What is SEED20?

Created by Social Venture Partners (SVP), the annual SEED20 program identifies, highlights and connects the community to our region’s most innovative ideas for tackling pressing social challenges. These innovations can be developed by:

  • An individual or start up with a well-formed idea
  • An emerging nonprofit
  • A well-established nonprofit with a new program

Each year, over the course of two months, a class of twenty nonprofit participants receives training, coaching, feedback, and mentoring on how to succinctly and powerfully tell their story – who they are and why they matter. These efforts culminate in SEED20 OnStage, a high-energy event where ten members of the class compete to win cash awards by making three-minute pitches to a panel of judges and a community audience. SEED20 OnStage includes a celebration before and after the pitches where the audience can interact and connect with all twenty nonprofits to learn more about their mission and opportunities for support and engagement.

SEED20’s mission is to promote the power of social innovation.

  • We believe in the power of social innovation to unleash breakthrough ideas that creatively attack tough social challenges. 
  • We connect innovative people and organizations to funders, to one another, and to the broader Charlotte region. 
  • We empower nonprofits with the skills and confidence to tell their stories in ways that inspire people to act. 
  • We educate the community about pressing social issues and organizations that are dedicated to addressing them. 

Social Venture Partners is a nonprofit organization passionately attacking the issue of social and economic inequality in Charlotte through venture philanthropy. Our vision is that through SEED20, the Charlotte region will be a community that embraces our nonprofit entrepreneurs, providing them with a supportive environment to innovate. The SEED20 program, the OnStage event, and alumni activities are all coordinated by Social Venture Partners’ staff and volunteer members.

Alumni Network

To the audience of the SEED20 OnStage event, our program might seem like just one inspiring evening. But after the party is over, the checks have been cashed, and everyone has gone home, this year’s SEED20 participants become members of the SEED20 Alumni Network! All SEED20 participants are welcome in the network and can use the opportunity to find collaborators, mentors, and partners. As the steward of the Alumni Network, Social Venture Partners offers multiple workshops each year for the enrichment of the alums. These sessions address a wide variety of topics including an “Ask a Lawyer” night, tips on fundraising practices, and seminars on understanding leadership styles or Board development.

Ask a Lawyer night is a great example of alumni benefits. Seeking advice from attorneys is often intimidating and potentially expensive. The opportunity to meet with the lawyers from McGuireWoods…helped us answer many of our questions.

Dick Sesler, Camp Blue Skies, SEED20 Class of 2014

More About Social Venture Partners

Social Venture Partners (SVP) is a global network of strategic philanthropists helping to strengthen high-impact organizations that are attacking social and economic inequality in Charlotte.  SVP invests through venture philanthropy, a model of giving where its members (Partners) not only provide grants, but also invest their collective expertise and time to support  a carefully selected portfolio of nonprofits with the greatest potential to remove barriers to upward mobility.

SVP fuels nonprofit innovation in the community in two distinct ways:

  • Deep, multi-year investments of financial and human resources in a select number of promising nonprofits called Investees.
  • The annual SEED20 program.

To learn more, please visit www.socialventurepartners.org/charlotte/.