February 2016
Progress Newsletter
The Power of Networks
by: James Higa, Executive Director

Our world has been transformed by the power of networks, from crowdsourcing to the social graph, to open source collaborative networks. The power of networks is also being felt in philanthropy.    

The power of connections and networks was brought home to PVF in the form of the delectable lunch box pictured here.  This delicious jerk chicken wrap was delivered to our office by a recent PVF grantee, The Town Kitchen, a food delivery service operated almost entirely by low-income Oakland youth.  They craft locally-sourced lunches made from a community of growers, food makers, chefs, and youth, and deliver them to companies, universities, and individuals, and, most recently, to Super Bowl events.
As we tucked into our food, we learned that the youth who packed and delivered our lunches was a graduate of a job-training program at Not For Sale (NFS).  Thanks to this program and The Town Kitchen, she is now gainfully employed and pursuing a degree at Laney College.  PVF was the very first funder of this NFS program.  This youth came into the NFS program through a grassroots organization called MISSSEY that is doing some of the best work we have seen in supporting and serving sexually exploited youth.  MISSSEY, incidentally, is a 'find'em and fund'em' grantee of PVF.  As if that weren't enough, these lunch boxes contain beverages from Red Bay Coffee.  Kori Chen of Red Bay Coffee was the recipient of PVF's Bay Area Inspire Award grant for his groundbreaking work to hire formerly incarcerated youths into the business.  The Bay Area Inspire Awards Program was an idea that came from of one of our wonderfully inventive donors, that PVF helped custom create and bring to life. 

"This is how the dots in a network connect and become more powerful than the sum of its parts."
Packed into this compact 10" x 10" box was not just a lunch, but also the serendipitous embodiment of PVF's radical collaboration coming together.  The Town Kitchen, Not For Sale, MISSSEY, Red Bay Coffee, and The Bay Area Inspire Awards; all woven together by a connection to PVF's grantmaking.  This is how the dots in a network connect and become more powerful than the sum of its parts.  PVF has always been an activist connector and we think of our work as creating the next generation open source philanthropic network architecture to amplify, propagate, and accelerate good.

The Town Kitchen staff describe their boxed lunch options, which are made of locally-sourced ingredients and created by Oakland youth.

A Beacon of Hope and Strength in Pescadero
by: Aly Quiroz-Perez, Program Associate 

It was a cloudy morning when Bill and I left Oakland for Pescadero. It was my first time visiting San Mateo County's South Coast and I was impressed by the tiny towns and farms we passed as well as the green valleys and beautiful coastline.

We were on our way to visit  Puente de la Costa Sur, which is the only community resource center in the region serving La Honda, Pescadero, Loma Mar, and San Gregorio ...read more on our blog!

From left to right: PVF's founder, Bill Somerville, with Puente's Executive Director, Rita Mancera, 
and Development Director, Patrick Letellier

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 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.