SVP Partner Jim Follett had dreams of doing global philanthropy work when the pandemic hit. An SVP partner and friend of his said to him “Consider going hyper-local and supporting needs right here in our state and join SVP.” Through that connection, he’s gotten involved with Open Doors, a housing and homelessness service organization in Norwalk, and DOMUS, an anti-racist and trauma-responsive organization working to support youth through high school graduation.
As an SVP Partner, Follett is using his over 40 years of experience in the for-profit sector to help non-profits optimize their service models. Open Doors accepted a grant to establish a Financial Opportunity Center (FOC) at the end of 2020 at their site in South Norwalk, CT. The goal is to provide case-managed support (intake, income benefits, financial coaching and job placement services) for their clients to achieve self-sufficiency. They reached out to SVP to request support to help them optimize and scale their FOC service. “How can the FOC be the best service model possible to help clients get to a place of stability and housing security?” Jim asked with a team of SVP Partners when they began work at Open Doors in July 2021. Together, they created a data model to figure out how many potential people could use the FOC services as well as a seamless service model that processed and serviced hundreds of clients throughout the pandemic period.
“I feel obligated called to give back from a social responsibility perspective. I want to use my time, treasure, and talent to serve and make a difference in the lives of other people who need support. I’m going to give back and if I can make a difference with whatever gifts I have, I want to do that.” – Jim Follett, SVP Partner
For those who want to get into similar work, Follett says “start before you think you’re ready, get involved and stay in motion. You will learn your way into it.” SVP has helped him fill in the gaps in knowledge and gain instructive experience by connecting him with non-profits and a mentor. “SVP is comprised of a smart, motivated group who want to help each other get better so we can serve others more productively. It’s been a great learning experience. It is lonely if you feel you’re out there on your own. SVP truly operates as a team. Like anything else, you get out of the experience what you put into it.”
To discuss volunteering opportunities, please connect with Marjorie Almansi, SVP’s Director of Human Resources and Partner Engagement (firstname.lastname@example.org.)