening deeply to the challenges and opportunities you are sharing with us.

We hear the community clamoring for systems change. We hear the need for community partners to help convene authentic conversations and community-based initiatives around diversity, equity and inclusion in our nonprofit organizations and broader community. We hear the call for more capacity-building tools to support nonprofit effectiveness and measurable community impact. 

Mission Capital is here to serve you, your missions and this community of hope, where we succeed together.

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