Silicon Valley Talent Partnership expands to connect local talent with local government with $1 million from Knight Foundation

New Executive Director Lea King to help propel public-private collaborations

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Aug. 7, 2014 – Silicon Valley Talent Partnership, a collaboration between the public sector, private companies and local government designed to address challenges and build community, will expand its program with $1 million from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. As part of the expansion, local business leader Lea King has been recruited to lead operations and build the program’s presence in the community.

“Many local governments are faced with the pressure of declining resources and increased demands for effective and responsive services for citizens. The vision of the Silicon Valley Talent Partnership is to leverage Silicon Valley’s talent to assist public-sector agencies and enhance their capacity to innovate,” said San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed. “We’re extremely excited to have Lea on board to help deliver on this vision.”

“Silicon Valley Talent Partnership presents a unique challenge and opportunity for private-sector employees to bring skills beyond traditional volunteering to civic projects,” said King. “I’m thrilled to be part of an organization that connects our region in new, meaningful and innovative civic partnerships.”

“Silicon Valley is home to some of the best talent in the world,” said Carol Coletta, Knight Foundation vice president for community and national initiatives. “Encouraging local government to take advantage of this talent pool will help spark civic innovation, make government more responsive and ensure deeper ties between residents and the cities where they live.”

The Silicon Valley Talent Partnership builds volunteer teams of private-sector talent to work with the government on complex projects with wide impact. The teams help agencies address gaps in capacity, time and expertise. Thus far, the organization has engaged more than 80 volunteers from companies across the region for a total of 2,400 volunteer hours. Projects have included a design lab at the Stanford d.school, a marketing and communications plan with the city of Santa Clara and development of a San Jose summer reading app by eBay engineers with the San Jose Public Library System.

"Thanks to [Silicon Valley Talent Partnership], this public-private collaboration with eBay has helped the library further build community among those we serve while leveraging new digital innovations to engage people,” said Jill Bourne, director of the San Jose Public Library. "Since our summer reading app launched on June 1, we had an impressive daily average of 1,224 people sign up for the challenge within the first week—with total signups on track to surpass previous years."

Knight funding will help expand programs such as there and support a range of co-created government projects between private volunteers and public officials. Local agencies in San Jose and Santa Clara County will identify potential projects and the Silicon Valley Talent Partnership will manage these requests. The chosen projects will focus on improving public services through technology and innovation. Additionally, an outreach plan will be created to encourage more people to take part. As executive director, King will drive these efforts.

King is a San Jose resident and 30-year veteran of the private sector, with previous positions at Cisco, AT&T and GE. She most recently served as the executive director of Race2Educate, a nonprofit focusing on providing educational opportunities for at-risk children. Prior to that, she served as the senior director of marketing for Cisco’s Worldwide Service Provider business in Bangalore, India, and led Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group in Beijing.

King joins an established group of board members and advisers, including nonprofit and business leaders from Adobe, Cisco, eBay, IBM, Knight Foundation, McKinsey & Company, PwC, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and Stryker; and government leaders from the cities of Fremont, San Jose and Santa Clara county. Silicon Valley Talent Partnership board members include San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino, Morgan Lewis Partner Dan Grunfeld, Cisco Senior Director Mrinalini Ingram, and McKinsey & Company Associate Principal Alex Maasry.

“We believe the whole community stands to benefit from the enhanced government operations and services developed through this partnership,” said Carl Guardino, Silicon Valley Talent Partnership board member and Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO. “With Lea at the helm we will be well positioned to successfully implement projects that make significant impact across Silicon Valley.”

The Silicon Valley Talent Partnership was co-founded by the city of San Jose and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group in 2012. The project was initiated by the city of San Jose Mayor’s Office and became an independent nonprofit organization in 2013.

The expansion of the Silicon Valley Talent Partnership forms one part of Knight Foundation’s efforts to build opportunities in San Jose, while fostering talent retention and attraction. In addition to several other investments in the city Knight recently announced support to three community organizations to create a more vibrant downtown San Jose.

About the Silicon Valley Talent Partnership

Silicon Valley Talent Partnership (SVTP) creates, sources and manages innovative and meaningful pro-bono partnerships between highly skilled private-sector volunteers and public-sector workers, capitalizing on the unique opportunity to restore local government and public agencies’ capacity to innovate, enhance service delivery and ultimately improve the quality of life of residents and communities across Silicon Valley. Learn more at www.svtpca.org.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.

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CONTACTS:

Lea King, Executive Director, Silicon Valley Talent Partnership, lea@svtpca.org

Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677, media@knightfoundation.org

Martha Feingold, Edelman, 650-762-2973, martha.feingold@edelman.com

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.