Guff Van Vooren, #20Storiesfor20Years

“I show up at Social Venture Partners Minnesota because I’m passionate about connecting with and caring for people and our planet. My spouse, Vicki, and I joined SVP Minnesota in 2010 and we’ve had transformative experiences connecting and collaborating with incredible people and organizations around the world.

At SVP, we collectively pool our money, time, and connections – engaging shoulder-to-shoulder with organizations and leaders we partner with. They’re the experts in our community – they’re closest to the challenges and they have the solutions for them. My role is to show up and support them in ways they need me to.

I serve on the Bridgemakers team, an organization building a youth-led movement. These young leaders are building power – they’re courageous, resilient, joyful, and full of hope for our future. I learn a lot from them and they give me great hope and joy for our future, too!

I also serve on the board of directors for Social Venture Partners International, the hub of our social change ecosystem. There are 3,400+ of us around the world! I believe we’re all interconnected globally and so are our challenges, opportunities, and impact. SVP’s local and global connection – the grassroots work we do in the Twin Cities AND the collective work we do across communities, sectors, and countries – is one of the things I love most about SVP. It’s helping me evolve in my role and as a person.

At SVP, we’re shifting the way we do philanthropy. We understand our sector itself is a system that needs to change, and SVP is part of that change. We also acknowledge why our sector is needed in the first place. The organizations and leaders we partner with, historically underfunded by our sector, address these social challenges at their root. We’re sharing power and resources with them…..and hopefully in the future organizations like ours and our sector aren’t needed, or at least not as much, anymore.

Building relationships is at the center of our work. We move at the speed of trust, knowing the work we do is for the long haul. We need to be patient, persistent, vigilant, and resilient – and make sure we celebrate, are joyful, and have fun while doing it, because it’s hard work. Together, we’re helping to rewrite the global story of some people benefiting from the many people suffering. These are things I’m learning from these amazing social justice movement leaders. They’re showing me better ways to move forward together.

In this moment, there’s a lot we can do. I feel the more we listen, and the more we learn and ask questions, and the more we connect and take action together, the more we’ll move forward in our journey toward our collective well-being and shared liberation. SVP has really been my catalyst to help build a more just, peaceful, loving, and resilient world where everyone and everything thrives and feels like they belong. I’m lucky and grateful to be part of SVP’s global movement. I invite you to join us!

Guff Van Vooren (she/her)
SVP Minnesota partner & SVP International board member

Photo: Humans of Minneapolis
#SVPmn20StoriesFor20Years #collectiveaction #communityimpact #nonprofit

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