Press Release - August 31, 2017

SVCF awards $100,000 grants to organizations that leverage community members to spotlight and find solutions to the affordable housing crisis

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Two initiatives that harness the power of local community members to identify and contribute solutions to the affordable housing crisis have been chosen to receive $100,000 each, as part of Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s 10-year anniversary competitive grantmaking initiative.

The special initiative, announced last year, was established to award 10 grants of $100,000 each to organizations developing creative solutions in four areas that have long been strategically important to SVCF: economic security of low-income communities; education; immigration; and building strong communities.

The two latest programs to be chosen for anniversary grants are focused on the fourth topic: building strong communities. The intent of this anniversary grant initiative is to support new and innovative ideas that are aligned with SVCF’s current approach to building strong communities, but which also specifically involve residents in the design of their communities.

The two programs that will receive grants are building strong communities by 1) engaging college students to spotlight and tell the stories of those affected by rental housing shortages in Santa Clara County; and 2) engaging residents to think creatively about how to turn underutilized public spaces into affordable housing or transit-oriented development projects.

“We opened this special 10-year anniversary grantmaking opportunity to surface bold, new ideas for involving residents in the design of their communities,” says Valerie Cuevas, senior program officer at SVCF. “We are especially pleased that these two grant recipients are using their creativity to tackle the affordable housing crisis in Santa Clara County, a pressing regional challenge that will require all aspects of our community to solve together.”

The two programs that will receive $100,000 grants are:

People Acting in Community Together (PACT): PACT has a 32-year history of successfully mobilizing diverse community members to enact sustained, impactful and positive change. With this grant, PACT will engage college students to conduct research into the acute housing crisis in Santa Clara County, and to tell the story of renters affected by the problem through a multi-media storytelling project. The work, akin to the successful “Humans of New York,” project, will be called “Renters of Silicon Valley,” and is intended to build momentum for organizing people of all ages and backgrounds across Silicon Valley.

Stanford Prevention Research Center (SPRC): SPRC was formed at Stanford University in 1984 to conduct interdisciplinary research into the prevention and control of chronic disease. The grant will support the center’s Our Voice project, in which community participants use a simple mobile application – the Healthy Neighborhood Discovery Tool – to record geo-tagged photos and narratives about underutilized spaces in their communities. The goal is to engage Santa Clara County residents and incorporate their perspectives to redesign and revitalize underutilized public spaces for potential affordable housing and transit-oriented development. Through a facilitated process, participants will collectively review the information they gather, discuss their findings, brainstorm feasible solutions, and, in partnership with local decision-makers, help transform those public spaces.

Read more about the 10-year anniversary grantmaking initiative, and about the impact SVCF has had on the community in its first 10 years.

The final two grants to be awarded will be announced in October, and will focus on projects to increase civic engagement and participation through creative and innovative uses of technology.

About Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Silicon Valley Community Foundation advances innovative philanthropic solutions to challenging problems. As the largest community foundation in the world, we engage donors and corporations from Silicon Valley, across the country and around the globe to make our region and world better for all. Our passion for helping people and organizations achieve their philanthropic dreams has created a global philanthropic enterprise committed to the belief that possibilities start here. Learn more at siliconvalleycf.org.