BlackOwned Institute, previously known as the BlackOwned Foundation, came to San Diego Social Venture Partners in August of 2020 looking to put their idea of teaching Black history to young people to concept, and eventually to practice. Right away, SVP put out a call to Partners for this exciting opportunity to work with a promising organization seeking to address the root causes of racial inequity through education. Sure enough, experienced mentors answered the call to support the budding organization.
The scope of work for the BlackOwned Institute’s Spark Team was unique in the fact that the organization was in its early planning stages. Partner, Philip Lurie, jumped on the opportunity, immediately seeing potential in the nonprofit. Lurie “loves teaching the game of business” and saw this as a chance to mentor CEO and Co-Founder Pamela Nichols as she underwent the strategic planning process and revenue stream development for the young organization. Founding Partner of SVP, Alan Sorkin, was also inspired to work with BlackOwned Institute as a nonprofit coach for leaders around the world. Completing the team, was Partner and SVP Board Member, Mark Page. Similar to the startup enterprises he has led, BlackOwned Institute’s Spark Team was a chance for Page to accelerate a project that could make a real difference in the lives of young people. The Spark Team also brought in Brad Kleban, a member of SVP’s Impact Committee, whose expertise in messaging and communications make him an asset to any nonprofit. Brad collaborated with BlackOwned Institute to produce a promotional video highlighting the organization’s educational programming.
After months of strategic dialogue that included brainstorming around program delivery, assessments of financial budget planning, and a roadmap for communications and outreach the Spark Team for BlackOwned Institute reached several important milestones. BlackOwned Institute changed its name to eliminate mission confusion and hone its focus on providing a curriculum to public school teachers on Black history. CEO Pamela Nichols’ most impactful takeaway was, “…to start small, pilot the program, and work through the idiosyncrasies." We cannot wait to see BlackOwned Institute’s mission to fill in the gaps in Black history education come to life!
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