January 2017
Progress Newsletter
Open Doors to Solving World Problems
Concerned about the Bay Area's growing income inequality and the lack of capital for innovative young people to pursue fresh ideas for improving their communities, retired healthcare professionals Connie Rubiano and Peter Yedidia founded the Bay Area Inspire Awards to support socially progressive young people in the San Francisco Bay Area and give their imaginative ideas a chance to develop into working projects for creating change in their communities.

Philanthropic Ventures Foundation agreed to host this awards program, and for the pilot round of the Bay Area Inspire Awards in 2014, we awarded grants of up to $10,000 to six individuals from diverse backgrounds, all between the ages of 18 and 30, and living in the counties of San Francisco or Alameda. This first round was quite successful, and at the start of 2016, Philanthropic Ventures Foundation conducted a second round of Bay Area Inspire Awards and expanded the program to include San Mateo County residents. We awarded $10,000 grants to eight young people.

Below are excerpts of interviews with four of these awardees, which you can read in full on our blog.

Tracy Nguyen, using graphic facilitation to chart a timeline of activities.

Tracy Nguyen, 26: "As I was doing some community organizing in East Oakland with Vietnamese nail salon workers, I noticed that graphic facilitation helped some of the women better understand our political strategies.... One of my first projects included graphically recording a meeting that was being conducted in four different languages: Mien, Lao/Khmu, Mandarin, and Cantonese. The group was able to discuss upcoming state-wide policy impacts related to their environment! ... The Bay Area Inspire Awards is a great model for encouraging boundless ideas from fresh young minds. Whether it's $10 or $10,000, the gesture of supporting a young person's idea will open doors to solving world problems." Read more here.

Anastacia Duenas, 18: "[My] unique peer mentoring program... brings together young adults (ages 18+) who have successfully completed probation and many other obstacles, with youth (ages 14-18) who are just beginning their journey through the juvenile justice system. This program bloomed from my involvement in an existing organization, Fresh Lifelines for Youth (FLY).... These motivated and active teens in the community have so much love and leadership to spread, and they just need a little push, support, and guidance." Read more here.

"The Bay Area Inspire Awards is a great model for encouraging boundless ideas from fresh young minds. Whether it's $10 or $10,000, the gesture of supporting a young person's idea will open doors to solving world problems."

Tatiana Chaterji , 29, used her award to conduct workshops in restorative justice and theater arts for young women in juvenile hall, on probation, and at risk, focusing on expression through dialogue, writing, and dance.  "After gaining fluency in the languages of circle, dramatic improvisation, public speaking, and embodiment, my workshop participants are invited to co-facilitate workshops in the community [which leads to] additional paid gigs.... My vision is to create an alternative pipeline to the one that leads to prison - a restorative economy, where we invest in people rather than in industries that profit at the expense of people and their suffering." Read more here.

Tatiana Chaterji and workshop participants, in a restorative justice circle.

Dante Alvarado-Leon, 20, used his award to launch a mentoring app called MentorRoom that connects college students with professional mentors via text messaging.  "I am really honored and grateful to have been one of the award recipients this year, because this has allowed me to make my dream a reality.... There is no shortage of innovative ideas amongst young people today. With the support, guidance, and mentorship from donors we can develop more impactful community projects, and drive positive change for the people around us." Read more here.

*Listed ages of awardees are at the time of receiving the Bay Area Inspire Award.

Help PVF fund more great ideas! We are proud to have made two rounds of awards to young Bay Area residents with the initiative, fresh ideas, and know-how to help build local communities that work better for all. You can help us make more awards available to other committed young social innovators throughout the Bay Area. Please help more talented young people make positive change in their communities by making a tax-deductible contribution.

After School Bike Program Helps
Oakland International Students Feel Connected
Diversity is the norm at  Oakland International High School, a charter school in the Temescal neighborhood-350 students come from 33 countries, speaking 32 languages-and an after school program is helping to bring the student body together, helping them feel more connected to the school as well as to their new home country.

Inspired by earn-a-bike programs at other organizations, teacher David Hansen started an earn-a-bike/bike safety after school program at Oakland International in 2015. Open to all students, grades 9-12, the program involves 12 classes (once a week, for two hours) on topics such as bike safety in urban environments, basic bike repair, and bike route planning. Participants build their own bicycles, and after completing the program, each participant takes home a bike, helmet, and lock.  Read more on our blog!

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 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.