Philanthropic Ventures Foundation            Progress Newsletter  -  March 2014
Radical Collaboration

by: James Higa, Executive Director 


Last month, we talked about tackling the Inequality Gap through immediate response. This month, we want to talk about another way PVF is tackling this gap: radical collaboration.


I've recently retired from Apple after 20+ years.  I come from the land of plenty.  I know what it's like to have a cafe overflowing with abundant food, with every perk an employee could want: the air conditioned coaches, a day care center, dry cleaning, having your car washed in the parking lot.      


Photo Credit: Evelyn Rusli/The Wall Street Journal

Yet, now in my current position as Executive Director at Philanthropic Ventures Foundation, I know that two blocks away kids are going hungry, mothers are in want of a decent education for their children, and there are survivors of trafficking who have suffered unimaginable misfortune and hope to have an opportunity for a good job and a meaningful life.  


Silicon Valley can't claim to, can't aspire to change the world, if they can't even change our own backyard.  This is why PVF is compelled to act.  We want to tackle the Inequality Gap, and the way we want to do this is through our belief in the power of radical collaboration.


Why is it that the worlds of high tech companies, grassroots community organizations, venture funds, non-profits, family foundations, and community foundations rarely intersect? What if all of these circles could join together to reinvent philanthropy?  This is exactly what we saw at the launch of the Invention Hub last Tuesday night in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco.  

The Invention Hub's launch was abuzz with inspiration.

The Invention Hub is part non-profit workspace, incubator of socially good businesses, corporate brainstorming hub, and a job creation program.  The very first project to launch here illustrates the nature of what we mean by radical collaboration.  Just Business, a venture fund, is raising the capital to invest in a socially good coffee business, Amor Perfecto.  Not for Sale, a non-profit that fights human trafficking, is creating a training program for survivors of human trafficking to work at Amor Perfecto.  PVF is funding MISSSEY, an Oakland based nonprofit that serves sexually exploited youths, to send their youths to this training program.  Companies like Juniper Networks, SalesForce, and Blue Bottle Coffee are lending their support.  A portion of the profits from this business will go back to help this nonprofit cause.  Lest you think this idea isn't scalable, take a look at what Not For Sale has done with REBBL tea which can now be found at a Whole Foods or market near you.  


This is radical collaboration indeed.  PVF was excited to be the original seed funder to get this idea off the ground. In a mere eight months, Not For Sale has taken this wisp of a dream and given it magnificent physical form.  PVF is even more excited to announce the opening of our San Francisco satellite office as the community foundation partner inside the Invention Hub where through radical collaboration, we want to reinvent philanthropy, reinvent our companies, and reinvent our communities.


You can learn more about the Invention Hub and the work of PVF here in a recent Wall Street Journal profile.  

Youth Gain Tech Skills with the Help of PVF's Facebook Fund Grant
by: Ashley Murphy, Program Associate

Tired of graffiti, trash, and vandalism plaguing the streets? Well now there's an app for that, thanks to four teen girls who teamed up to tackle blight in their East Palo Alto community. The high school students, who dubbed themselves the "Chica Squad," were part of a pilot program implemented by Bayshore Christian Ministries, an East Palo Alto nonprofit dedicated to helping youth gain life skills and develop as leaders. During the 12-week program, the girls learned about app design, entrepreneurship, creating a business plan, and pitching a product. The app they designed through the process is called "Tag It," which allows East Palo Alto community members to photograph a place of vandalism or trash. Users can then track down the locations where the photograph was tagged and clean it up. The ingenious app landed them a spot in the top 20 at the  Technovation Challenge.


This pilot program was made possible through a $5,000 grant from PVF's Facebook Local Community Fund, which provides grants to nonprofits working with youth in East Palo Alto and Belle more on our blog!
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.
About the Editors
James Higa
Executive Director
Bill Somerville

James Higa 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 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.

  Facebook Badge