Press Release - August 10, 2016

Silicon Valley Community Foundation Receives $1.5 Million Grant from Pritzker Children’s Initiative

Grant will support statewide efforts to make early learning a California policy and budget priority

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (August 10, 2016) – The Center for Early Learning at Silicon Valley Community Foundation announced today that it will receive a $1.5 million grant from the Pritzker Children’s Initiative, a national project of the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation.

The grant will support an ambitious three-year effort to make early learning for California’s youngest children a state budget and policy priority. Specifically, the Center will partner with legislators, scholars and community leaders to promote research, public opinion data and key messages that make the case for increased investments in high-quality early learning programs. Additionally, this effort will engage California gubernatorial candidates prior to the 2018 election to ensure they have a strong understanding of the long-term benefits of investing in high quality early learning programs.

SVCF launched its Center for Early Learning in 2014 to gather and communicate compelling data, act as an intermediary and thought leader, mobilize partners and develop strategies that lead to positive outcomes for young children and their families. More recently the Center created the Silicon Valley Children’s Advocacy Network—a powerful group of business, education and nonprofit leaders that advocates for more public investments in early learning.

The Pritzker Children’s Initiative grant will help strengthen the Silicon Valley Children’s Advocacy Network and connect it to similar networks across California that share a vision to transform early learning in the state. In addition to directly supporting SVCF and other leading organizations supporting early childhood education, the Initiative has long been a vocal advocate for increased investments in early learning by government and the philanthropic and business communities.

“Silicon Valley Community Foundation and its Center for Early Learning is a natural partnership for us, and as someone who was born and raised in Silicon Valley, I’m especially proud to support this important work,” said J.B. Pritzker, Board Chair of the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation. “We believe that investing in our nation’s youngest children birth to five – especially low-income children who typically have the fewest resources – offers the greatest opportunity to equip children for success in school and in life.”

California currently ranks 28 out of 42 states in access to preschool programs for 4-year-olds, according to a 2015 report from the National Institute for Early Education Research. The report also found that California’s early education quality standards are among the nation’s worst. These facts are unsurprising given that nearly $1 billion in funding has been cut from the state’s budget for preschool programs since 2008. Recently, through the advocacy of SVCF and other statewide leaders, the state has committed to reinvest $500 million into early learning programs over the next four years.

“California has the opportunity to lead the way for the nation to achieve meaningful impact on behalf of low-income children and their families,” said Emmett D. Carson, SVCF’s CEO and president. “This partnership with the Pritzker Children’s Initiative will position California to improve educational outcomes in the short run and employment opportunities in the long run by investing in early learning for our youngest, most vulnerable children.”

For more information about SVCF’s Center for Early Learning, visit www.siliconvalleycf.org/center-for-early-learning.

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.

About the Pritzker Children’s Initiative

The Pritzker Children’s Initiative is a national project of the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation. For more than 15 years, the Pritzker Children’s Initiative has been committed to a single, attainable goal: that all at-risk children throughout the U.S. will have access to high quality early childhood development resources, increasing their likelihood of success in school and life. With a focus on the importance of birth to age three, the Initiative supports programs that unlock public and private investments in early childhood development, increase the supply and reach of evidence-based interventions, and accelerate innovation and knowledge sharing.

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