SVCF Philanthropy Now Podcast

Listen to SVCF Philanthropy Now podcast episodes free, on demand. As the largest community foundation in the world, SVCF engages donors and corporations from Silicon Valley, across the country and around the globe to make our region and world better for all. With our podcast series, we explore trends in the world of philanthropy, social impact initiatives in Silicon Valley and beyond, and how SVCF promotes innovative philanthropic solutions to challenging problems. Tune in, subscribe, and for more about SVCF, visit
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SVCF Philanthropy Now Podcast


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Sep 27, 2017

With our new Philanthropy Now podcast series, we explore trends in the world of philanthropy, social impact initiatives in Silicon Valley and beyond, and look at how SVCF promotes innovative philanthropic solutions to challenging problems.

In Episode 21, SVCF corporate responsibility manager Blessing Okorougo speaks with Julie Lata, program manager in global community affairs – Applied Materials, and Jessica Erskine, head of U.S. consumer communications at StubHub Foundation. 

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Sep 13, 2017
On the Table will bring together thousands of Silicon Valley residents to have a meal, talk about our region's housing challenges
— and think about what we can do to solve them.
In this episode, Manuel Santamaria, SVCF’s Vice President of Strategic
Initiatives and Grantmaking, and Mauricio Palma, SVCF Director of Initiatives and Special Projects, describe On the Table. It’s a one - day event on November 15th that will feature meal-time discussions all over San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, and it’s a chance for people to make new connections and inspire action.
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Aug 30, 2017
California is failing its children, but the next governor could change that. Avo Makdessian, vice president and director of the Center for Early Learning at SVCF, and Pete Weldy, external relations officer with the Center for Early Learning, discuss Choose Children 2018. This SVCF-led initiative will inform, educate and engage the 2018 candidates for California governor about the importance of prioritizing public investment in young children in their campaign platforms.

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Aug 16, 2017
Gina Dalma, vice president of government relations for SVCF, and Kona Shen, co-founder and CEO of My90, discuss how technology is being used to help strengthen
relations between communities of color and law enforcement agencies in the cities of San Jose and Santa Clara, California. My90 is a text-message-based community
feedback system.
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Aug 3, 2017

It’s no secret that getting around Silicon Valley using public transit is tough. SVCF program officer Vu-Bang Nguyen and representatives from Youth Leadership Institute, one of SVCF’s grantee organizations, discuss the history of public transit in our region and the challenges to access and affordability of public transit in San Mateo County specifically. Youth Leadership Institute speakers are Fahad Qurashi and Montzerrat Garcia. 

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Jul 19, 2017

As part of Affordable Housing Week 2017 in Santa Clara County, a distinguished panel of policymakers discuss ways to address the lack of affordable housing in Silicon Valley. Moderated by SVCF CEO Emmett Carson, the panel includes State Senator Scott Wiener, Assemblymember Ash Kalra, Carolyn Coleman of the League of California Cities, and Paul Nieto of the Building Industry Association of the Bay Area.

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Jul 5, 2017

Erica Wood of SVCF speaks with Supervisor Cindy Chavez about what happened to enable the passage of Measure A for affordable housing last November in Santa Clara County. This $950 million obligation bond is a big deal for the community, as housing and homelessness has been targeted as a top issue with voters recently.

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Jun 21, 2017

Episode 14 is a two-part podcast that covers the highlights of a dynamic event held on Jan. 21, 2017 – the Community Trust in Policing Forum, held at the Mexican Heritage Plaza in San Jose. The event was a collaboration between SVCF and the San Francisco 49ers and featured speeches, panel discussions, and group sessions that allowed our community to debate the status of trust in policing in our community. 

Part 2 features the second half of the day's events. We will start the podcast by hearing parts of a panel discussion by moderator Dr. William Armaline, director of the San Jose State University human rights program; Torrey Smith, philanthropist and former wide receiver with the San Francisco 49ers; and Dr. Harry Edwards, sociologist and founder of the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change at San Jose State University.

Walter Katz, then Independent Police Auditor of San Jose (who has since moved to a new position as the Independent Police Auditor of Chicago), describes the role of his office in overseeing complaints against the city's police depatment. 

We move to another panel discussion with Regina Alexander from PACT; Russell Bloom, the independent police auditor for BART; Chandra Brooks, a Santa Clara County Commissioner and member of the California Police Transparency Coalition; and Austin Swift, Program manager at Finally, we wrap up with a few words from SVCF CEO and President Emmett Carson. 

