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Investment Against Human Trafficking
San Diego Social Venture Partners (SDSVP) recently announced they will be investing $75,000 in grants over the next two years to organizations fighting one of the most insidious and destructive problems in our community- human trafficking. The Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition (BSCC) and Casa Cornelia Law Center have been working on the front lines of this problem for years. SDSVP’s Acting Executive Director, Sierra Visher Kroha says, “We’ve learned about the financial and human costs, and now understand just how large this illegal activity looms in San Diego. We learned that sex trafficking represents more than $800 million in underground activity each year and that the majority of victims in San Diego are born in the United States. Traffickers prey on vulnerable teenagers, often targeting middle and high school students. San Diego Social Venture Partners is stepping up with an investment of time and resources to bring attention to and reduce the volume of trafficking in our backyard.”
More Than Money
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Would you like to learn more about joining Social Venture Partners? Contact Executive Director, Sierra Visher Kroha to learn more or check out the website at sdsvp.org.
SDSVP routinely invests money in organizations they support, but what makes SVP different is the investment of consulting resources alongside the grants. This leverages their financial support and deepens their members’ understanding of the nonprofits they serve.
Members, called “Partners” donate money, their professional expertise, and their connections to magnify the impact of each nonprofit served. Nonprofits are selected by the partnership upon completion of a rigorous vetting process. Multi-year relationships between SDSVP Partners and nonprofits focus on improving the overall strength of the nonprofit so they can grow and have lasting impact on the community.
Founded in 2001, SDSVP has donated more 2.5 million dollars and more than 100,000 volunteer hours to San Diego’s nonprofit organizations. According to Visher Kroha, SVP Partners “do more than cut a check. Our Partners roll up their sleeves and work with grant recipients improving their operations, not just their programs. We offer the skills of CPAs, lawyers, and CEOs of successful businesses who donate invaluable time and personal support to nonprofit executives.”
This willingness to fund overhead and support the operational side of nonprofits is rare because “it’s difficult to convince most donors to invest in capacity like professional development or even a photo copy machine,” she continues. “Investors want to direct all their money to the programs, so many of the business functions are often overlooked. SDSVP closes that gap.”
Partnering for the Future
SDSVP hopes their partnership with BSCC and Casa Cornelia will make a dent in human trafficking in San Diego. Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition (BSCC) is a bi-lateral, bi-national nonprofit that serves victims of human trafficking – labor trafficking and sex trafficking- in the greater San Diego area. Marisa Ugarte, BSCC’s Founder and Executive Director, serves as vanguard and advocate working in alliance with more than 60 government and nonprofit organizations convened along the U.S. and Mexican border. BSCC’s incredible work to abolish the abhorrent practice of human trafficking also empowers men, women and children to embrace family, friends and a ‘normal’ life.
“BSCC offers a range of wrap-around services that support sex and labor trafficking victims,” explains Visher Kroha. “From literally picking victims from the streets or assuming responsibility from police custody, BSCC provides emergency shelter, emotional support and connects them to other key resources. BSCC is impressive, effective and programmatically successful, but they are missing opportunities to grow their business. With SDSVP, BSCC will become more sustainable and continue their work for the long haul.”
“Social Venture Partners will help us do many good things,” says Ugarte. “And it’s not just about the money. We’re thrilled with the services that will give the agency a better flow, like branding, working with our internet, setting up a donor base and the administrative work that we don’t have time to do. SVP will be a business partner that provides business acumen so that we can work in the field. With their help, we can grow a stronger, more organized agency to provide the best services for the prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnership against labor and sex trafficking.”
Casa Cornelia Law Center, the other beneficiary of SDSVP support, is a nonprofit law firm that offers pro-bono legal services to individuals suffering from human and civil rights violations including survivors of torture, victims of serious crimes such as human trafficking or domestic violence, and abused or abandoned unaccompanied children in San Diego County. “Casa Cornelia Law Center was chosen because we’re always looking for a strong return on our investments,” states Visher Kroha. “Casa Cornelia already has a large capacity with capable leadership so with more investment and focus we can help them become really successful.”
“Working with SVP will build capacity and make us stronger,” says Courtney Brown, CCLC’s Director of Development. “Social Venture Partners will help us expand our reach with our board of directors and our community visibility, which is critical in our mission to provide quality services to the most vulnerable. SVP has a great track record and we’re honored and excited to work with them.”
Brown also noted that quality is essential within the framework of the CCLC. “Our motto is justice with compassion,” she concludes. “And San Diego Social Venture Partners will collaborate with us to help Casa Cornelia Law Center continue to ensure access to justice as instilled in us by our founders, Sister Ann Durst and Sister Mary Wayne Gradon.”
Together, SDSVP, Casa Cornelia Law Center and BSCC hope to see a reduction in human trafficking in San Diego and better services for the victims who deserve a fresh start and basic human freedoms.