Connecting the Dots - Grassroots  Grantmaking  Based on Trust
by James Higa, Executive Director
Steve Jobs famously said that you can only connect the dots looking backwards. S ometimes, the seeds that you plant and the connections that you make only flower  over a long arc of time and dogged dedication to the task.  
Many of you may have heard the recent PBS story about Ear Hustle, the podcast produced entirely in San Quentin prison. Let's see how the dots of PVF's work has connected one on top of another over these many years.  
Bill Somerville, PVF Founder (Left) and Larry Purcell,  Catholic  Worker House Founder (Right)

PVF has worked for over 25 years with Larry Purcell, who founded the Catholic Worker House in Redwood City . Our work with The Catholic Worker House has  always followed  Bill Somerville's grantmaking  ethos of responsiveness  and trust.  Like  dots across a map, o ne can now look across the Peninsula  and  over to West Oakland to see the fruits of this partnership in grassroots support  around  food  insecurity , housing , employ ment  and education.
The first stop is  St. Anthony's Padua Dining Room  in Menlo Park now serving 500 meals a day which  PVF and the Catholic Worker House supported with  a truck to pick up food from the produce markets, and a generator to become an emergency shelter.

Next to the Saint Francis Center in Fair Oaks  where funding helped set up the very first house to distribute food and clothing, and now there is also a school, a  gym, a community garden and 135  units of  low-income  housing. 

Then to  the Multicultural Institute's house for day laborers in Redwood City , which was provided by funding from the Catholic Worker House. 

And next to the four  Catholic Worker Hospitality Houses in San Bruno which serve the chronically homeless.     

Kate Chatfield,  Policy Director of Re:store Justice  (Left)  and Adnan Khan, co-founder of Re:Store Justice (Right)
Photo credit: SF Chronicle 
And finally to the  Re:Store  House in West Oakland,  co- run by the San Bruno Catholic Worker's Kate Chatfield , which we featured in December . Through a large gift by a PVF donor, the Catholic Worker House was able to help purchase the Re:Store house to serve re-entry clients.  

Kate Chatfield, who is now the Policy Director of  Re:Store  Justice, helped to write  California Senate Bill 1437 , a re-sentencing bill that became effective in January 2019 , earning Re:Store  House client  Earlonne  Woods (co-founder of Ear Hustle) a feature on t he PBS Newshour.  As Kate says: "Here's the Re:Store house in all its glory. Oh, and in the video Earlonne is driving the Scion, the used car donation that PVF arranged."    

What's next for popular podcast 'Ear Hustle,' now that co-host has left prison
What's next for popular podcast 'Ear Hustle,' now that co-host has left prison

"This is one of the greatest accomplishments in the history of our work together. All the time we are feeding, clothing, sheltering and educating the poor. This work of Re:Store Justice 
is more complete because not only do we work with individuals who are on the margins (inmates and ex-inmates), but we are simultaneously changing the system that is part of the problem by changing the laws. For me this is exactly what makes sense as a Catholic Worker. For me this is what it is to be a good human being. I am so excited about this work. Thanks for making it possible -- all of you." 
Larry Purcell, Founder of the Catholic Worker House
"But it 's all one," we are reminded by  Kate  Chatfield, whose long years as a Catholic Worker compelled her to study law so that she might work to reform sentencing laws that disproportionately impact  youth of color and women : " Philanthropic Ventures Foundation paid for my law school tuition ! "  
Humanity and Compassion at the McAllen, TX Border
Our Program Associate Aly Quiroz-Perez recently participated in a humanitarian mission in McAllen, Texas, organized by Lilli Rey, the founder of Bay Area Border Relief. Lilli came to Philanthropic Ventures Foundation's attention by way of Sheryl Young, our San Mateo County Program Director, who participated in the first humanitarian mission to McAllen when the immigration crisis began. In November 2018, Aly joined a team of 20+ Bay Area volunteers, made up of mothers, nurses, University of San Francisco students and professors, and filmmakers, taking action to address the crisis that the Trump Administration created in separating children from their parents to discourage others from entering the U.S.
"Each of us in our own way was trying to serve the countless who came to the center with so many traumatic accounts of their harrowing journeys. I spent most of my time at the center providing clothing to each child who came in, trying to connect with them and witnessing their childhood innocence and spirit slowly rekindled after being extinguished by their experiences at the Detention Center."
- Harini Krishnan, Bay Area Border Relief volunteer
They heard stories of people making the difficult journey from Central America to the U.S. to escape poverty and violence, both domestic and gang-related. They saw exhausted and worried parents, young men hoping to get jobs to support the families they left behind, and children. Some were so exhausted that they just fell asleep wherever they could. One little boy took a nap on the floor, using a bag of clothing as a pillow to lay down his head. The rest of his body was on the cold, dirty, and hard floor.
It may be a while until this immigration crisis is completely resolved, but with the help of wonderful people like the Bay Area Border Relief volunteers we can at least mitigate the negative effects of the current administration's policies. 
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, he founded Philanthropic Ventures Foundation. 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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