Reflection on the Game-Changing 2013 SVP Network Conference

Nov 13, 2013

By: Donna Bartos, Executive Director, Purple Ribbon Council and 2012 Fast Pitch Investee Winner

Audacious: showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks.

Philanthropy: the practice of giving money and time to help make life better for other people

Reflection on the Game-Changing Audacious Philanthropy 2013 SVP Network Conference

Having recently transitioned from a volunteer Executive Director to Purple Ribbon Council’s first paid staff member, I was excited to attend the Social Venture Partners International “Audacious Philanthropy” Conference in my new and official role. It was a game-changing three days of listening, note-taking, networking and inspiration.

From each discussion and workshop, I absorbed insights from an impressive roster of presenters, SVP partners and innovative investees.

One of the most inspiring conversations was with Alison Gordon from the Hong Kong Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund. Alison and I shared our mutual vision for ending violence against women and girls. Along with her sister, a human rights attorney, Alison is launching an empowerment program for women and girls in Asia. This serendipitous encounter, thanks to Terri Wogan, resulted in the introduction of Purple Ribbon Council’s “BLOOM for Healthy Relationships” education and awareness tool to a new audience of global advocates.

Then there was the meet and greet with Tom Callinan, the “rewired, not retired” former Arizona Republic Editor and current SVPI Board Member. Tom remarked, “I know who you are. I remember your Fast Pitch!” His recollection took me back to that night of March 6, 2012 and the 180 seconds that positively altered the course of Purple Ribbon Council’s work forever!

I shared with Tom how we much we have evolved since 2012 and passed along our BLOOM poster. Within a minute of looking at the wilting and blooming flowers he asked, “Have you considered using puppets to spread this message to little kids?” What a brilliant, high impact idea! Thank you, Tom! Because of Tom’s brilliant idea, we have meetings set up with a few leading puppet production studios to explore the creation of a BLOOM Puppet Theatre for kids ages 4 to 8!

There I was, 19 months after the game-changing Fast Pitch night, in Silicon Valley engaged in conversation with social changers around the globe and attending laser-focused learning workshops, such as “Scaling Up Social Ventures,” presented by Richard Kohl, Ph. D.

Richard’s presentation inspired me to think about Purple Ribbon Council’s readiness to duplicate our awareness, community engagement and prevention education work throughout Arizona and beyond. He drove home the importance of achieving both capacity (ability to deliver and implement at desired scale) and capability (ability to deliver and implement to meet the fidelity) in order to successfully scale up.

While listening to Jennifer McCrea, author of “The Generosity Network,” I diligently keyed notes into my purple MacBook Pro and highlighted the Bill Gates’ quote she referenced. “Education isn’t filling a bucket. It’s lighting a fire.”

At Purple Ribbon Council we inspire youth to change attitudes, systems and ultimately behaviors.  This quote is spot on and validating!

Another validating moment was when Christy Remey Chin, Portfolio Director of the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation (DRKF) shared her thoughts on founders remaining in the leadership role of start-up non-profits. “Who else has the same drive, determination and resilience to push through the growing pains than an organization’s founder?” shared Christy. She also uncovered a few components that DRKF believes make an organization entrepreneurial ready:

  1. A founder who is a visionary and has the management talent to implement the vision.
  2. The program or project can be replicated.
  3. The program or project is sustainable.
  4. The work is transformative and produces impact.

Based on the above criteria, Purple Ribbon Council is out of the gate and almost there! With just a few more hurdles to clear, we are excited to unleash our full potential for impact!

According to Lance Fors, SV2 Partner and mentor of social entrepreneurs, to achieve both capacity and capability an organization must remove any structural barriers that get in the way of reaching the vision. “This becomes the board’s priority to-do list during the white space in between meetings,” said Lance.

As soon as the words escaped his mouth, I jotted down what, from where I sit, see as Purple Ribbon Council’s biggest barriers to growing a culture that prevents domestic abuse before it can start:

Transitioning from an operating board of directors to a governing board that attracts human (time) and financial (money) resources.

  1. Assembling in-kind and cash resources to achieve “clicks not bricks” impact through an interactive website and social media platform to catapult our campaigns, youth engagement activities and prevention education work.
  2. Securing additional start-up funding so we can hire 3 key team members.

These notes have inspired fresh frameworks and a new lens for all of us at Purple Ribbon Council to see the potential impact of our mission locally, nationally and someday globally.

Thank you Terri Wogan, Carol Clemency, Diane Walker, Cindy Vandervort and everyone at SVPAZ for believing in our mission to educate youth, engage communities and empower families to prevent domestic abuse.  We hope more SVPAZ Partners and friends will stand with us and work with us to Break the Silence, Break the Cycle and Save Lives.

It’s time to GO PURPLE so every child, every teen, every family and every community can BLOOM!