Philanthropic Ventures Foundation

April 2013  


a newsletter for our donors and colleagues  


Tom Ford Philanthropy Fellowships: 
A Success Story

 by: Bill Somerville, President & CEO, PVF 


Twelve years ago the idea to place graduating Stanford students at a foundation for a year-long fellowship was proposed by Philanthropic Ventures Foundation. Now 34 students have participated in the unique effort to bring more young people into philanthropy: the Tom Ford Fellowship Program. Susan Ford Dorsey and the Sand Hill Foundation has funded the program for all those years.   


The fellowship program is run by the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford and has become well known on campus. Students are given a $30,000 stipend for 11 months in full-time positions. 8% of the students now work full-time in philanthropy, which was the goal of the program.


Near the end of their internships the students report on this experience. It is interesting to note what impresses them about the experience. One fellow with the Boston Foundation came away with appreciating "the urgency of now" and came to see the value of small grants and of working with teachers. Another fellow with a New York City-based foundation explored social justice in such things as sustainable agriculture. The third fellow is with the UN Foundation in New York City and focused on global health programming. She saw what it is like to both seek money and give it out as well as appreciating what is involved in getting collective involvement and cooperation.  


From left to right: Jaclyn Le, Boston Foundation; Isabelle Wijangco, UN Foundation; Jenny Rempel, Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation; and Megan Swezey Fogarty, Director of Fellowships, Stanford's Haas Center.

Philanthropic Ventures Foundation also proposed and helped establish the philanthropy fellowship program, through which five undergraduate students at Stanford are selected and placed each summer at Bay Area foundations. These two fellowship programs are emulated by a number of higher education institutions. 


Philanthropic Ventures Foundation does extensive referrals helping people enter foundation work, helping retired persons find meaningful positions in the human service sector, helping foundations make their own work more meaningful.


We also specialize in helping donors do exciting and significant giving in about any area of concern they might have. To illustrate the diversity of issues, here are a few: getting Hispanic parents involved in their children's educations; broadening opportunities for Filipinos in the Bay Area; sustaining day worker programs; starting a new effort to offer students from UC Berkeley internships in philanthropy; training start-up entrepreneurs in solid business practices; revising the food stamp program in San Mateo County to serve more people; bringing more minorities into philanthropic work; advising a program of home nursing; advising an effort to bring service learning to China; taking donors on field trips to see firsthand programs that receive philanthropic support; presenting to agency staff and boards about fundraising and trying new ideas; visiting grantees to assess impact; lecturing to college students about foundations; meeting with, advising, and supporting programs serving the poor.

We would love to hear from you, our readers, about what more we could and should be doing. And, we are very grateful for the support you give to the above work.

About PVF 


PVF is a demonstration foundation practicing unique forms of grantmaking and conducting innovative philanthropy. Our primary interest is in the creative and significant use of the philanthropic dollar.


About the Editors 
Bill Somerville, President & CEO
Bill Somerville has been in non-profit and philanthropic work for 50 years. He was the director of a community foundation for 17 years, and in 1991 founded Philanthropic Ventures Foundation where he serves as President. Bill has consulted at over 400 community foundations in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., on creative grantmaking and foundation operations. Bill is the author of Grassroots Philanthropy: Field Notes of a Maverick Grantmaker.
James Higa
James Higa, Executive Director
James Higa brings 28 years of executive experience from Silicon Valley to PVF, working alongside Steve Jobs to change the face of technology. He was at the birth of the personal computer revolution as a member of the original Macintosh team and was deeply involved in the creation of many breakthrough products and services at Apple over the last three decades. James has a long history of public service as a board member of Stanford's Haas Center and in grassroots relief efforts during the 2011 Tohoku and 1995 Kobe Earthquakes in Japan.

EPA Social Venture Fellow Helps a Community Transform

"Though a simple concept, the idea of involving youth in community development and empowering them to guide the direction of their evolving community is both innovative and impactful. The work of PVF's EPA Social Venture Fellow is helping to ensure that the urban space being built is a grassroots initiative and truly of the youth, by the youth, and for the youth." Read more on our blog! 
Youth in East Palo Alto meeting to work on building a community arts center.

Connect With Us 

Philanthropic Ventures Foundation, 1222 Preservation Park Way, Oakland CA 94612-1201

Telephone: (510) 645-1890  Fax: (510) 645-1892