One of SVPSA’s founding partners is Billy Cox, who is in his second year as chairman of the board. After retiring and moving back to the city in 2015, he was excited by the opportunity to invest more time in volunteer work.
“My goal was to get to know the community and to find the places where we could make the largest impact,” Billy said. “Social Venture Partners seemed like a natural fit. I prefer skills-based volunteering and with my background as a techie, I am just drawn to that kind of work. I like to help a nonprofit get Salesforce up and running, for example.”
Through Social Venture Partners, Billy connected with the nonprofit Youth Code Jam and enjoyed the opportunity to serve as a mentor and coach in its early days. He said what he finds most intriguing about YCJ is how many young people they can reach in a year with just a little bit of technology.
It was through his work with Youth Code Jam that Billy met Bill Neely and together they created SACRD, a San Antonio Community Resource Directory that helps connect people in need with social services provided by nonprofits, government agencies, church-based programs and more. The website is clearly filling a need and receives well over 50,000 visits a year.
Billy’s wife, Lynn Cox, is also active in philanthropy and dedicates much of her time to the Bexar County Master Gardeners, where she currently serves as president. Lynn has been a master gardener for over 20 years. Bexar County Master Gardeners are members of the local community who serve as the volunteer educational arm of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, providing gardening information, best practices, and techniques to the community. Members receive eight weeks of intensive training and have hundreds of hours of experience to share. Lynn is also a Partner with SVPSA but prefers to do most of her work behind the scenes.
During Billy’s tenure, SVPSA decided there was an opportunity to help with more than just funding. It was then that SVP created the fellowship to provide a customized training program for nonprofit leaders to help with board engagement and increase their capacity to serve.
“There aren’t many support systems out there to help nonprofits build capacity, so SVPSA fills a real need,” Billy said.
Last year as they brainstormed other ways to get more Partners involved and to respond to the changing dynamic brought about by the pandemic, Executive Director Becky Dinnin discovered Catchafire, a platform that connects volunteers with nonprofits on a project-specific basis.
“Catchafire made it possible for SVP to impact 130 organizations in one year – it’s just phenomenal,” he continued.
Billy thinks Social Venture Partners San Antonio will continue to evolve with the community and find ways to put the Partner’s talents to work in bigger ways.
“How do we systematically get out there to identify needs and determine the best way to help? We will continue to constantly educate ourselves to find ways to build connections and best meet those needs.”