Village Exchange Center (VEC) has been extremely busy during the COVID crisis, expanding and developing programs to help their community. SVP Denver selected VEC as a capacity-building investee late in 2019 and had started consultation on other projects with them prior to the pandemic sweeping the globe this spring.

The need for SVP Denver support accelerated as soon as COVID-19 hit, when VEC was tapped by the Food Bank of the Rockies as a distribution point. The new partnership catapulted VEC from serving about 500 recipients in early March to 2,959 recipients at the end of May: a staggering increase of 492 percent seemingly overnight. 

“It’s not just that SVP Denver has helped us have an impact on those hit hard financially by the fallout of COVID-19, it’s that it has helped us have a bigger impact more quickly and more efficiently,” says Amanda Blaurock, executive director of VEC. “That, to me, is very powerful.” 

SVP Denver partners have assisted in several key areas to facilitate this expansion:

  • Donated funds and facilitated purchase of a food pickup and a delivery truck.
  • Designed, developed and implemented an automated SMS-based client intake system to gather data for tracking and delivery.
  • Implemented a cloud-based delivery system to optimize delivery routes across drivers, provide smartphone-based route guidance and provide SMS-based client notification.
  • Implemented a cloud-based volunteer system to organize and schedule people.
  • Supplied volunteer drivers to perform deliveries.
  • Are performing a financial audit and developing systems to track grants, ensure compliance and accurately analyze cash flow.

“The capacity-building work of SVP Denver partners has been as important to Village Exchange Center as financial gifts,” Blaurock says. “They streamlined our processes and helped us realize efficiencies so we can scale. We have doubled the capacity of our food bank delivery, which was managed through individual calls and texts to 200 people. Now we have an automated system that allows us to identify people’s needs and coordinate deliveries by volunteers.”

Other SVP Denver initiatives at VEC include:

— VEC became a distribution point for the Left Behind Workers Fund, which SVP Denver partners helped launch. Learn more about the LBWF and our involvement here.

— SVP Denver partners were deployed to act as a fractional CFO to help VEC manage the new funding streams from the COVID response.

— Once things return to normal, VEC would like to rent out their facility to community members in order to generate additional revenue. A team from our SVP Denver corporate partner Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner is helping VEC develop the necessary contracts so when the time is right, VEC has processes in place to activate this additional funding stream.