No Education Like Adversity
(photo credit: Christopher Michel)
These are challenging times, but we are up to it. 

For example, we had the idea to give money outright to people in need, and now some big foundations are doing likewise. Thus, we give money to nonprofit programs that serve the poor and they in turn can give direct cash to help families with rent, food, etc. 

We are proud to be in the vanguard and regard it as business as usual; Philanthropic Ventures Foundation is over 30 years old.

We continue giving special grants to teachers and social workers on a 48 hour turnaround basis. Actually hundreds of grants, and the recipients love it.

Donors are doing a lot of giving in these times and PVF is busy. It is heartening to see that people care. We customize giving for donors - in one case creating an awards program for young women of courage.

It is warming to see the resilience of the people in nonprofits that we work with. They just double their efforts in serving people in need. 

We are our brother's keeper and that is what Philanthropic Ventures Foundation stands for. 

We are honored to be associated with a spectrum that covers outstanding community workers as well as those in need who we stand by.

We also ferret out start-up programs and people with ideas to serve others. The whole process of discovery is the basis of our work. In other words, we don't wait for the mail.

What a crazy year it has been. 2020 will go down in history as the year of not one, but multiple black swan events. Who amongst us could have imagined a COVID pandemic raging through our cities, systemic racism boiling over, a divisive election, and a shuttered economy inflicting unbearable burdens upon us? All at the same time.

Benjamin Disraeli, former Prime Minister of the UK said,  "There is no education like adversity". In this year of unprecedented adversity, PVF has learned so much.

We learned from our neighbors who live along side us that you are essential, not ancillary workers. All of you. Our lives depend in the most fundamental ways on what you do day in and day out.

We learned from our grantees that they will rise to any unforeseen challenges with unimagined bold ideas. ALAS launched a co-op of mask makers and a Friday lunch program for farmers. Eat.Learn.Play is building a decentralized food delivery network of Oakland restaurants to feed our frontlines. Growing the Table is applying cutting edge geographic information system mapping to help minority owned regenerative farms reach food banks and markets better. Our voice based remote learning initiative with smart speakers will help close the remote learning gap. The 15% Pledge and GiveBlck are giving voice to and lifting up black owned businesses and non-profits.

We learned from our donors that there is a world full of good hearts and thoughtful minds who have leaned in even stronger to give more this year than in any other year.

Most of all we learned that we can place our hope and confidence in the spirit of kindness that brings and binds us together, rather than the differences that divide us. And for this, we are grateful to each and everyone of you.
- Bill Somerville, Founder
- James Higa, Executive Director

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 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.
For more news and updates: