Federal funding cuts to The Big Lift hurt local student literacy programs

Erica Wood
Erica Wood
Chief Community
Impact Officer

We received some devastating news recently: Federal funding for The Big Lift, a crucial education initiative for low-income kids in San Mateo County, has been eliminated.

Specifically, the Social Innovation Fund was cut entirely from the federal budget in an agreement reached by Congress. The Social Innovation Fund was a major source of funding for The Big Lift, having already awarded $7.5 million to the program, with another $9 million expected to support The Big Lift’s work with students in the upcoming years. 

We need your help

By raising $1.5 million this year, SVCF and other leaders of The Big Lift can ensure continuity of services to children and families, and we will buy time to explore long-term, sustainable funding options for the initiative.

We ask that you make a donation now to The Big Lift and help us meet our short-term fundraising goal of $1.5 million.

Donate Now

In the short-term, without an additional $1.5 million this year, we estimate that:

  • 50 low-income children will lose access to preschool
  • 100 preschool teachers lose the opportunity for crucial training
  • 200  low-income children will lose access to the Inspiring Summers program

Please know that leaders of The Big Lift are working diligently to make additional contingency plans and raise replacement funds to mitigate the loss of $9 million in federal funding. In the meantime, The Big Lift is more dependent than ever on donations from individuals, families and organizations so that all San Mateo County students can learn to read by third grade. 

Thank you for your support and for providing opportunities for low-income children in San Mateo County!

The Big Lift
These students participated in The Big Lift's Inspiring Summers program at Spruce Elementary School in San Mateo County in 2016.

How The Big Lift helps our community's neediest children

In San Mateo County, just north of SVCF’s headquarters, close to half of children cannot read proficiently by third grade. Among children of color there, a staggering 70 percent cannot read proficiently by third grade.

SVCF and our Center for Early Learning are dedicated to helping our community’s children read and succeed. In 2015, Silicon Valley Community Foundation created The Big Lift in partnership with the County of San Mateo and San Mateo County Office of Education to focus on programs that improve the literacy skills of low-income children in San Mateo County.

Big Lift success story

The Inspiring Summers program, one of The Big Lift’s flagship efforts, provides high-quality education during the summer months.

In 2016, students who participated in the Inspiring Summers program gained the equivalent of one to two months of reading skills. This is a huge achievement, because on average, students in the United States lose two months’ worth of learning during the summer months.

Learn more about The Big Lift.