We talk to San Diego Social Venture Partner Tuck Forsyth about how the skills that made him a successful salesman have helped him connect San Diego nonprofits working to address the problem of homelessness.
How did you become involved in SVP?
As I was winding down my sales career about 10 years ago, I was introduced to SVP by a friend and I liked the people I met. I don’t have a porch, so I can’t just sit in a rocking chair!
Why should someone consider becoming an SVP partner? Everyone gets something different. For me, a former sales guy, I look for opportunities to connect people. Being a partner of an organization like SVP that does good work for the community and has a good reputation enhances that ability. I’m part of an organization that has good people who are willing to devote their time, expertise, and money to help people.
What have you learned by being a partner? When I was working, I left home early Monday morning and came home late Friday night. I didn’t have time for other things. My interaction with nonprofits was writing a check. Through SVP, I got to know a lot about philanthropy, the community, and the nonprofit organizations in town. There are more than 9,000 nonprofits in San Diego County. There’s a huge need for help and not just on the writing-checks side. Each nonprofit is a small company. They need to raise money, take care of employees, have marketing plans, and so on.
What else have you discovered? Through SVP, I learned that almost 10,000 people in San Diego County don’t have a home. Helping them has become a passion for me. I started to interact with leaders who belong to the Regional Task Force on the Homeless and invited some of them for lunch to build trust and open lines of communication between people who have the same challenges.
For the past 18 months, I’ve been working on a project to locate, clean, store, and distribute used hotel furniture so that we can move people into homes that are furnished. If you help one person or one organization at a time, you’re going to make a big difference.