Together We Can Fly
by Savannah Lira, Program Officer
Bill Somerville and PVF staff were honored by ALAS this week with a special luncheon in thanks of PVF's support over the years. We have known ALAS  (short for Ayudando Latinos A Sonar) since the very beginning when Dr. Belinda Arriaga, a licensed clinical social worker, realized many of the Latino children she was working with struggled with the fear of losing a parent through deportation. 
Belinda saw these children needed to build self-esteem through cultural resources and so ALAS began as a grassroots program in 2011 focused  on working with children through dance and mentorship, organizing parents around their children, educating people about immigration issues, and celebrating the concept of community. 
To support their efforts to create change, PVF provided funding for their Folklorico and Mariachi dance classes. As ALAS grew and strengthened, so did our partnership with Belinda.

In 2018, PVF's San Mateo County Program Director, Sheryl Young, connected Belinda to the original Bay Area Border Relief group, then called the McAllen12+ . As they returned from their first humanitarian visit to the border crisis, Belinda immediately expressed interest in returning to the border with the social welfare graduate students she teaches at the University of San Francisco. PVF and our generous donors funded the students' transportation and housing, as they volunteered at the Humanitarian Respite Center to support the intake of asylum seekers and their families. ALAS has since expanded their program to include mental health clinical services, immigration advocacy  and community engagement for asylees who have settled on the Coastside.
In 2019, we asked Belinda to serve as an Advisor for our Bay Area Inspire Program and when we renewed our Ambassador Program  in an effort to support individuals deeply involved in their communities and doing outstanding human service work, she was a perfect fit. 
Most recently, we partnered with Belinda to help the 300+ people who lost their jobs with the November closing of the  Half Moon Bay City Flower Company. With an immediate grant from PVF, ALAS hired an esteemed Bay City Flower nursery worker to do one-on-one job and resource development. Over 50 people have since found new employment with the help of ALAS. 
PVF invested in ALAS just as ALAS invests in its community, perfectly reflected through its motto: "Your struggle is my struggle, together we can fly."
The Impact of School Dental Screenings
We know that quality and early dental care is critical for good health and lack of care is related to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Yet, many children and adults in San Mateo County do not have access to affordable services.
" It surprised me to learn that 56% percent of the children we screened had visible decay and 6% of those were in need for urgent dental attention, some with exposed nerves in their molars due to decay.  We believe all children in San Mateo County deserve to not have severe dental pain, and the ability to see a dentist." - 
Tracey Fetcher, CEO of Sonrisas. 
Six year old Gabriella is one of the many children provided with dental care after an in-school screening.
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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