Marriott Alumni Magazine

Ballard Center 2015-16 Annual Report

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24 Social Innovator of the Year Bill Somerville Bill Somerville's passion for grassroots philanthropy—he wrote a book about it—is made clear by his description of its role in society: that it should be used to "puff life into the community." And by "puff," he means that philanthropic efforts should be focused on getting people who are working on solving social issues the funding they need precisely when they need it. Obtaining a grant is too often a lengthy and laborious process filled with paperwork and layers of bureaucracy. But maverick grantmaker Somerville does things differently. In 1991 Somerville founded Philanthropic Ventures Foundation (PVF), a donor-advised fund, to help donors facilitate highly responsive local grants. PVF is known for giving money to programs that are nimble, creative, and responsive. The organization prides itself on processing grant requests within forty-eight hours of their submission. A quick turnaround time, on-site visits with grant recipients, and transparency are just a few of the innovative philanthropy practices Somerville recommends. Photo © Ballard Center By Kate Hulme By Kate Hulme

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