A New Model for Corporate Giving
by: James Higa, Executive Director


There's been much talk of late about whether Silicon Vally companies are tone deaf and lack empathy for those who are on the other side of the Inequality Gap; the privileged 'haves' who live in a bubble and don't interact with the the 'have not's.'


In the spirit of radical collaboration, PVF has been blazing new trails with Silicon Valley companies to embed the DNA of giving back to our communities early on in a company's life and before their IPO.    


Let me tell you about two vivid examples.  NastyGal, is one of the fastest growing fashion retailers in the country.  If you have teenage daughters, you're probably already familiar with this brand.  As if building an iconic company from scratch wasn't enough, Sophia Amoruso, the founder,  also authored a bestselling book, #GIRLBOSS, which sat atop the New York Tims best seller list for 16 weeks.  Because of her rags to riches story, Sophia imagined taking the proceeds from the book to empower the next generation of women in the worlds of design, fashion, music, and the arts to help them become their own GIRLBOSS.     


PVF worked with NastyGal from the ground up to conceive of and house the GIRLBOSS Foundation within PVF where we administer the day to day operations of the foundation. This frees NastyGal from this overhead and allows them to focus solely on the important work of grantmaking. The GIRLBOSS Foundation awards three to five biannual grants ranging from $500-$15,000. 

One of the recent grant recipients is Roseli, an Oakland native.  Her passion for textiles and commitment to social justice led her to start ILANO Design.  Four generations of women are payed seven times their national minimum wage for their artistry to create heritage textiles that are naturally dyed and organic.  Rosalie is self-taught and self-trained, and the #GIRLBOSS Foundation is helping to make this possible.   


Roseli Ilano, Founder of ILANO Design, a company that works with women artisans around the world to create textiles.
Roseli Ilano, founder of ILANO Design, a company that works with women textile artisans around the world.

Brit Morin is the Martha Stewart of the millennial generation.  You may know her from her frequent appearances on the Today Show.  Her company, Brit + Cois an online media and e-commerce platform that provides tools to teach, inspire, and unleash creativity among women and girls. It's a leading destination for the DIY generation, currently reaching over 10 million creatively-minded people each month!
Brit believes there is a maker in all of us.  In order to unlock our inner creativity, she announced the launch of  the #IAMCREATIVE Foundation, to enable women and girls to be a new generation of Do It Yourself (DYI) craft, art, digital, tech, and STEM makers.  She did this with a bang, announcing the Foundation at the White House, in partnership with the national Week of Making initiative!  Brit + Co will offer grants between $2,500 and $15,000 to help kick-start creative projects. With four application cycles a year, they will offer between 15 and 20 grants annually.  PVF worked hand in hand with the Brit +Co team to be the collaborative hosting and thought partner of the #IAMCREATIVE Foundation. 
This next generation of founders and employees of Silicon Valley companies harbor a deep desire to have a social impact in their communities.  They are not too busy with their heads down on the next product release to care or feel they are too small to make a difference.  They are actively and creatively taking action now and PVF is there along side, pioneering new paths to corporate social responsibility.  From our grassroots immediate response giving to this new emerging model as the bridge between the dynamic start ups of the Valley and our vibrant communities, PVF will redouble our passion to push the bounds of philanthropy into new and exciting directions.  


Brit Morin is the founder of Brit + Co, an online creativity platform for women. 


Parent Involvement Workers: Going Above and Beyond for Students and Parents

The following guest blog post is written by Amika Guillaume, Principal at  Cesar Chavez & Green Oaks Academy in East Palo Alto. Amika writes about the  Parent Involvement Worker Program, which places three Spanish-speaking mothers at two schools in East Palo Alto to act as a liaison between parents and educators. PVF has operated this community initiative for 13 years.


There are those who do a "good job"; then there are those who do much more than just "their job."  Cesar Chavez Academy is a Title 1 School in Program Improvement.  We have over 95% students who qualify for free and reduced lunch, over 85% second language learners and by the latest definition of the 2010 Census, we have as many as 50% homeless students.


In a school such as ours you must have colleagues who do a great job of stepping back, looking at the various needs of the entire school community and identifying key ways to make the greatest impact.  Nancy Alvarez and Imelda Jovel - the parent involvement workers at Cesar Chavez Academy - are not just great, but awesome.  Their impact on our community is immeasurable.  Not only have they made lasting and effective relationships with all faculty and staff, they have also gone above and beyond to engage parents in giving back to our school.  It is through their powerful relationships that they are able to do so much more, efficiently and thoughtfully...read more on our blog!



PVF Founder, Bill Somerville, with Cesar Chavez Academy Principal, Amika Guillaume
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 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.