Supporting the Silence Breakers
by James Higa, Executive Director

Time magazine named the 'Silence Breakers' as the 2017 Person of the Year. They are the brave people who are publicly speaking out against the 'problem that shall not be named': harassment in our workplaces and lives. This is a problem of national import but also something that takes place every single day in our own backyard. PVF has tried to apply our principles of immediate response and grassroots philanthropy to meet this challenge.
Modern Alliance founder Kater Gordon
art by Matt Vascellaro, image from The Information
Kater Gordon won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series on the universally acclaimed show Mad Men, along with its creator Matthew Weiner. She had worked her way up from a personal assistant position through her hard work, prodigious talent, and relentless passion. But one night, while working together with Mr. Weiner, the work place that was empowering and safe suddenly became hostile and alien. (Read her story on The Information.) A year after the sexual harassment incident, Kater was let go from the show.
For 8 years, she remained full of shame and regret, lost her confidence, stayed silent, and became reticent in public. Until now.

She has made her story public, but rather than just tell her story, she wanted to create a movement to stop the continued predation and harassment of women, minorities, and the least powerful among us. She reached out to PVF, and we were moved by her desire to take the conversation beyond 'me too' to 'now here's what we will do about it.' We quickly agreed to provide our fiscal depository services to launch Modern Alliance, which will create original videos and visual scripts to educate victims and spur a wider conversation beyond what gets talked about with human resource departments. (Read more about their work and partnerships here.)
BetterBrave founders Tammy Cho (left) and Grace Choi (right)
image from BetterBrave
Our continual 'find them and fund them' search led us next to BetterBrave. 1 in 3 women have experienced sexual harassment at work, from Fortune 500 companies to the restaurant in your neighborhood, and 71% of these incidents go unreported. Rather than merely being frustrated in response to these statistics and storiesTammy Cho and Grace Choi were motivated to tackle harassment and discrimination in the workplace. We are supporting their work in San Mateo County, as we believe in their sensibilities to bring modern platforms and data science to combat pervasive sexual harassment affecting all genders, races, and industries.
At PVF, we want to be the first to find and the first to fund outstanding leaders and radically innovative ideas to meet today's challenges. Modern Alliance and BetterBrave are just such examples .
Callisto: A System By Survivors, For Survivors
Philanthropic Ventures Foundation is proud to see Callisto highlighted on Late Night with Seth Meyers, when Founder and CEO Jess Ladd was interviewed on the show earlier this year.
Since August 2016, PVF has been supporting SheEO by being their designated fund partner in the U.S., and Callisto was one of SheEO's top 5 ventures during its first round (2016-2017). Callisto is an online reporting system for sexual assault that provides a safe space and better reporting experience for survivors of sexual assault and better information for authorities.
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.
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