Why Wait?
By Bill Somerville, Founder
At Philanthropic Ventures Foundation we don’t wait for people and programs to ask for help. We contact them and ask if they can use help.

Here are six recent examples of when we contacted programs to ask if they could use help. These are organizations we have worked with for years, people we trust, and programs that do outstanding work. All they needed to do was write us about what they wanted to do and if approved, we send them a check in our usual 48 hour turnaround.

  • We sent $30,000 to ALAS in Half Moon Bay to support 36 asylum seekers, 17 of whom are children. These are people who arrived in the US with nothing “but the clothes on their back” who need housing, food, clothes, help in finding work and enrolling children in school. We have worked with ALAS before and found them to be dedicated, effective, and resourceful.

  • $20,000 was sent to the Puente de la Costa Sur in Pescadero. Puente gives employment opportunities to youth in the coastal region.
  • $10,000 to Catholic Worker House in Redwood City to buy necessities for homeless individuals, such as propane stoves, sleeping bags, clothes, and bikes. Catholic Worker House has a staff member who visits the homeless encampments daily and hears what is needed.
  • $20,000 to St. Anthony's Padua Dining Room in Menlo Park; $15,000 to put a refrigeration unit in a delivery truck and $5,000 to repair another refrigeration unit already in a truck. Padua serves lunch to over 400 people a day and has a large food distribution program which increased during COVID shelter in place restrictions.

  • $10,000 to the Rosalie Rendu Center in East Palo Alto that teaches English as a second language and supports recent immigrants and asylum seekers. Our donation funded special training by the Department of Justice for staff to be credentialed to work with asylum seekers.

  • $16,000 to St. Francis Center and Sister Christina with whom we have worked for 25 years. We feel she does spectacular work serving families in need, such as providing affordable housing, education, and immigration counseling, among many other services. Our donation went towards paying an Americorps worker to serve for a year at the Center.
So there you have it. We first went to each of the recipients and said “Do you have a need for funds?” All of these grants were made possible by one donor who gave discretionary money to the foundation and for which we are very grateful.
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.
Philanthropic Ventures Foundation | 1222 Preservation Park Way, Oakland, CA 94612 info@venturesfoundation.org | (510) 645-1890