A High Return on Investment for PVF Donors
by: Bill Somerville, President & CEO
Philanthropic Ventures Foundation is here for donors who are serious about their philanthropic giving, who want to support things off the beaten path, who are deeply concerned about social issues, and who want to feel good about what they are doing.
The funding programs of Philanthropic Ventures Foundation are unique. Many years ago we started giving grants directly to teachers. These are "fax grants," in which the teacher submits a one page request and we respond in 48 hours. We have funded thousands of classrooms, supporting science, math, and art curriculum as well as excursions and after school programs. We created these teacher grant programs to meet the giving focus of private foundations we worked with, such as putting more science and arts resources into low-income classrooms. We provide these foundations a new dimension for their giving, allowing them to do something they wouldn't be able to do.
Then we have Donor Venture Funds, where donors can hold money with PVF and also use us to help make their giving exciting and impactful. These funds are a depository with a high return on investment in terms of satisfaction. This is customized giving at its best, something which is not offered by commercial donor advised funds. For these donors, we offer field trips to see outstanding human service programs firsthand and to meet committed people running these programs.
Donors can tell us a social issue they are concerned about and we will present funding scenarios for discussion and then actuate the ideas. For example, when a donor was interested in bringing more young people into philanthropy, PVF started two fellowship programs for Stanford University students. So far 100 university students have participated and 8 former fellows are now full time in foundation work. Recently we have started four more fellowship at UC Berkeley modeled on our Stanford University philanthropy fellowships.
Participants of the New Roots Program in Pinole, a project supported by PVF Ambassador, Kathy Ahoy.
Another form of fellowship is our Ambassador Program: when we come across someone doing solo outstanding human service work in the community we set aside $10,000 for them to give out to other programs doing outstanding work. It is a lovely, modest way to recognize people, give them a vote of confidence, and to learn about effective grassroots programs. Currently we are proud to partner with Ambassador Kathy Ahoy, a long-time public health nurse with Alameda County serving low-income immigrant populations. Kathy Ahoy has deep roots in the community, and brings to our attention small but high-impact efforts such as the New Roots Program, an urban farm training program serving economically vulnerable refugees and asylees.
PVF actively seeks out those doing valuable community work. We are proud to work with donors who want to offer support that is off the beaten path. Give us a try.