Philanthropic Ventures Foundation

June 2013  


a newsletter for our donors and colleagues  


Creative Learning through PVF's Visiting Artist in the Classroom Grants  


This past school year, a group of six and seven year olds took up pens and joined the ranks of poets everywhere who have been inspired by the weather. These students at North Oakland Community Charter School (NOCCS) studied weather around the world and crafted poetry inspired by their newfound knowledge.


Local poet and artist-in-residence, Janet Heller, taught them about the elements of poetry as they simultaneously learned about the natural elements. The poets then worked together to compile a collection of poems and illustrations, all weather-themed, which were published as a book called "Cloud Catcher: Weather Poems by NOCCS K-1." The students were involved in every step of the creative process, even down to binding the books themselves. How was this class able to bring in a professional artist for such imaginative work? In part through PVF's  Visiting Artist in the Classroom Grant Program.  


The Visiting Artist grant they received allowed for 3 different artists to dedicate 57 hours in the classroom. 52 students from two classrooms worked on poetry writing, drawing, bookmaking. As a thank you, PVF was invited to the culmination event of this project, in which a local TV weatherman reported live from their classroom and allowed two students to read their poetry on the air. You can catch a clip here.

NOCCS students gearing up to read their poems on camera with the local weatherman. 


By receiving a Visiting Artist in the Classroom grant, the teacher and artist were able to combine art and science to enhance the learning of the students. The students expressed what they were learning in a creative way with the help of artists that were able to offer different perspectives. This type of innovative learning is exactly what our teacher resource programs strive to achieve.  


With limited budgets and resources, public schools can often be stifled when it comes to creative projects. Yet with some extra funding for resources, teachers have the opportunity to maximize their full potential in the classroom. This is why we make a variety of teacher resource grants available to public school teachers. This classroom is just one of many that have received a Visiting Artist in the Classroom grant to bring in a professional artist to inspire and help create.

With funds from the Visiting Artist Program, local artist Daniel Camacho was able to work with students at Melrose Leadership Academy to make paper mache suns and moons.
Our Visiting Artist grants provide up to $500 to K-12 public school teachers in Alameda and San Mateo Counties to bring an artist into the classroom. These grants have funded a range of projects; artists have collaborated with students to create schoolyard murals, helped make kites using math concepts, and introduced students to traditional musical instruments of the world.


For 14 years PVF has supported teachers in the Bay Area with grants for science equipment, art supplies, special education resources, after school programs, artists in the classroom, math supplies, excursions, and doctors in the classroom. PVF has raised the money to run these programs over the years. Individual and foundation donors have generously come forth to support particular programs. PVF can create customized teacher grant programs for donors by focusing on a particular geographic area, a particular school district, a subject area of choice, or by coming up with a new idea to fund. You can contribute by credit card to PVF's Teacher Resource Grants by clicking the button below. Select "Teacher Resource Grants Program" under Support PVF's Immediate Response Programs.

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.

Connect With Us 

After School Grants: Supporting a Diverse Range of Engaging Outlets for Youth
Having recently wrapped up its 5th year, PVF's After School Grants Program was as successful as ever during the 2012-2013 school year. Within a four month period in fall, we awarded 41 grants totaling $92,000. These grants, which aim to expose students to recreation activities and the arts, were available to 6-12th grade public school teachers in the Oakland, Redwood City and East Palo Alto school districts, and the low-income and underperforming San Jose school districts of Alum Rock, Franklin-McKinley and East Side more here!   

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

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