January 10, 2024

Becoming Collaborate Cleveland: Our Evolution from SVP Cleveland to Now


Our evolution from Social Venture Partners (SVP) Cleveland to Collaborate Cleveland began in 2016, as our partners and staff began expanding their personal and organizational understanding of equity. This commitment led to ongoing learning and growth over several years. In 2021, we partnered with the DEIA firm Gradient , who led us through the process of clearly articulating our organizational values, and our partners committed to letting these values guide us as we continued to evolve.

At the same time, the pandemic was laying bare the deep-seeded inequities faced by women—especially women of color. The voices of women in our community and an increasing body of research made it clear that these inequities needed to be addressed. This led us to explore the potential for an organizational shift to focus our work on women and gender justice. In October of 2022, our partners voted to adopt this new focus area and explore a new name.

Over the course of 2023, we worked to shape our new strategic framework with the help of an Advisory Committee made up of 15 local women leaders. The Advisory Committee helped us ensure that we were additive, responsive, and contributing to the needs of women in Cleveland. You can read more about our work with our Advisory Committee here. Additionally, we had conversations with more than 50 community leaders, who also helped our strategy take shape.

In early 2023, we also joined the Women’s Funding Network—a growing community of more than 120 women’s funds, foundations, gender equity funders, allies and individuals that offers a community of practice that creates and evolves intersectional gender-lens approaches to philanthropy, for gender equality and justice.

With our strategic direction taking shape, we also embarked on another journey—the journey to find a name that better reflected our evolving organization. Guided by the marketing firm Wonderly, we spent months visioning and shaping a new name grounded in our values. By late summer 2023, our partners had adopted the name Collaborate Cleveland with the tagline “For Women. For Community. For All.”

Additionally, our board and partners began a conversation that ultimately led us to end our formal affiliation with Social Venture Partners International (SVPI). We will forever be grateful for the support and guidance of SVPI in our organizations first 20 years.

By the end of 2023, SVP Cleveland’s evolution culminated in our organization having a new focus, a new name, and a new strategic framework for our work ahead. We relaunched as Collaborate Cleveland: For Women. For Community. For All.

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