The Start of Many Good Things
by Bill Somerville, Founder

We don't claim the success, but Philanthropic Ventures Foundation is proud to have been a first funder of Pogo Park, a community engagement organization working to transform parks in inner-city Richmond into safe and vibrant public spaces for children to play, thus improving the health of at-risk children living in the neighborhood.
Richmond's Iron Triangle is an area known for its deep poverty, gun violence, high unemployment, and environmental issues. Pogo Park has renovated two city parks in that neighborhood. One is the Elm Playlot, a half-acre park that was described as "dirty, dull and dangerous," in the middle of the Iron Triangle. Pogo Park recruited local residents to plan, design, and rebuild the park, and now, it is a thriving hub of activity, complete with a park office, snack bar, zip line, water fountain, and community picnic area.
The other is Harbour-8, an abandoned railroad right of way which, for six city blocks, has also been transformed into a park for children and adults.

Pogo Park empowers community members through partnerships with local woodworking and metal sculpting businesses, recruiting and training local people to build and sell their own play structures to fund community projects.
All of these efforts are trying to transform Richmond's Iron Triangle from a rundown, troubled area to a place of destination for parents, children, and visitors.
At PVF, we like to "find 'em and fund 'em" because we believe that early funding is valuable, even if it is risky. PVF contributed seed funding in 2007 when Pogo Park's founder, Toody Maher, shared her vision for community transformation through park and play area development and community engagement projects, involving local neighborhood residents.
Pogo Park has had such a positive impact on the community that there is a new four-story senior housing building in the neighborhood, near one of the parks. Chevron feels so positively about this work that it gave $1 million to the effort.

Philanthropic Ventures Foundation is pleased to be a small part of this new beginning.
Where's Sheryl? Celebrating Bill and
the Ripple Effects of First Funding in Pescadero
By Sheryl Young, San Mateo County Program Director

"Please thank Bill! He funded us $2,500 for the first summer club for children in Pescadero - the start of so many good things!"
Logan Payne was a new teacher 40 years ago, who wanted to help her community. That initial investment of $2,500 brought together a group of enthusiastic young women who taught language arts, math and science to 30 farmworker children.

Over the past 40 years, these women and others have continued to operate a thrift shop and organize bake sales to receive donations from neighbors, continuing to create opportunities for hundreds of children to learn and explore the world.

Bill always says, "Find 'em and fund 'em - find the right people with good ideas, and invest in them."

The ripple effect of this through the years in Pescadero has been the creation of the South Coast Children's Services, Puente, church sponsored programs, and engagement from the schools and community volunteers.
photo from Puente
About the Editors
James Higa
James Higa, Executive Director, 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, Founder, has been in non-profit and philanthropic work for over 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.
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