Calendar of Events

CEO Transition Announcement

December 13, 2022

Dear SVP Denver community,

I write today to share that I have asked our board of directors to begin a search for a new CEO. I initiated this conversation after much thought because I believe the timing is opportune for both SVP Denver and me to soar toward new opportunities. Our board of directors is committed to transparency and to advancing the well-being of nonprofit leaders. As such, when I began to consider this very personal decision, they appreciated having several months to work together to consider what this organization needs to thrive. They have initiated an executive search, and I will remain in my position until a new leader is selected. The board has set an optimistic but flexible schedule to have a new executive in place by March 1, 2023, and I am committed to helping support the organization through the transition.

It has been a privilege to serve this community over the past three years, and I approach this transition with gratitude, pride, and excitement about SVP Denver’s future.

Why, then, am I leaving? On a personal note, my husband and I will celebrate a family milestone this spring, when our youngest of four will graduate high school. As we began envisioning our future, I realized that I’d like to explore additional avenues for advancing systems change, economic equity and social impact innovation, potentially on a national or international scale.

On a professional note, I believe SVP Denver is ready to welcome a new leader to build on the momentum we have created together. I joined this community in April 2020, just as SVP Denver was emerging as an independent organization, departing The Denver Foundation. Our board of directors was running the organization, implementing innovative initiatives, such as our Left Behind Workers Fund, and searching for a new executive director. Their passion for amplifying the impact of change-makers across Denver was evident.

We have many strategic initiatives in place for 2023 and with our current staff and Board in place, I am positive we are positioned to maintain the incredible momentum without missing a beat.

What we’ve achieved together during my tenure

Together, we realized that SVP Denver was uniquely positioned to become a leader in trust-based philanthropy. As a vital connector that fosters meaningful engagements between social mission organizations and the community (funders, businesses and individuals), we were in a unique position to build trust across our community while addressing systemic inequities. Before we could take a leadership role, however, we needed to strengthen our own foundation.

I am proud to say that, working in partnership with our board and SVP Denver Partners, we have achieved that goal. Among our shared accomplishments, I am especially proud of the advancements we’ve made in these areas:

  • Financial Sustainability of SVP Denver: Securing multi-year general operating funding and diversifying funding beyond membership dues
  • Accessibility & Inclusive Membership: Transforming our membership model to make the organization more accessible and inclusive by removing financial barriers to Partner participation
  • Board Diversification: Diversifying the skills and lived experiences of our board of directors to represent the communities we serve more effectively
  • Impact Measurement: Creating internal operations processes to measure our collective impact and enhance our social mission organization selection criteria. This effort has been critical to measuring our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives and informing our focus on BIPOC+-led or serving organizations with annual operating budgets of less than $3 million
  • Organizational Growth: Scaling our staffing model to support our impact and growth and attracting impact leaders, such as Dave Koken, Amy Martinez and Karen Mortimer, who will continue to support the organization after I’ve transitioned
  • Community Support: Lifting up over 100 organizations through our programming in the past two years alone and expanding the number and type of organizations we support to better reach underserved communities—with almost half of the organizations we serve being BIPOC-led
  • Investing in Impact: Creating an ecosystem training framework to help organizations become “funding ready.” In 2022 alone, we supported and connected 74 local organizations to over $1 million by developing relationships and programs that enabled social mission organizations to clearly articulate their impact, organizational funding models and needs
  • Positive Program Engagement: Developing, scaling and diversifying our cohort programming to help organizations address urgent priorities. To date, we have run 16 cohorts—and 95 percent of Partner and social mission organization participants would recommend the program to others

What’s next for SVP Denver

SVP Denver has made strategic shifts over the past three years to become a vital, healthy organization positioned for sustained success. As we look ahead, we already have many strategic initiatives in place for 2023, and with our current staff and Board in place, I am positive we will maintain SVP’s  incredible momentum without missing a beat. Our next CEO will have the opportunity to further scale the organization as an effective impact ecosystem and leader in trust-based philanthropy.

I am deeply grateful to have served this organization, and I hope to talk with each of you individually in the coming weeks. I wanted to share this news immediately. The job application will be open on 12/15/22 and we encourage you to help us find SVP Denver’s next leader. If you have any questions, please contact me or incoming board chair Amy Aldridge.

Again, thank you for the honor of working alongside this exceptional community for the past three years. I look forward to seeing what SVP Denver achieves next.

With gratitude,

Colleen Kazemi

CEO, SVP Denver