Philanthropy for the Long-Term

By: John

John lives in California and participates in our custom program with the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund.

I have been involved in SV2 teens for 5 years, and I joined the leadership team last year. The reason I decided to join was because my sisters were involved, but I continued to work with SV2 because I have loved learning about philanthropy and the organizations that help change our community. Through the program, I have learned how to evaluate a nonprofit organization based on three main factors: the sustainability, scope, and success of their work. It is crucial for a philanthropic organization to try to solve a problem at the roots, thus creating long-term change rather than "bandaid" fixes. At the end of the year, we have a major grant making decision

I have learned about countless organizations, including HIP Housing, Downtown Streets Team, and the Bill Wilson Center. In addition to volunteering with these organizations for a day, we learn about everything about them, including their budget, size, and how they evaluate their success. The people volunteering at these nonprofits always inspire me with their dedication and passion for their work, which makes me really excited about the possibilities of philanthropic work. This is my favorite part of SV2; every time we visit an organization, I feel more motivated and more prepared to create change in our community.  

Through these organizations we visited, I have learned that even if it is unrealistic, it is crucial to have a long-term vision in mind. For example, a vision could be "a world in which all people have equal access to education." This vision motivates people to keep working towards a better future. This is our topic for this year: education programs for low-income youth. I am incredibly excited about this theme because I feel that education is essential to breaking the cycle of poverty. It is increasingly important for students to finish high school and college in order to get a good job in this country, meaning it is unjust for underprivileged kids to have little access to a good education. For this reason I can't wait to learn more about organizations working to solve this problem. I am really excited for this year because we have a bigger grant than usual and will be able to make a more significant difference in these organizations.

John, top row second from the left, with the members of the SV2 Teen Board. 

John, top row second from the left, with the members of the SV2 Teen Board. 

SV2 Teens Visit Khan Academy

By: Finn

Finn lives in California and participates in our custom program with the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund.

This year, the SV2 Teens are focusing on investments in education for low income youth both locally and internationally. As a part of our mission to expand educational resources, we have the opportunity to visit and invest in three organizations: Khan Academy, BuildOn, and MultiCultural Institute. We’re looking forward to the grant making decision process in April, but the site visits are always a wonderful opportunity to experience impactful organizations throughout the Bay Area. Here is a review of our first site visit:

Wonderful afternoon today spent at Khan Academy! This was a great opportunity for the SV2 Teens to experience one of the world’s leading education nonprofits in their very own headquarters. Between the delicious snacks, enthusiastic staff members, and inspiring web-based programs, this was definitely an awesome experience!

“A free world-class education to anyone, anywhere.” Khan’s mission statement speaks for itself. We loved learning how the company came to life in 2007 after Sal began making online videos to help his nieces with math concepts. Today, as a nonprofit with over 140 staff members, they have reached over 50 million registered users in nearly 200 countries! And they are just getting started; I was fascinated by K.A.’s vision for the future: provide teachers with a free, rich, and interactive learning tool; transition to a more social platform with student to student interaction, and expand higher education programs like electrical engineering or economics into possible vocational training. Finally, the leadership team at K.A. emphasizes that their platform is for everyone to advance their education, and this is becoming a reality as they expand to the population of countries like India, China, Brazil, Mexico, and many more! 

Finn, left, meeting with Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy

Finn, left, meeting with Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy

Our teens group also had the opportunity to test out and evaluate Khan Academy’s SAT practice programs. In the tech world this is called “eating your own dogfood” or testing out the beta product ourselves! This was a ton of fun as we got to try out the programs for ourselves and work our way through grueling math concepts!

Could not have asked for a better visit at Khan Academy. From a girl in a slum in Mumbai accessing education from a smart phone or a student in the Bay Area getting extra help with Algebra, the possibilities with this online platform are limitless!