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Jun 21, 2017

Episode 14 is a two-part podcast that covers the highlights of a dynamic event held on Jan. 21, 2017 – the Community Trust in Policing Forum, held at the Mexican Heritage Plaza in San Jose. The event was a collaboration between SVCF and the San Francisco 49ers and featured speeches, panel discussions, and group sessions that allowed our community to debate the status of trust in policing in our community. 

In Part 1, we hear from Walter Katz, Independent Police Auditor of San Jose; Sam Liccardo, Mayor of the City of San Jose; Jed York, CEO of the San Francisco 49ers; Emmett Carson, CEO and president of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation; and Chief Eddie Garcia of the San Jose Police Department. 

Part 1 also features a discussion with a panel of community leaders: Panteha Saban, deputy public defender in Santa Clara County; Priya Murthy, policy and advocacy director for SIREN (Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network); Peter Ortiz, East San Jose native and school board member for Mount Pleasant School District in San Jose; and Jesus Ruiz, from People Acting in Community Together (PACT). 

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Jun 7, 2017

Today, Avo Makdessian, vice president and director of SVCF's Center for Early Learning, and Andrea Jones, Initiative Officer for the Big Lift, talk about the Big Lift program. The Big Lift is an initiative aiming to rapidly raise the literacy of our third-graders here in Silicon Valley.

Right now, only 50% of third graders are reading at grade level - which has stark implications for their education as they get older. Avo and Andrea discuss how the Big Lift is a four-part, comprehensive initiative that focuses on providing high-quality preschool, attendance, the summer gap, and family engagement.

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May 24, 2017

In this episode, we hear from SVCF CEO and President Emmett Carson on a panel about the new book The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age by David Callahan. Alongside the book's author, Emmett discusses the developing style of philanthropy pursued by some of the world's wealthiest people, and how it can help fuel a Renaissance of philanthropy.

Emmett and David discuss how the huge influx of wealth to donors is creating a more diversified, decentralized style of philanthropy. Rather than fitting in with the traditional large foundation approach of the past, donors today are going deep into important issues and forming partnerships with the foundations they help fund. They also take audience questions and debate the realities of wealth being concentrated among so few people, and how entrepreneurship is shaping new philanthropic efforts. 

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May 10, 2017

On the show today we're hearing from our VP of Government Relations Gina Dalma and Zulma Maciel from the City of San Jose's Office of Immigrant Affairs. Gina and Zulma have a conversation about the current fears in our immigrant community here in Silicon Valley, for undocumented and visa-holding immigrant families alike. 

They wrap up by covering SB6, the critical bill that would implement true due process for all people in California courts and would go a long way to fund and provide legal services for immigrant families dealing with legal and immigration issues. 

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May 3, 2017

This week our Chief Community Impact Officer, Erica Wood, gives us an introduction to SVCF new report, San Mateo County’s Forgotten South Coast Residents.  

Erica shares how the idea of the report came to fruition, and why it's just the beginning of great work that the community will do in the region. She also tells some of the particularly impactful stories detailed in the report, spanning housing shortages, barriers to education, and limited access to healthcare. 

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Apr 26, 2017

Today we're joined by Director Lea Rauscher, Christine Morissette, & Damon James of our Grants, Gifts, and Compliance team for a conversation about the ins and outs of international grantmaking. SVCF grants millions of dollars to international charities, but it's by no means a simple process.

We kick things off by outlining the collaborative approach SVCF takes when working with donors that want to make international donations. We then then discuss us about the importance of gathering information about international organizations and setting grant agreements with grantees. 

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Apr 12, 2017

Today we're joined by SVCF's COO and CFO Paul Velaski and Moss Adams Partner Liz Dollar to discuss the Financial Accounting Standards Board's updates to the accounting standards for nonprofit entities.

Paul and Liz start off by outlining the update's primary objective: updating accounting reporting models for nonprofits. Liz walks us through some of the major changes to reporting, which by and large should have a positive effect on the nonprofit sector. We cover early adoption of these standards, how disclosure requirements will change, and why accounting should be easier thanks to these updates.

