Who We Are

Our Story

How SVP came to be

The year was 1997. Paul Brainerd had just sold his software company, Aldus Corporation, and was ready for his next journey. Drawing on a life-long passion for the environment, Paul invited colleagues, friends and community members in his hometown of Seattle to discuss his new idea – the idea was born of the desire to get thousands more people highly engaged in philanthropy. These people would not just write checks. They would work shoulder-to-shoulder with non-profits – using their professional skills to tackle Seattle’s most pressing problems. More than a hundred people showed up for that first meeting. Soon after, the SVP model and the engaged philanthropy movement was set in motion.

By 2001, 18 SVPs had sprung up organically. The SVP Network Office was born and serves as a hub for information, guidance and connection. They are the invisible backbone that allows each city in the SVP Network to focus on their purpose and passion and less on the processes associated with non-profit management.

How SVP Calgary
came to be

Brad and Tanya Zumwalt met Paul Brainerd, the founder of SVP, through business connections. The unique model of supporting the community appealed to them, and in fall of 2000, the Zumwalt’s launched Social Venture Partners Calgary, the first SVP in Canada. Since its inception, SVP Calgary has raised more than $2 million for direct investment into our community and provided thousands of hours of volunteer time and expertise to those non-profit organizations.

How to Get Involved