Philanthropic Ventures Foundation

September 2013  


a newsletter for our donors and colleagues  


Become a Change Maker:  

Join Us to Make an Impact Now 

by: Bill Somerville, President & CEO   


Giving can be exciting and have significant impact. Below are some opportunities for giving that any donor, new or experienced, can join us in supporting.


Support Local Schools and Foster Youth   

Philanthropic Ventures Foundation is known for creating and funding unique programs. We invite new donors to participate in supporting these programs which have proven effective and have served thousands of children. They represent public sector funding at its best and the professionals involved - teachers and social workers - are very grateful.


Foster Youth - Small grants of $250 to social workers and Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) serving abused children, covering everything from a summer camp to a bicycle to medical bills to clothing for school. This money is not available from other sources and it strengthens the ability of the social workers to serve youth. We get a one page request and give funds in 48 hours.


Cost: $5,000 will send 10 foster youth to summer camp


Classrooms - Teachers throughout the Bay Area can receive mini-grants covering art supplies, visiting artists, science equipment, excursions, after school programs. Again, teachers send a one page request and we send funding in 48 hours.


Cost: $5,000 = 10 Science Projects; $5,000 = 5 Field Trips
Field trips allow inner-city youth the chance to meet nature face-to-face.

Help Spread the Safety Net 
PVF works with our nonprofit partners to identify safety net needs beyond what they are able to provide. Donors who wish to help improve the lives of the poor can join us in these efforts. Here are a few examples:

Transportation - Bicycles for transportation on the coast side for migrant workers. Bicycles are a necessity as they are the primary source of transportation.  


Cost: $15,000 for 200 bicycles


Food - Sandwiches on Sunday (S0S), conducted by poverty programs. Churches distribute food but not on Sundays and support services are closed on Sundays, making SOS the only source of food.    


Cost: $25,000 to five SOS programs over a year, serving hundreds  


Employment - Tool scholarships wherein a graduate of a training program is given partial funding to purchase the necessary tools to get a job.       


Cost: $10,000 supporting tools and equipment for 20 new workers  

Safety Net funding supports critical needs like feeding the hungry.  

Supporting one of these opportunities is easy - simply call or email us and your dollars will be put into action immediately. When donors participate in supporting a program, we make sure they receive reports showing how their money was used, where it went, and the impact it had. We believe in full disclosure and transparency in our giving.


We know how difficult it can be to make sure your giving has an impact. Giving through PVF ensures your dollars count; we have a long track record of successful grassroots giving and our staff is skilled in getting funding to where it is needed the most.

About PVF 


PVF is a demonstration foundation practicing unique forms of grantmaking and 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.
Where's Bill? Meeting with a Young Mover and Shaker in East Palo Alto
When meeting Laura Martinez, a 28 year old councilmember of East Palo Alto, one can't help but be impressed.

At age 22, she was elected Mayor of East Palo Alto - no doubt an exceptional woman. She grew up in East Palo Alto and left for a short period of time to attend Whittier College. Upon graduating, she returned with a college degree under her belt and a passion to invest in her community. She is now the Afterschool Recreation Director at East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy, an Aspire public school serving 300 students in grades 7-12.

Laura is a soft spoken, idealistic woman who has ideas for tackling crime by working with teens. Out of school teens are at the heart of the city's crime. She told me that crime gets worse in EPA and other cities during the last quarter of the year, so she is thinking intently on solutions to these issues as we enter this time of the year.

With outstanding and youthful talent like Laura, things are looking up in East Palo Alto.

Connect With Us 

Donate Now


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

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