SVP Chicago Investment Cycle application
Submission Deadline11/19/2019

The SVP approach:

Social Venture Partners Chicago is looking for nonprofits interested in a strategic funding relationship.   We will invest our time, expertise, and funds over the next 3 years in a nonprofit organization that is working to break the cyle of poverty or its negative effects in the Chicagoland area.  We are especially interested in organizations with strong leadership and that are at an inflection point in their organizational lifecycle.  Our aim is to partner with the selected organization to actively work to increase the capacity and scale of the organization, thereby measurably increasing the impact of their programs and services.  Please see the "Rules" section below for application criteria. 

These organizations are ready to take their work to the next level, and they welcome involvement from value-added funders willing to roll up their sleeves and work alongside them. SVP provides:

  • Three years of general operating support (up to $75,000). We provide hard-to-come-by funds for general operating support that are necessary for growth.
  • Tools to assess your organizational capacity. We have tools to help our investees evaluate their organizational capacity building needs, from strategic planning to board governance to human resources.
  • Skilled volunteers. Our Partners help our investees scale their impact by building their organizational capacity.
  • A commitment to working in partnership. We believe in collaboration and trusted relationships.

Investment Cycle application process overview:

Our six-month investment cycle starts in the summer, when we select our area of focus. We ask for letters of interest from nonprofits that work in our focus area. We then request a full proposal from a small number of those nonprofits. The final phase of our due diligence involves full site visits by a team of our Investment Committee partners to our finalist nonprofits, culminating in our choice of an investee. LOIs for our 2019-20 investment cycle are due by 5 pm CST on 09/05/19.

Important Dates for organizations that move forward:

  October 7, 2019 4:00 - 6:00pm - Executive Director Interviews

  October 29, 2019 - RFPs due  (note: date change) 

  January 20-February 7, 2020 - Site Visits

  mid February 2020 - Final Selection of investee

 Learn more about how SVP Chicago works with investees: SVP Chicago Investee Orientation Presentation

Next steps:

Organizations that intend to submit an LOI are required to participate in a briefing call with our Investment Committee co-chairs.   All applicants must attend the briefing call even if you have attended in the past as there have been changes to the process this year.  There are two options:

  • August 6, 2019 12:00pm - 1:00pm CST; or
  • August 20, 2019 from 3:00pm - 4:00pm CST

Contact to register for your preferred day and she will provide additional details.  


Investment Cycle Application Criteria

For this investment cycle we are looking for smaller, earlier stage organizations.  However, this criteria may change in future years so if you don't qualify this year please look at the requirements next year.  We encourage your organization to complete this Letter of Interest application if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • Your organization’s primary focus is to break the cycle of poverty or its negative effects in Chicagoland, which must include Cook County as part of its core service area.
  • Your programs are scalable and replicable.
  • Your organization is at a critical juncture in terms of growth, opportunities in new markets, leadership changes, and/or other new challenges.
  • Your programs have a track record of demonstrable success and create lasting impact.
  • Your most recent prior fiscal year budget is greater than $250,000 but less than $3,500,000 (not including in-kind donations)
  • Your organization has an experienced leader and at least two additional full-time equivalent members as part of the leadership team.
  • Your staff and board desire growth and hands-on assistance in building your organizational capacity in areas such as strategic planning, board development/governance, fund development, business operations (including accounting/finance) marketing and technology.

Community-based and grass roots organizations are encouraged to apply.

Please note that schools, foundations, solely religious organizations, and governmental entities will not be considered for our investment during this year’s cycle.

By submitting this LOI, you are agreeing to be added to our distribution list for upcoming opportunities and events.

Contact if you have any questions.

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