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MAKEing a Spin-Off

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

Featuring MAKE Projects

It’s not every day one gets the privilege of walking alongside an organization during its inception. The SVP Partners with MAKE Projects Spark Team had the opportunity to do just that.

MAKE Projects was thriving as a successful work- readiness program for immigrant and refugee women and youth within San Diego International Rescue Committee. In early 2021, the program was presented with the unique opportunity to expand their funding base as an independent nonprofit in a spin-off from IRC. This was an exciting time, yet uncharted territory. Anchi Mei, now the Executive Director of MAKE Projects, took a leap. She filled out a Spark Team Request asking for, “…guidance on how [to] structure MAKE Projects best when it spins off.”

SVP’s Spark Team answered the call to assist Mei in helping MAKE Projects to become a self-sustaining social enterprise, making a lasting impact for refugees and immigrants to live a better life. Over the course of a seven-month engagement, lead Partner, Robert Hill, led the five- member team, along with several advisory members, in preparing MAKE Projects to launch services as a new independent nonprofit. Executive Director, Anchi Mei, was ecstatic about the support she received through the Spark Team engagement. “I got SO MUCH in just 6 months. A robust business plan, a range of technical expertise in all the areas I did not have any advisors in, and so much of my SVP members' time. SVP was amazing!”

Similarly, SVP Partners thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to work with a brand-new organization. Scott Schechter reflected, “We were consultants, but Anchi and Alexandra did the work to make everything come to fruition…having [nonprofit partners] not just open to change but wanting change and wanting direction makes a huge impact.” Partner Joyce Ross said, “This was one of my favorite engagements in years- great team of SVP Partners, amazing leader in Anchi…”

In just a few months’ time, SVP’s Spark Team has made an incredible impact, not only for one inspiring nonprofit leader, but also for the community. MAKE Projects has officially “spun-off” as its own organization in Summer 2021 and is now operating a paid job training program for refugees and immigrants. As a food-based social enterprise, MAKE Projects operates a Saturday café, weekly to-go meals featuring a different county (Global To Go), a farm subscription CSA, an on-site retail booth, corporate catering and special events. Adult trainees (often lower-literacy refugee women) can work up to 12 hours a week for a total of 12 weeks while youth trainees work 8 hours a week for a total of 8 weeks. Adult trainees primarily work in the kitchen, café and special events while youth trainees work on the farm, café and special events.

We encourage you to head over to MAKE Projects for a delicious meal or a unique garden workshop. Consider having your next business meeting or special event catered by MAKE Projects.

If you or someone you know is looking to support nonprofits with amazing potential such as MAKE Projects, we encourage you to become a donor to SVP and help us help organizations build capacity through the unparalleled expertise and extraordinary impact of Spark Team engagements. Contact SVP Executive Director Sierra Visher Kroha for more information on how to invest.

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