Philanthropic Ventures Foundation            Progress Newsletter  -  September 2014
Igniting and Connecting
by: James Higa, Executive Director  

Dot #1. Good Eggs is a fast-growing San Francisco start-up. Good Eggs delivers all the goodness of the farmers' market, direct to your door. Local farmers and producers pick your items the very next morning and they are delivered. 


Dot #2. Index Ventures is in the top tier of Silicon Valley venture capital firms. Of late, Index is starting to ask the seemingly un-VC-like question of "What does this company do for social good?" which led them to invest in Good Eggs.


Dot #3. Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation has been a non-profit provider of affordable housing in the Tenderloin area of San Francisco since 1981. The TNDC has bought 30 buildings in the Tenderloin and elsewhere in San Francisco over the years so that developers and gentrification cannot encroach on the neighborhood and there will be affordable housing in perpetuity. In addition to the buildings, TNDC provides support like social work and after school programs for kids.


 PVF is an activist connector, inspirer of ideas, and igniter of action. 

Tenderloin neighborhood residents working in TNDC's community garden. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Reiley Photography


Good Eggs is a mission driven company. Founders Rob Spiro and Alon Salant want to grow and sustain local food systems around the world and change the way we eat. Index Ventures is a venture capital firm that is working to encourage their companies to do some social good. TNDC is a grassroots organization that has been doing exemplary work on the frontline for decades.


What if these dots could be connected in the spirit of radical collaboration? What if we could eliminate food deserts by giving communities that don't have a grocery store daily access to fresh and healthy food? When the players above were connected, the answer that emerged was a food access service in one of TNDC's residential hotels. The building serves residents who were homeless or on fixed incomes. Food is a daily struggle; the Tenderloin is a food desert where residents are forced to roam numerous corner stores to find the cheapest prices, or ride buses across town to shop at large grocery stores, and if available at all, fresh food choices are unaffordable.    


We picked a single TNDC building to start with. Residents can order all of the fresh groceries available on Good Eggs and have it delivered to them daily. Orders are at a steep discount thanks to a grant set aside for this program by Index Ventures, which opened a donor advised fund at PVF. All of this happened in three weeks from first meeting to launch. We aspire to roll the program out to the rest of the TNDC buildings and across the nation to other Good Eggs cities. Stay tuned to this space.

From left to right: Rahmin Sarabi of Good Eggs; Liz Orlin, Chief Operating Officer of TNDC; Donald Falk, Executive Director of TNDC; and Cynthia Peterson, Communications Manager of TNDC


Think about this for a moment. A high-tech start up, a VC firm, a non-profit community organization, residents of the Tenderloin, and a community foundation, in a circle of radical collaboration to make a dent in the Inequality Gap. This embodies what is the very best of Silicon Valley's spirit: collaborate and innovate. We are humbled at PVF by the inherent goodness, openness, and willingness across all sectors of our communities to come together. We will always strive in this spirit to always be the ignitor and connector to demonstrate new paths to philanthropy.  

PVF In the News
One of PVF's Bay Area Inspire Award grantees, Holley Murchison, was interviewed on KRON 4 News this past Saturday about her project, "Oratory Glory." Check out how this dynamic young leader is striving to change the way youth communicate!

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
James Higa
Executive Director
Bill Somerville

James Higa brings 28 years of executive experience from Silicon Valley, working with 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 products and services at Apple over 3 decades. He has a long history of public service as a board member of Stanford's Haas Center and in grassroots relief efforts.
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, on creative grantmaking and foundation operations. Bill is the author of Grassroots Philanthropy: Field Notes of a Maverick Grantmaker.

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