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Mar 29, 2017

In episode 7, Bert Feuss (Senior VP of Investments) and Sue McAllister (Marketing Director) discuss SVCF's efforts to increase the number of minority and women investment managers at SVCF. Because SVCF values inclusion and diversity in all aspects of our business, we had to take a hard look at our investment practices and acknowledge that there was room for improvement.

Bert and Sue talk about why this effort has been such a great success, including increased investment in communities that other investment managers overlook. They walk us through the process of hiring consultants, finding talented women- & minority-owned investment managers, and the excellent results we've had so far. Bert and Sue wrap up by discussing some steps that other nonprofits or foundations can take to increase diversity in the hiring process. 

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Mar 15, 2017

SVCF and other organizations have implemented a "ban the box" policy in the hiring process. Removing the checkbox inquiring about applicants' criminal history is intended to make hiring more inclusive for folks who have had interactions with the criminal justice system.

Gina and Daiva talk about how unequal application of the criminal justice system often puts young people of color and those in lower socioeconomic neighborhoods at a disadvantage, because they are more likely to have interactions with law enforcement. Gina and Daiva highlight some of the research that demonstrates the effectiveness of banning the box, and talk about why it's so important to welcome those with criminal history into our organizations and businesses. 

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Mar 1, 2017

Welcome to Episode 5, in which Maeve Miccio, our VP of Corporate Responsibility, interviews Director of Corporate Responsibility Liz Lipton-McCombie. Maeve and Liz discuss SVCF's efforts to support startups and large companies alike who are interested in building social responsibility. 

SVCF recently completed a report called Starting with Purpose: How Startups can Use Social Responsibility to Deliver Purpose and Profit. Our goal was to provide a comprehensive resource for companies that plan to integrate social responsibility and philanthrophy into their work, through volunteering, charity, and other efforts. Maeve and Liz give us an overview of how the report was compiled, some of the most interesting discoveries, and some actionable takeaways. 

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Feb 15, 2017

Today we're featuring a conversation with Avo Makdessian, our Vice President & Director of the Center for Early Learning, and Michelle Sioson-Hyman, senior officer at the Center for Early Learning. 

Avo and Michelle discuss what CEL does here at the Community Foundation and their recent research on how technology and digital media affect young children. Michelle talks about some of the foundational knowledge in the field, and illuminates us as to why parents don't have to restrict their children from technology entirely. We also touch on how developers can contribute to solving the widening disparity between families with access to quality digital media at an early age and those who do not.

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Feb 1, 2017

Today our host is Manuel Santamaria, our Vice President of Grantmaking and Special Initiatives. In the first half of the episode, Manuel describes the grantmaking process that has served SVCF well over the past ten years. He outlines the four "buckets" we aim to serve - economic security, building strong communities, education, and immigration. Manuel also talks about how the grantmaking process is going to change in light of our milestone tenth anniversary.

Manuel then welcomes Valerie Cuevas onto the show to talk about the special anniversary grants we will be awarding throughout the year. Valerie is a Senior Program Officer and the leader of our ten-year anniversary request for grant proposals. Valerie talks about why we're focusing on innovative ideas with our anniversary grants, and puts out the call to anyone with a big idea to apply for one. We pride ourselves on supporting organizations that impact the community in a positive manner by thinking outside the box, and these grants carry on that tradition.  

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Jan 18, 2017

Arielle is on the podcast today on behalf of SPUR, a member-supported nonprofit that supports great planning, development, and government in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Arielle and Vu-Bang Nguyen (our Program Officer of Regional Planning) discuss the need for a single map that includes information on all our transit systems. Arielle outlines the positive domino effects the project will have, including increased communication between operators, riders, and designers in the planning phase; improving public health by making transit more accessible; and benefitting our economy by making our transportation more tourist-friendly.

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Dec 26, 2016

Welcome to the very first episode of the SVCF Philanthropy Now Podcast!

In this inaugural episode, we kick things off with the Keynote address of a seasoned professional in the SV fundraising scene, Emmett Carson. Emmett has been a leading member of the local fundraising and philanthropic community for 10 years, and delivered this address to the top fundraising professionals in the country at this year’s Association of Fundraising Professionals Symposium.

During his address, Emmett highlights the challenges that Silicon Valley fundraisers face and talks in real terms about the situation, and what organizations need to understand to effectively gain support for their causes. As Emmett shares his incredible expertise in an honest and direct manner, you’ll be amazed at the keen insights he has uncovered, and how he addresses organizations to empower themselves to fundraise and serve better.

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