Jen Ratay, Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund

Twitter = @JenRatay

Jen is a seasoned grantmaker, nonprofit executive and coach. She is passionate about helping build the effectiveness of individuals, organizations, and networks that drive social and environmental change. Prior to joining SV2 as Executive Director, she worked as a program officer at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation where she led the Foundation’s multi-million dollar Organizational Effectiveness grants program that helps nonprofit organizations strengthen their management, leadership and impact. Jen has held leadership positions at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, consulted to the Aspen Institute, and worked for a U.S. Congressman, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and the United Nations. She holds an M.P.A. focused on International Development from Princeton and a B.A. from Dartmouth in Government and Environmental Studies. Jen trained as a leadership and life coach and serves as a regular guest lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Her honors include being named aWoman of Influence and a top "40 Under 40" leader in Silicon Valley. 

Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund, or SV2, is a vibrant giving network of more than 200 Partners who come together to learn about effective giving and pool their resources and talents to support promising social ventures throughout Silicon Valley and the world. 

SV2 Partners select cutting-edge organizations and initiatives that receive three-year unrestricted capacity building grants (up to $150,000 over three years) focused on rotating issue areas including education, environment, at-risk youth, health and international development. Through a grassroots “venture philanthropy” model, Partners choose Grantees at crucial inflection points in their organizational development, offering “beyond-the-dollars” support to help them build capacity and scale their impact.  

Jen stewards SV2's organization-wide vision, strategy, and culture, leads the team, works closely with the Board of Directors, oversees SV2’s impact framework and measurement, manages SV2’s budget and finances, and engages in external relations and field leadership on behalf of SV2, including speaking, and sector collaboration. Jen also enjoys bringing her program content expertise to SV2's diverse grantmaking and impact investing programs.


In this interview, we discuss:

  1. The Social Venture model, and how SV2 was an early pioneer of Venture Philanthropy. (1:00)
  2. How SV2 is responding to the input of its donor partners to be more responsive to the community, and innovative in its philanthropic goals. (7:25)
  3. The idea of Collective Impact, which demonstrates how network effects leverage the funding of individual philanthropists to achieve something greater than the sum of its parts. (9:30)
  4. Jen's experience at a recent Philanthropy Summit at Peking University in Beijing, and how the lessons about philanthropy in China can be applied our work locally. (21:15)
  5. Why SV2 partners are consistently asking "what does success look like?"
  6. Some important trends taking place in the philanthropic sector, especially respecting the role of women.  (36:45)


"I'm excited about how much talent is going into the social impact space. Some of our best and brightest are committed to making social impact a core part of their careers."  -Jen Ratay


  1. SV2 2014 Impact Report
  2. SV2 2014 - 2017 Strategic Plan
  3. Jen Ratay is a Women of Influence 2014.
  4. Named as Silicon Valley: 40 Under 40
  5. Q&A with Jen as a Program Officer of the Hewlett Foundation.
  6. Reading Recommendation: Stanford Social Innovation Review Articles. 


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