(photo credit: Christopher Michel)
In so many ways, it feels like there is just too much centrifugal force at work in the world and the center is not holding.
Our own government is separating children from their parents at the border, withholding honestly earned paychecks from its employees, and taking away the dreams of our Dreamers.
Fake news and disinformation hacking is creating wider and more calcified partisan and tribal chasms.
The technologies of Silicon Valley continue to add fuel to the inequality gap. Companies are co-opting our own data from our grasp and eroding our privacy.
The increasing stresses around us are decreasing our sense of mental well-being and health.
Despite all of that, at PVF, when the world goes low, we go high. We are convinced that local grassroots activism is more crucial than ever. We have conviction that together with you, we can find and propel new ideas and approaches to our biggest problems. We know there are great leaders waiting to be discovered. We believe in risk-taking. We remain audaciously optimistic that we can shape the change we want to see around us. If we focus on our communities and the people around us, and if we focus on radically new ways of collaborating, we can make that dent.
When all is said and done, it's simple. Be good to your neighbor.
James Higa, Executive Director
(photo credit: Martin Klimek)
Housing is possibly one of the most vexing and important issues we face in the Bay Area. Is this a role for us, the "little guy" funder? We say, "Yes." Because of our specialty in critical intervention funding.
A few hundred people have a place to sleep because we were there when these housing and bedding programs started, with beginning funding. When programs start up to help the homeless gain some dignity and stabilize their lives, we are there as first funder for mobile showers and as the sponsor of podiatry programs.
PVF saw that the Community Legal Services program in East Palo Alto had clients who could be evicted but for a small portion of rent they couldn't afford. PVF created the Housing Rescue Fund wherein an attorney at Community Legal Services could disburse critical needs grants and keep the person from being evicted. This program is now supported by a PVF funder and has helped several hundred families remain in their homes.
We just helped buy a reentry house for persons out of prison. We also helped buy a house for day laborers which offers stability to people in precarious positions. We take donors on field trips to introduce housing programs.
Critical intervention funding is being at the right place at the right time. It is at these times when smaller funds can have an impact.
If there is trust in the relationship, marvelous things can transpire. No matter how big the program, there is always room for being there when it counts.
Bill Somerville, Founder