In 1994, Paul Brainerd, founder of Aldus Corporation, a desktop publishing company, started Social Venture Partners in Seattle. Brainerd’s vision was to engage small and mid-cap business leaders in philanthropy by using the venture capitalist approach. There are now 40 SVP International (SVPI) affiliates across the globe in cities such as Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, and Tokyo and there are more than 3,200 partners across the world.
In 2001, in keeping with its overall mission, the Regional Business Council launched St. Louis SVP to provide an innovative vehicle for philanthropy in St. Louis. The St. Louis SVP’s partnership with the RBC makes it unique among the SVP network. This framework has become a model for new cities considering starting their own Social Venture Partners program.
St. Louis SVP has the unique opportunity to employ the skills and resources of our region’s leading business executives to support organizations that provide educational programs for disadvantaged youth. Partner involvement ranges from hands-on work, such as establishing a website or designing marketing materials, to providing guidance and support in the areas of finance, strategic planning, fundraising, legal, promotions, real estate and more.