Doing What We Do Best
by Bill Somerville, Founder and James Higa, Executive Director 
We are tested most in times of adversity.  
Philanthropic Ventures Foundation has made over 500 grants totaling $3.5 million since the Shelter in Place order began. We have doubled down on our core principles of immediate response and radical invention in this COVID-19 emergency. So how have we approached grant making in these unprecedented times? We are focusing on what we do best.
#1. We nurture our grassroots leaders.
We have always been about the grassroots leaders and their organizations. These are the nonprofits that are truly on the frontlines and PVF support allows them to act quickly and to give direct aid to help the struggling families they serve with essential needs like rent, food, and utilities.
Street Level Health Project in East Oakland is working with day laborers furnishing food, counseling, health services and now with direct cash and gift cards. 
Larry Purcell at the Catholic Worker House in Redwood City has been on the front lines for decades giving directly to people in need - for rent, food, whatever to the homeless, house cleaners, day laborers. 
The PVF initiated Rescue Housing Fund for Community Legal Services East Palo Alto , enables housing attorneys to help clients at risk of eviction. They are seeing record need at this time as their clients have lost jobs and face mounting debt.
#2. We are the go-to partner for new inventive ideas to sprout quickly.
Often in times of crisis, we are forced to question what we took for granted. Often this is when new leaders step forward with bold ideas. PVF's nonprofit-as-a-service model allows these new ideas to become reality with no friction or delay. Some of the new initiatives we have helped become a reality in just the last few weeks are ...
ALAS in Half Moon Bay incubated a community mask-making sewing cooperative with recently laid-off nursery workers. Masks are given to Coastside farmworkers, laborers, house cleaners and other essential workers who desperately need protection.
All Bay Area PPE , was founded by a collection of volunteer fabricators, artists, and costume makers, who rapidly turned their maker and fabrication labs into PPE production sites. With donated raw materials they have produced 20,000 face shields and 9,000 masks and scrub caps for Bay Area hospitals, EMT's and other frontline workers at a time when hospitals cannot rely on normal avenues for purchasing PPE. 
When Mauricio Miller, who has long been one of our nation's foremost thought leaders to end family poverty, had a transformative idea to create an evergreen micro-equity/loan platform to save and create small to medium businesses owned by our mom & pop entrepreneurs , PVF was there to be his first funder.  His is launching in Oakland and is garnering support and plans to expand to other hotspots of need.
If donors want to do some meaningful giving during this emergency, we stand ready to help. Share your ideas of what you want to do and let us customize your giving for you. Now is the time when you are needed. 
You can also help PVF help the folks who help by donating to PVF.  Your support will allow us to move quickly to support needs in our hallmark non-bureaucratic immediate response fashion.
A Breath of Life
COVID-19 has raged through our country leaving everyone scrambling for protective face masks. However, there has been a shortage of face masks, especially for farmworkers and grocery store clerks, and the people who are doing deep cleaning - our essential workers.
Belinda Arriaga, Director of  ALAS, quickly formed a team to start a special campaign, Un Respiro de Vida (A Breath of Life) to make face masks with a start-up grant from PVF. Within 3 days, 10 women who had lost their jobs due to COVID-19 business closures, started working around the clock to make masks on donated sewing machines.
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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