Innovative Ways to Help
By Bill Somerville, Founder
PVF was one of the first foundations in the Bay Area to provide grants to Community Legal Services EPA for rental assistance for people facing eviction, and now during COVID, grants to the Catholic Worker Houses, Saint Francis Center and ALAS for cash assistance to clients. As the cost of living continues to increase, so has the number of individuals who are involuntarily homeless. Ending homelessness is a long-term challenge, but there are many ways to start.

With the involvement of Larry Purcell, founder of the Catholic Worker House, we proposed having dumpsters located at larger homeless encampments. This idea evolved into a 2-year partnership with Redwood City and the Downtown Streets Team to provide free waste management services to anyone experiencing homelessness. PVF provided an initial donation of $10,000 through the Catholic Worker House to launch the Encampment Waste Services program pilot in December 2020.
The city also coordinates with Street Life Ministries to provide hot meals and clothing, and a safe RV parking program was established last Fall, which prevented RV residents from being towed overnight by issuing city permits, as well as created an off-site parking facility. This facility includes portable toilets, garbage disposal, and a security attendant. "Families with children, seniors, individuals with disabilities and veterans will be prioritized to reside there", the city said.

The hope is that the city will continue this effort and work humanely, connecting social workers and specially trained police officers to unsheltered individuals in need of services. Homeless Outreach Teams, such as those provided by LifeMoves and San Mateo County, can offer assistance receiving healthcare, mental health services, and transitional housing. Last year, PVF provided a grant to LifeMoves to support mental health services for their unsheltered clients.

Another service available is Dignity on Wheels, a long-standing initiative from Project WeHOPE that provides showers and laundry services in mobile units. Dignity on Wheels regularly provides service at nine sites between San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. PVF was one of the first funders of this initiative in 2015 and has been a long-standing supporter. 
In the past the city would come in and clear out the entire encampment and people would be left bereft. Now the various outreach efforts are coming together and there is hope; Hope that these efforts will lead to making life more livable, allow individuals some stability, and eventually move into housing. 
Teaching Creativity and Environmental Justice
to Change the World
What if the creative powers of our children’s imaginations are the key to climate resilience for our environments, our cities, and our world? That's the question Joelle Fraser, Co-Founder of IDEAL Bay Area, a designated fund at PVF, asks us in her guest blog post. Read it now on our website.
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.
Philanthropic Ventures Foundation | 1222 Preservation Park Way, Oakland, CA 94612 | (510) 645-1890