Voice-Based Education Initiative
by James Higa, Executive Director
We know that extraordinary times calls for re-thinking the 'way it's always been done'. PVF is known for our willingness to push creative and new ideas to tackle grassroots needs in our communities. Whether it's supporting Eat.Learn.Play to re-open Oakland restaurants to create a decentralized food delivery system for essential workers, families in need, and elderly people, or helping Growing The Table bring Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to bear to more efficiently distribute food from farm-to-food banks, or backing The 15% Pledge to grow the pie for the products and talent of black owned businesses to be a bigger part of the mainstream economy, PVF is always there at the forefront of innovation.
One of the needs that COVID has exposed is the severity of the digital divide. Our classrooms have moved to remote online education and parents are struggling with something they had not signed up for; home schooling. We've heard from so many families who feel like they are being left behind. Bringing all the devices, networking, video software, and curriculum together is a huge, complex burden. 
We believe an overlooked but effective technology for quality remote learning is voice. Smart speakers and voice-based learning are a lower cost and lower bandwidth alternative to desktop computers, notebooks, Zoom calls, and heavier duty online tools. We believe we can more easily and quickly get this more lightweight remote learning solution into the hands of many more families in need with children who crave to learn.  

A smart speaker (examples would be an Amazon Echo or Google Assistant) combined with accessible and comprehensive K-5 curriculum from Bamboo Learning can provide a low cost, easy to deploy, and engaging remote learning experience. This is why PVF has created our 'Voice-Based Education Initiative' to create a new path forward for the children of our communities.
For more information, please visit our Voice-Based Education Initiative page.
Distance Learning
The 2020-2021 school year has officially begun and remote learning is the new normal. Zoom meetings have replaced in-person classrooms, and with this change comes new needs.

PVF is committed to supporting our teachers during these unprecedented times. Our wide range of Teacher Resource Grants remain open, including: Arts, Environmental Science, Math, Science, Special Education, and Visiting Artist. Our streamlined, one-page application remains the same, and we are open to all innovative ideas that support you and your students in navigating online learning.

Read some of the requests we have received so far this school year:
SPARK kits created by Agency by Design Oakland
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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