People Power
by Bill Somerville, Founder 
We talk about the programs we fund, but we need to realize that it is the people in these programs that are all important.

At PVF, we don't spend much time on request proposals. It is the leadership that we need to see. That is why we get out of the office to meet these people and see them at work.
Who are these people?
Sister Christina Heltsley
We met Sister Christina in 2000, when Sister Monica recruited her to run the Saint Francis Center in Fair Oaks. A Sinsinawa Dominican Sister for 40 years, Christina was raised in Pasadena, CA as one of nine children. She has worked as a teacher, principal and superintendent, before taking on the role of Executive Director at the Saint Francis Center.

Over the last 19 years, Sister Christina has transformed the Center, the neighborhood, and the possibility of opportunity for hundreds of people living in poverty. The Center now offers 200+ low-income apartments and serves hundreds of persons a month with food, clothes, a gym, a school, and hope. Christina is an exceptional person who is a born leader, an inspirational individual, and a joy to work with.
Kathy Ahoy
We first met Kathy in 2003, when she was cleaning up after a haircut program for day workers that she sponsored. Kathy is exceptional in her dedication. A graduate of UCSF with a Master's degree in Community and Cross-Cultural Nursing, she became one of two public health nurses focused on serving low-income people in Alameda County. She then co-founded Street Level Health Project in East Oakland to offer counseling and health services, as well as food, to the community. Although now retired from Alameda County, she continues to work full-time in service of the poor and needy. I remember going with her one morning to serve day workers waiting to be hired. We gave them coffee and oatmeal, offered tests for diabetes, and I checked their blood pressure.

Born in Kalimpong, India, Kathy came to the U.S. as a refugee/immigrant and has seen her share of poverty and mistreatment. She manifests a fierce determination to bring justice, understanding, and compassion to the underprivileged and disadvantaged.
Larry Purcell
Larry and I have worked together for over 35 years. Born and raised in San Francisco, Larry became a priest in 1970, but after three years in a parish he left to search for a way to serve the poor more effectively. In 1976 he became a Catholic Worker (a lifestyle in which no one is paid and no one is charged) and created The Catholic Worker House of Redwood City. What started as a shelter for at-risk youth is now an entity comprising a food program, an English language school, and housing for the previously incarcerated, day laborers, and families in need. Day to day he still runs the Catholic Worker House, which has helped establish four other Catholic Worker centers in the area.

Larry states that he always appreciates funding from PVF because "they treat you with respect". He resigned the priesthood in 1980, got married and raised two children, who now are successful as a lawyer and an actor. "Feed, clothe and shelter the very poor" is his mantra.
Sister Trinitas Hernandez 
Sister Trinitas Hernandez co-founded the Rosalie Rendu Center in East Palo Alto in 1996, and serves as the Executive Director. "T", as she is called, grew up in Oakland to Mexican-American parents and joined the Daughters of Charity in 1957, seeing her role as serving the poor within her own community. The Center is known for its English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for adults who are struggling to integrate into the English speaking culture. Over the years, it has expanded to include college, career readiness and life skills classes, conversation clubs, and supervised play for children, after school tutoring, and educational family field trips.

Her passion is empowering women, and she does it with sewing classes, language classes, and creating a center that has become a safe place for women to grow in self-esteem and realize that what they have to say is important and valuable.
As a personal note, with all these people it is significant to experience such pure dedication and focus on serving the poor.
Meet the 2019 Bay Area Inspire Awards Advisers
The Bay Area Inspire Awards were started by a small group of Bay Area residents interested in building local communities that work better for all residents, especially those whose lives are difficult. The community initiative, administered by Philanthropic Ventures Foundation since 2014, provides $5,000 grants to 18-30 year olds who have innovative ideas for improving social equity in San Francisco, Alameda, and San Mateo Counties.

Each year, the Awardees are paired with a voluntary Advisory Board to provide them with mentorship and support throughout their projects. Now on its 4th round, we have gathered an amazing group of individuals who will be bringing their experience and expertise to the Bay Area Inspire Awards this year.

Clockwise from Top Left: Eugene "Ace" Johnson, Dante Alvarado-Leon, Jayson J. Phillips, Belinda Hernandez-Arriaga, Benjamin Bac Sierra and Rita Bullwinkel.
You can read more about each Adviser and the Bay Area Inspire Awards on our website. Applications for 2019-2020 open July 15th!

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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