Looking Back on an Inspiring Decade
Since 1991, PVF has been demonstrating the power of funding people rather than paper. Bill Somerville started PVF to do paperless, grassroots giving with a fast turnaround, a radical approach to philanthropy that is working.
As 2019 comes to an end, we are looking back on some of PVF's most exciting moments throughout the past decade. To our past, present and potential donors, we thank you for your being so supportive of our mission for grassroots philanthropy born out of creative thinking.

PVF and Stanford University celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Tom Ford and Sand Hill Fellowship Programs. These fellowship programs were initiated by PVF and are now an established offering of the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford University, placing over 100 university students at philanthropic foundations around the United States. 
PVF  set a record for its annual giving in 2011 , with over $8 million in grants. We have since given over $155 Million in total. How do we do this as a foundation with very limited assets and a staff of 8? By eliminating paperwork, simplifying the grant process, and optimizing for speed, action, and effectiveness.
PVF's leadership expanded to include James Higa as Executive Director, who brings 28 years of executive-level experience from Apple. 

Also during this year, Facebook launched the Facebook Local Community Fund in partnership with PVF. The initiative supports local non-profits serving East Palo Alto and the Belle Haven community of Menlo Park.
PVF teamed up with Code for America and the County of San Mateo's Human Services Agency to address the low food stamp enrollment rates in San Mateo County. Inspired by U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier (and PVF Board Member) while she was trying to live on $4.50 a day as part of her Food Stamp Challenge, the Food Stamp Initiative was created to determine ways in which eligible individuals have better access to the services offered by California's food stamp system, known as CalFresh.
In 2014, a donor came to us with a problem and a solution. The problem - young, socially-minded people in our communities often have imaginative, innovative ideas for creating change, but don't have the resources to turn those ideas into a reality. The solution? An awards program that backs the best ideas we can find and gives them a chance to come to fruition. The Bay Area Inspire Awards was born and we have given awards to 26 individuals spearheading a diverse range of projects in Alameda, San Francisco and San Mateo Counties. One Awardee was also recently named a Forbes 30 Under 30 for her BAIA project!
SheEO launched as a new initiative to support, finance and celebrate female innovators. Their model of radical generosity brings together 500+ Activators (donors) to raise $500,000 in zero-interest loans to women-led ventures. In the past 4 years, it has brought together over 4,000 Activators to provide 53 loans in 5 countries, and continues to expand their impact.
PVF celebrated 25 years of creative and successful grantmaking. Our Founder, Bill Somerville, gave a Tedx Talk at TEDxBYU about simple but significant giving. Throughout his talk, Bill touches on our immediate response grant programs and fast funding for grassroots organizations that have a big impact on the community.

Early environmental education is an important aspect for creating environmentally conscious adults, but it is often neglected in underfunded public schools. In 2017 PVF introduced a new teacher grant program: the Environmental Science Resource Grant, made possible with funding from the Lampert Byrd Foundation. Through this program, over 200 grants of up to $500 have been awarded to teachers to enhance classroom environmental science curriculum. 
"As a teacher in an underserved school district, my students are faced with several challenges inside and outside of the four walls of my classroom. In fact, their zip code often limits their ability to achieve their goals, as they have not all had 
access to an equitable education. Despite the many challenges they face, I am looking  to provide my students with the science education they deserve.... 
My students need an authentic, hands-on learning experience to  supplement 
their unit on climate change and its impacts."  
- Ashlyn Brulato, Teacher at Roosevelt Middle School
Sheryl Young, PVF's San Mateo County Program Director, joined the McAllen12+  as they traveled to McAllen, Texas to deliver over 1,000 pounds of toys, clothes and books for the children detained at the border. Now renamed Bay Area Border Relief, the humanitarian group continues to advocate for and serve the families waiting for asylum.
The end of 2018 saw the rise of the #MeToo movement and PVF actively made many grants this year to new organizations in this space. In May, James attended a 'get things done' anti-harassment policy design workshop for the venture capital community hosted by The Purple Campaign, a designated fund at PVF. The Purple Campaign, along with other early organizations of the moment BetterBrave and Callisto, were a part of Modern Alliance, a charitable initiative housed by PVF that collaborated with people and organizations across different industries to put an end to sexual harassment. They continue to work with grantees and have assembled the #NowWhat toolkit for best practices to prevent and end sexual harassment in the workplace.
It has been an innovative and inspiring decade and we look forward to seeing 
what the next one will bring!
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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