SVP MN Newsletter Category
Steve Spruth spent the majority of his career leading various start-ups in the healthcare industry. Now he uses his knowledge and experience to teach students about innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management. When he is not leading classes in Brazil or China, he is in Minneapolis teaching, biking, and connecting with SVP partners when he gets the chance. He finds the SVP community energizing and enjoys engaging with investees. Steve is currently working with SVP Investee, Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery, as they prepare to launch a pilot of a new business model which will help them not only expand their reach and increase their impact, but also monetize some of the services they provide. We sat down with Steve to learn more about why he got involved, what he loves most about SVP, how his involvement has impacted him, and where he sees the organization going.
What brought you to SVP?
Greg Tehven was a student in my class while he and his friends were developing STLF, and he stayed in touch after graduation. One of the things he said to me was, “You have got to get involved with this organization, SVP.” He told me about what a difference it had made for him and STLF. After hearing him speak so highly of it, I joined.
What do you love most about the SVP community?
The community itself is energizing. When I talk to other partners and hear their amazing life experiences it energizes me. It is interesting to meet with people who see this as a time in their lives to be giving back, and who are really coming out of a phase of a lot of accomplishment and creativity. I get the same humble admiration when I talk to the people leading the organizations who we are working with. These people have this vision and ambition. They are creating something and scaling it and it is very exciting.
What are your highlights thus far?
Best moment I had was meeting with Minneapolis Crisis Nursery and we went through the business model canvas. I introduced this idea to them that they could play with, something called MVP, rather than having to do this massive launch. And there was this look on their faces like, “You mean we can do that? We don’t have to risk our whole organization to do this new thing?” And I was like, “No, you can just try it and if you like it you can decide to do more.” It was a wonderful exchange where I really saw a light bulb go off for them.
What made that experience unique and how did it impact you?
It’s uniqueness was the thought that things I am doing here in my daily life that kind of seem normal to me, I could introduce to them and it would be something new and meaningful. That was the really cool and surprising thing. It makes me want to do more, and it gets me thinking, what else do I know that could be applicable and useful that they haven’t thought of yet?
Where would you like to see SVP in five years?
I would like to see us be the change that we are talking about. In five years I hope to see what we do as normal rather than out there on the edge. I really wants to see others doing engaged philanthropy.
It is finally spring. The trees are budding, the birds are singing, and SVP is opening our doors to new partners. Now is truly the time to join, with exciting opportunities coming this summer and fall. In June we have the Mosaic Social Entrepreneurs Cup, where SVP Partners get the opportunity to hear local social entrepreneurs pitch their ideas, and then help use judge who should advance in the competition. From there, SVP partners will have the opportunity to mentor the competing social entrepreneurs and attend various events as the competition continues through the summer.
In fall we kick off our grant cycle. Partners can join the Due Diligence Team to vet and select a new organization for SVP to invest in. The Due Diligence process is a highlight for many Partners who want get an in depth look into innovative Twin Cities nonprofits and make educated decisions about where to invest. If you have ever thought you’d make a great SVP partner, now is the time to act. Contact email@example.com to learn more.
At SVP we’re just getting started. Be part of where we are going next!
At first glance you might not think the business Lubrication Technologies and the nonprofit Breakthrough St. Paul have much in common. One is a leading lubrication and chemical supplier, the other addresses the over-whelming educational challenge bright students face when living at or below the poverty line. But if you think their worlds don’t overlap, you’d be wrong.
Breakthrough and Lube Tech have teamed up through SVP’s Philanthropic Partners Program. The program provides training and tools for Lube Tech, enabling them to make a grant to a social venture of their choice. After a thorough due diligence process Lube Tech employees decided to grant $25,000 to Breakthrough as part of their initiative to support STEM education. But their relationship doesn’t end with a check. Lube Tech is also providing volunteers from among their employees and management team to assist Breakthrough with capacity building projects as the organization expands.
Breakthrough St. Paul: The model and the results
In a country where less than 30% of low income students enroll in a four-year college and less than half graduate, we can look to organizations like Breakthrough St. Paul to show us one promising solution to the complex issue. Breakthrough utilizes a unique “student teaching a student” model where academically motivated, financially under-resourced middle and high school students are taught by talented college students aspiring to become professional educators. These aspiring teachers are trained, coached and mentored daily by professional educators. Thus, the Breakthrough model not only reaches high potential students and gets them on the path to college, but it also gives our future educators invaluable training and real-world experience.
