About four years ago, an anonymous donor came to Pinellas Community Foundation to set up a different kind of charitable fund named the Venture Philanthropy Fund. Determined to make a difference in underserved markets, particularly South St. Petersburg, the donor worked with PCF to design a fund that supports the communication needs of mission-driven nonprofits with annual budgets of $100,000 or less.
With the foresight to invest in these select charities (roughly 7,800 Pinellas County nonprofits, according to TaxExempt.com), the Venture Philanthropy Fund helps by supplying the resources needed to connect with clients and donors. Eligible charities may receive up to 40 hours of monthly support from PCF nonprofit specialist and known community advocate J.A. Morton. There’s no cost for the service, which provides training in administration, marketing, grant writing, web development, social media, and community outreach.
During the pandemic, the work of the Venture Philanthropy Fund proved priceless in assisting with technical support in South St. Petersburg and other underserved Pinellas communities. Solutions were creative and made an immediate difference to the economic health of local communities:
- Advantage Village Academy (AVA) was able to help more than a hundred businesses apply for federal PPP funds and St. Petersburg business grants. AVA also helped home-based businesses obtain their business registration through Sunbiz, file outstanding taxes, and prepare the nonprofits for a new era of operations in a COVID-19 environment.
- GreenBook of Tampa Bay, located in Seminole, extended a free web-building program for black businesses.
- Developing and Building Community Services (DABS) offered free technical assistance, training, and supplies to support re-opening activities to 57 businesses and 187 vendors working in salons and barbershops.
During the past year, the work of Venture Philanthropy Fund charities proved priceless in serving the communities in need, particularly in South St. Petersburg. In the coming years, the Fund will continue to support local eligible nonprofits in furthering their missions.