Looking Back on an Inspiring Decade

 In PVF News

By Savannah Lira, Program and Communications Associate

Since 1991, PVF has been demonstrating the power of funding people rather than paper. Bill Somerville started PVF to do paperless, grassroots giving with a fast turnaround, a radical approach to philanthropy that is working.

As 2019 comes to an end, we are looking back on some of PVF’s most exciting moments throughout the past decade. To our past, present and potential donors, we thank you for your being so supportive of our mission for grassroots philanthropy born out of creative thinking.

Here are just a few standouts from the decade:


PVF  set a record for its annual giving in 2011 , with over $8 million in grants. We have since given over $155 Million in total. How do we do this as a foundation with very limited assets and a staff of 8? By eliminating paperwork, simplifying the grant process, and optimizing for speed, action, and effectiveness.


The Bay Area Inspire Awards was born and we have given awards to 26 individuals spearheading a diverse range of projects in Alameda, San Francisco and San Mateo Counties. One Awardee was also recently named a Forbes 30 Under 30 for her BAIA project!


Sheryl Young, PVF’s San Mateo County Program Director, joined the McAllen12+  as they traveled to McAllen, Texas to deliver over 1,000 pounds of toys, clothes and books for the children detained at the border. Now renamed Bay Area Border Relief, the humanitarian group continues to advocate for and serve the families waiting for asylum.

Check out the full list in our December Progress and sign up at the bottom of this page for future newsletters!

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