Each year, Breakthrough opens 55 seats to rising 7th grade students. To be selected, the students and families must commit to the 6-year, year-round program, which carries high expectations. Every student enrolled must take at least one honors course every year, earn a minimum B- in all courses, commit to an hour and a half of homework every night, and participate in at least one extra-curricular activity every year. Illness is the only excusable absence students get when it comes to Breakthrough’s after school, Saturday and summer programs.
Parent s and guardians have their responsibilities too. In addition to supporting the student’s commitment, they must attend required events like conferences and celebrations. They also must complete family workshops and proactively communicate with the organization on student progress.
The results of this intense program speak for themselves. In 2013, Breakthrough received nearly 230 applications for the open 55 spots. Since inception eight years ago, Breakthrough has brought two groups through the six year program, and 100% of these students are now completing their freshman and sophomore year of college. The class of 2013 is on track with the same results including a Dell Scholar, two Gates Millennium Scholars, a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar, a Wallin Scholar and a Questbridge Scholar. Nearly a third of this year’s class has full-ride scholarships to high-caliber schools including Stanford, Williams College, and the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Business.
Their model is scalable. Breakthrough hopes to open five additional facilities over the next ten years, and they are on track so far. Lube Tech looks forward to continuing their support of the graduating students, their families, and the organization itself.
Sources : Lubrication Technologies Spring newsletter and www.breakthroughsaintpaul.org
Written by Pam Langseth
Board Leadership Change On Wednesday April 3, Steve Bloom, SVPMN Founder and Board Chair announced his desire to immediately step down as Chair of the Board of Directors. The Board accepted Steve’s resignation with great gratitude. While we will miss Steve’s presence as Chair, we are grateful he has chosen to remain a member of the Board.
Ten years ago, Steve took the bold step of starting a non profit organization focused on impacting at risk youth in our community. Steve brought a group of like-minded, entrepreneurial people together to create an organization which would help organizations be more self sustaining while changing kids lives. In the past years under Steve’s direction, SVPMN has impacted over 37 non profit organizations by investing over $1.5 million plus an additional $1.6 million in executive consulting. Steve’s dream has made an impact on thousands of kids in our community and will continue to do so for years to come. Please join us in thanking Steve for his vision, commitment and impact on the kids of our community.
The Board unanimously voted to elect Jeff Tollefson as the new Chair of the Board. Jeff’s background as a venture capitalist, SVP MN Partner, SVP International Board member, and current Executive Director of Genesys Works will be valuable as he leads the SVPMN Board. Please join us in congratulating Jeff in his new role.
Change in leadership is always an adventure. SVPMN is fortunate to have had the benefit of a visionary founder who has grown an outstanding organization filled with exemplary partners. We are grateful for the vision and legacy provided by our founder, Steve Bloom. And, we look forward to the next phase of our organization’s impact under the direction of a new outstanding leader, Jeff Tollefson. SVP is fortunate to experience the leadership of two outstanding philanthropists committed to kids. Change like this is exciting.
The SVP Difference
In late March, I had the privilege of attending the SVP conference. Meeting SVP partners and staff from around the world is exciting. Hearing stories about how SVP has impacted the people of our world is humbling. Learning new strategies and concepts that will lead to growth in SVP MN’s ability to impact the youth of our community is inspiring.
We are fortunate to be part of a tribe that is seeking to change the world. As Lance Fors, SVPI Board President said, “What happens if you take the potential of every individual, connect them directly to the people working on the issues they are passionate about, and challenge them to make a difference? At SVP, we’ve seen what happens and the results are transformational.”
SVP is a global network of local partners aligning passion and purpose. Bringing together people who are filled with passion, gifted with skills and experience, and committed to making a difference is a very cool thing.
If you are interested in making a difference by joining other passionate people, contact me. SVPMN is looking for people who want to join our tribe and work with us to make an impact on our community. I would love to share the story of SVP and introduce you to the opportunity that is SVP. Call or email me at: 612-207-4674 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you soon.