Sean and Jodie Sovak

Strategic Philanthropy | Jul, 2018

As a cofounder of Lighthouse, a leading mid-market private equity fund, Sean Sovak has a deep understanding of what it takes to empower entrepreneurs to “dream, dare, scale and care”. This insight has been the gateway to his “capital plus expertise” engagement with Muktangan, an NGO that provides education for low-income schoolchildren using a sustainable, community-led model. Whilst Sean began his philanthropic journey with a focus on the arts, his move to India more than a decade ago shaped his and his wife, Jodie’s approach to giving. Sean and Jodie were deeply affected by the scale and severity of disparity and recognized the urgency for action. Introduced by a colleague to Dasra, their participation in giving circles with peer philanthropists helped them learn about areas of need and innovative, high-impact solutions to address these problems. Over time, a process of self-reflection led the Sovaks to narrow their philanthropic focus to education, with a specific interest in empowering girls and women.
At Muktangan, the Sovaks began by making multiyear financial contributions and regularly meeting with founders Elizabeth and Sunil Mehta to better understand the organization and its challenges. Over time, they realized that, similar to the business world, the nonprofit sector is made up of many passionate and intelligent founders who are struggling to institutionalize culture, processes and leadership transitions within their organizations. Today, whilst Sean engages with Muktangan on multiple levels, he hopes that his most meaningful contribution will be his support for a successful, lasting leadership transition for the organization. Citing philanthropy as one of the most rewarding experiences of his life, Sean finds fulfilment in seeing the effectiveness of investing capital coupled with time. He hopes to share what he has learned from his journey with Muktangan with other philanthropists and nonprofit organizations.

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