March 2017
Progress Newsletter
A Powerful Network  of
Connections and Collaboration
By: James Higa, Executive Director
Since August 2016, PVF has been supporting SheEO by being their designated fund partner in the U.S.

Under SheEO's model to support female entrepreneurs, up to 1,000 women (called "activators") each contribute $1,100, which is pooled into a fund and loaned out, interest-free, to local, women-led ventures with a social good mission. Funds are paid back over five years and then reinvested over and over again. It's an inspired way to change how capital is formed and how companies can be launched. You could say SheEO is "hacking" venture capital.

Image from SheEO's Fact Sheet

SheEO launched its program in three U.S. cities last year: Los Angeles, Colorado, and San Francisco, and just selected the top five U.S. ventures to be awarded with funds.

PVF is proud to see that one of these ventures, The Town Kitchen (Co-founder and CEO: Sabrina Mutukisna), is a company we know well in our backyard. PVF was one of the first to 'find them and fund them' with a grant in early 2016. A food delivery service operated almost entirely by low-income Oakland youth, The Town Kitchen crafts locally-sourced lunches made from a community of growers, food makers, chefs, and youth, and delivers these meals to Bay Area companies, universities, and individuals. Their vision is to connect the under-served youth of Oakland to chefs and entrepreneurs so that the youth themselves can have the skills and networks needed to succeed. And they make a mean chicken caesar wrap.

"It is delightful and perhaps not so surprising to see our partners and grantees organically growing into a more powerful network of connections and collaboration."

The rest of the compelling top SheEO ventures this year are:
  • ABL Denim (Founder, CEO, and designer: Stephanie Alves), designing clothing solutions for people with disabilities, making clothes more comfortable and easier to put on and take off, for example
  • Callisto (Founder and CEO: Jess Ladd), an online reporting system for sexual assault that provides a safe space and better reporting experience for survivors of sexual assault and better information for authorities
  • Embrace Innovations/Little Lotus (Founder and CEO: Jane Chen), offering technologically innovative baby products, helping babies stay at the right temperature and sleep better

  • Kitables (Founder and CEO: Arieann DeFazio), producing kits for DIY maker projects, helping people to be tinkerers and do-ers
It is delightful and perhaps not so surprising to see our partners and grantees organically growing into a more powerful network of connections and collaboration.

Top five U.S. SheEO venture CEOs on stage (photo from
Where's James?
Celebrating #GIRLBOSS Foundation Winners
The inaugural  Girlboss Rally  took place on March 4, 2017 in Los Angeles, and PVF Executive Director James Higa attended this one-day event to hear more from three of the  #GIRLBOSS Foundation  grantees at one of the panels. PVF proudly hosts a  designated fund  for the #GIRLBOSS Foundation, and these award-winners-creative women pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors in design, fashion, music, and the arts-were each granted $15,000 in project funding.   Read more on our blog!

#GIRLBOSS Foundation grant recipients Roseli Ilano, Deena Drewis,
and Mara Lecoq in conversation with Sophia Amoruso

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 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.