Press Release - December 31, 2014

SVCF Announces $2.3 Million In Grants To Local Organizations

Awards will fight predatory payday lending, increase opportunities for immigrants to learn English and help students succeed in mathematics

MOUNTAIN VIEW — Silicon Valley Community Foundation announced that it has awarded a total of more than $2.3 million to support organizations in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties that are combatting predatory lending practices, helping immigrants learn English to progress in the workforce and improving disadvantaged students’ skills in mathematics.

“Silicon Valley Community Foundation is confident that these grants will provide lasting benefits for thousands of residents in our two counties,” said Manuel Santamaría, SVCF’s vice president of strategic initiatives and grantmaking. “Curbing payday lending increases the chances of long-term financial security for low-income families. Those who learn English become more productive workers and more integrated into Silicon Valley. And helping students to master mathematics in the middle-school years boosts their ability to succeed in academics and career for a lifetime.”

Grant amounts range from $20,000 to $237,000 and are spread among three of the community foundation’s grantmaking focus areas: economic security, immigration and education. The grants were approved at a December meeting of SVCF’s board of directors.

Of the total amount granted, $767,000 was awarded to seven nonprofit organizations that advocate against the expansion of payday lending operations, which frequently trap low-income borrowers in a cycle of debt. The work of these grantees is aligned with SVCF’s grantmaking strategy on economic security, which aims to increase availability of financial education and reduce predatory lending to help families achieve greater economic security.

Among  the economic security grantees:

  • Law Foundation of Silicon Valley will receive $237,000 to support the Coalition Against Payday Predators, a collaboration of community-based organizations working to limit reckless payday lending across Santa Clara County and pave the way for better consumer lending alternatives.
  • Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto will receive $55,000 to reduce the negative impact of payday lending in southern San Mateo County through delivery of comprehensive community education and outreach, advocacy for local ordinances and a campaign to support implementation of tough new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rules at the federal level.

A total of $726,532 was awarded to 13 organizations that develop and maintain high-quality programs and processes for immigrants to learn English. In turn, these programs help people get ahead in their new communities. The work of these grantees is aligned with SVCF’s grantmaking strategy on immigration, which promotes mutual benefits for immigrants and their receiving communities while enhancing newcomers’ civic participation and improving their chances for economic mobility.

Among the grantees for adult English language acquisition:

  • Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley will receive $60,000 to support the vocational English As A Second Language “Connections to Work” program.
  • San Mateo Community College Foundation will receive $80,024 for the English for the Workforce Award program at Cañada College.

Grants totaling $829,700 will go to support 17 organizations whose programs align with SVCF’s grantmaking strategy for education. These grants are specifically directed toward a substrategy supporting out-of-school programs – those offered before and after school and during the summer break – for students struggling to succeed in math, many of whom are students of color and/or from low-income families. SVCF’s evaluations show that students who participated in SVCF-funded programs are almost twice as likely to be on track for college as similar students who did not participate in such programs.

Among the grantees for out-of-school education awards:

  • ALearn will receive $75,000 for a year-round intervention program that improves the academic proficiency of more than 1,300 low-income middle school students who are performing “below grade level” in pre-algebra and algebra courses.
  • Jose Valdes Math Foundation will receive $85,000 to support the Summer Valdes Institute, an intensive summer program for more than 200 students who are performing one to four years below their grade levels in mathematics.

To view complete lists of grantees by category, click here.

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About Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Silicon Valley Community Foundation makes all forms of philanthropy more powerful. We serve as a catalyst and leader for innovative solutions to our region’s most challenging problems, and through our donors we award more money to charities than any other community foundation in the United States. SVCF has more than $6 billion in assets under management. As Silicon Valley’s center of philanthropy, we provide thousands of individuals, families and corporations with simple and effective ways to give locally and around the world. Find out more at http://www.siliconvalleycf.org.