SVCF partners with foundations to help local, national communities

In honor of SVCF's 10th anniversary, we're featuring stories of the amazing individuals, families and organizations that have partnered with us to develop their philanthropy and address pressing issues in Silicon Valley and beyond. Read more below, or check out the spring 2017 issue of SVCF Magazine.

Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley

In 2015, the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley decided to address the disparity of Latinos in tech jobs. Latinos make up more than a quarter of Silicon Valley’s population, yet they hold only 3 percent of tech positions. After a request for proposal process, the Hispanic Foundation selected SVCF to manage a new scholarship program called Latinos in Technology (LIT).

“LIT is a local solution to an industry problem,” says Ron Gonzales, president and CEO of the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley. “Our hopes are that we raise enough money from sponsors to fund up to 100 students per year. Our goal is to have a significant impact on the number of Latinos in the funnel, employed by and ultimately moving up the ranks of high-tech companies. In doing so, they’ll secure a level of income that will allow them to live comfortably in Silicon Valley.”

The David and Lucile Packard, William and Flora Hewlett and James Irvine Foundations

The David and Lucile Packard, William and Flora Hewlett and James Irvine foundations recognize that the future of California depends on the success of the communities of color that comprise the majority of our population. That’s why they came together about eight years ago to create the Community Leadership Project.

“The community foundation, from its inception, had the position that we were interested in partnering with folks who had the best ideas for addressing the most critical challenges in our region,” says Mauricio Palma, director of initiatives and special projects at SVCF. “So the idea of partnering with these three organizations on the Community Leadership Project was important to us.”

SVCF was selected to award operating and capacity-building grants to increase the impact and sustainability of small community-based organizations serving low-income people and communities of color in the San Francisco Bay Area, the central coast and the San Joaquin Valley.

“We are excited to work with these organizations, which are fulfilling important roles in their communities. This work is about giving low-income communities and people of color greater access to philanthropic resources that our region has in abundance,” Palma says. “Community Leadership Project helps put grantee organizations and SVCF at the forefront of creating vibrant communities.”

Knight Foundation

The Knight Foundation’s mission is to foster informed and engaged communities by investing in journalism, the arts and the overall success of 26 cities across the U.S., including San Jose. About three years ago, the Knight Foundation brought a small group of organizations — SVCF being one — together to tackle one basic question: How can we address the news and information gap in our region?

“The Knight Foundation provided us not only the resources to find answers to the question, but they also provided the technical assistance to learn about human-centered design, which helped us approach the question,” Palma says. “The partnership with the Knight Foundation allowed us to do this work without having a set outcome in mind except to ask critical questions.”

And ask they did. The questions evolved in the three years of the project, and the answers the group came up with have been powerful.

“We learned from our work that housing is a critical issue that’s not being addressed, and that immigration and education need more coverage,” Palma says. “Looking at that work with a cohort of journalists allowed us to realize that coverage is different than stories of impact. Stories of impact can influence policies in the region. Since the project began, we’ve seen the desire to do more collaborative journalism as well as bring together film, photography and social media, which gives stories the depth that might not have existed otherwise.”