October 2015
Progress Newsletter
Cultivating Change with Seed Funding
by: James Higa, Executive Director

There's been a flurry of good tidings for Bay Area non-profits of late.  Centro Community Partners  received news of a $100,000 grant from Google.org as one of the 15 finalists in the 2015 Google Impact Challenge.  The Reset Foundation and The Big Lift are Top 10 finalists for the Impact Challenge and stand to receive even larger grants.  Kiah Williams, the co-founder of SIRUM, was honored as the winner of the Forbes $1Million Change the World Competition.
PVF Executive Director, James Higa (back standing), with the SIRUM team. Photo credit: Craig Sherod
What do these organizations have in common?  

All four received early seed grants from PVF.  Find'em and Fund'em is at the heart of PVF's DNA.  We want to be the first to find you, and the first to fund you.

Centro Community Partners helps low-income and minority entrepreneurs succeed at launching small business ventures.  Centro dreamed of building a mobile app to reach many scores of potential business entrepreneurs 24x7.  PVF saw the opportunity when it was still just a glimmer, made one of our immediate response grants within 48 hours, and set them on this path to greater impact.

The Reset Foundation had its start in New York, and is expanding to California with a bold new reimagining of the justice system for youths.  Reset wants to open its first residential campus, focused on technology-supported learning, career training and social-emotional wellness, to break the cycle of families caught in a poverty to prison cycle of low-performing schools, joblessness, and prison.  We believe in discovering great leaders.  Reset's COO, Jen Anderson, has been pursuing prison reform since learning the word "recidivism" at age 12.  Her passion and conviction compelled us to make an immediate grant.  
A Big Lift meeting with participating nonprofits.
As one of the early members of The Big Lift, PVF has seen this effort gain uncommon momentum.  In San Mateo County, only 35% of Latino, African-American and Pacific Islander children can read proficiently by third grade, a critical milestone for academic success. The Big Lift is uniting over 200 organizations to ensure every San Mateo County child learns to read.  We're not only honored to be an early funder and supporter but heartened to see Goolge.org's recognition of the radical collaboration at work here.

SIRUM is the 'match.com for unused drugs'.  They allow health facilities, manufacturers, wholesalers, and pharmacies to donate rather than trash unused medicine, which is then distributed to over 50 million Americans.  PVF's relationship to SIRUM harkens all the way back to when we funded co-founder Kiah Williams as a student, for a Tom Ford Fellow in Philanthropy at the Haas Center for Public Service.  We were the first to find her and fund her.

Nothing bring us more joy and gratitude than to see the success of our early grantees.  We live to hear the words from a leader of a transformative organization say 'PVF was the there in the beginning.  We wouldn't be here today had it not been for them.'  We aspire to be the first funder.  The first to find you and the first to fund you.  

Bay Area Inspire Awards

Grants of up to $10,000,
available to 18-30 year olds.
4 days left to apply. 

Got an idea?
Adventures and Academics for Homeless Youth 

For homeless children and youth during the summer, the daily struggle of securing essential needs - like shelter - means that less essential activities - like summer camp - are often completely out of the realm of possibility. Yet fun activities during the school year and summertime are important for helping to normalize life for children and youth experiencing the trauma of homelessness and poverty.

InnVision Shelter Network is working to address this through their Summer Adventure Camp, which provides academic programming and enrichment activities for homeless and low-income children and youth in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, including Belle Haven to East Palo Alto...read more on our blog! 

About the Editors

James Higa
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.

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.