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The Mutuality of Listening and Learning

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

Featuring Cesar Chavez Service Clubs

When Partner Steve Ness heard that SVP would support Cesar Chavez Service Clubs (CCSC) with capacity building, he knew he needed to learn more. Ness had heard of Cesar Chavez’s work as an organizer of migrant farmworkers and was curious how the nonprofit was developing young leaders through the values Chavez embodied during his lifetime. So, he signed up for the team.


Led by Partner Pat Kaufman, joined by Partners Steve Ness and Carl Vonderau, the team got to know Cesar Chavez Service Clubs’ leadership team including Co-Founders Linda and Carlos LeGerrette, Operations Manager Richard Barerra, and Director of Curriculum and Research Natalie LeGerrette. The group soon found that although their experience and perspective was diverse, they shared common values and a passion for the mission of the organization to inspire young people to believe in themselves and know they can make a difference.

"At the beginning of our partnership, we honestly were skeptical that our SVP team would understand enough about our world to build a meaningful relationship with us. What we discovered was that we share core values despite our different experiences, and that has allowed our relationship to flourish." -Richard Barrera, CCSC Operations Manager

SVP’s and CCSC’s relationship certainly did flourish, beginning with lots of listening and learning. Over the course of the two-year engagement and hours of shared conversation, SVP supported the nonprofit developing a three-year strategic plan, allowing for program expansion while maintaining core values and its unique approach to leadership development. Together, the team helped CCSC to capture student and alumni data to begin to measure impact and communicate the organization’s mission to potential stakeholders.


The mutual respect and admiration among team members extended beyond working meetings. SVP Partners frequently attended fundraising events for the nonprofit and shared their work with friends and family. CCSC’s leadership team even showed up at SVP Partner Vonderau’s book signing. Not only was the team in lockstep in building the future of the nonprofit, but fully supportive of one another’s individual growth and personal fulfillment. And Steve? He has gained new insight into the labor movement and its lasting ability to catalyze positive social change.


SVP is set to continue its work with CCSC in a second engagement focused on revenue stream development in late 2023. We’re so glad this nonprofit and its staff are part of the SVP community. We are richer for it.

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