Foundation Staff

Bill Somerville

Founder

bsomerville@venturesfoundation.org

Bill brings 50 years of experience in nonprofit work, including 17 years as Executive Director of the Peninsula Community Foundation. Bill is nationally recognized as an expert on creative grantmaking. He has consulted at over 400 community foundations in the United States, Canada and abroad on effective operations and grantmaking. Bill has taught courses on philanthropy at Stanford University, UC Berkeley’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and Laney Community College, in Oakland, CA.

Grassroots Philanthropy: Field Notes of a Maverick Grantmaker, by Bill Somerville with Fred Setterberg, published in February 2008 by Heyday Press, is a guide to decisive, hands-on grantmaking, to energize and motivate individual donors, foundation grantmakers, and nonprofit leaders alike.

Bill is a recipient of the 2004 Gerbode Fellowship Award in recognition of outstanding achievement as a non-profit executive. He is a founding member of the National Advisory Board Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford University. He is an advisor to the Dean of the UC Berkeley School of Social Welfare.

James Higa

Executive Director

jhiga@venturesfoundation.org

James brings 28 years of executive experience from Silicon Valley to PVF. He reported directly to Steve Jobs for much of his career and worked alongside him to change the face of technology as we know it. He was at the birth of the personal computer revolution as a member of the original Macintosh team and deeply involved in the creation of many of the breakthrough products and ser­vices at Apple over the last three decades.

James had a direct hand in transforming entire consumer industries through his work on the negotiating team of the landmark iTunes agreements with the record labels that changed music forever. His spark of innovation helping to launch iTunes University was a formative event in the emerging online education revolution.

James has a long history of public service as a member of the National Advisory Board, Haas Center for Public Service, Stanford University, and in the grassroots relief efforts during the 2011 Tohoku and 1995 Kobe Earthquakes in Japan. He is also a member of the Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources Advisory Council. He has served on the Stanford Alumni Association Board of Directors, Stanford Admissions Office National Advisory Board, and as an arbitrator for the International Chamber of Commerce.

Dawn Hawk

Chief Operating Officer

dhawk@venturesfoundation.org

Dawn handles PVF grantmaking, conducting site visits, outreach and evaluations of nonprofit organizations. She is responsible for PVF’s trademark Immediate Response Resource Grants Programs. Dawn’s expertise is in program design and administration.

She received a Master of Arts in Film Production from San Francisco State University and has a diverse background in small business management, teaching and film production. Dawn’s wide-ranging volunteer efforts in the community include working as an adult literacy tutor; serving on the Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council to address the challenges of neighborhood crime and violence; and serving as a board member for a local Friends group to revitalize an Oakland park and expand after school opportunities for youth.

Sheryl Young

San Mateo County Program Director

syoung@venturesfoundation.org

Prior to joining PVF, Sheryl Young was the Chief Executive Officer of Community Gatepath and AbilityPath.org. She has over 25 years of managerial experience in operations, finance, and marketing. Young is a graduate of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business Executive Program for Non-Profit Leaders, and also earned an M.A. of Public Health from the University of California at Berkeley, an M.A. in Special Education from Ball State University and a B.A. in Political Science from Purdue University.

Ashley Murphy

Program Officer

amurphy@venturesfoundation.org

Ashley is responsible for program and development support and communications. She received a Bachelor of Arts in International Service with a focus on Conflict Resolution and African Studies from American University in Washington DC. Upon graduating, she worked with an international nonprofit in Rwanda, lending her writing and researching skills to support their peacebuilding programs. Ashley is passionate about environmental issues and agriculture and works on a farm in her spare time.

Aly Quiroz-Perez

Program Associate

aperez@venturesfoundation.org

Aly processes the daily grants and gifts that PVF receives. She has B.A. degrees in Chicano/a Studies and Spanish from the University of California, Davis. After graduating college, Aly began exploring the nonprofit world by completing several internships with organizations around the Bay Area, such as the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and GRID Alternatives. In her free time, she likes to read, listen to music, and volunteer.

 

Top banner photo credit: Craig Sherod
Bottom banner photo credit: Martin Klimek

“Bill Somerville’s record of accomplishment in the philanthropic field has few equals.”

 

– Albert Horn, Attorney, Anderson Yazdi Hwang Minton + Horn LLP