New SVCF report finds that a small fraction of Silicon Valley donors give to early care and learning, but increased awareness can boost donations

New Silicon Valley Community Foundation Report Finds That a Small Fraction of Silicon Valley Donors Give to Early Care and Learning, But Increased Awareness Can Boost Donations

Despite the pandemic putting a spotlight on the importance of childcare and educational support systems, only 15% of Silicon Valley donors give to early childhood development. Silicon Valley Community Foundation aims to use this data to drive more funding into the space

Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) today released a report that discusses the transformative nature of high-quality early care and education programs, examines current Silicon Valley philanthropic investment in early childhood, and provides guidance for increased giving in the space. The report is titled “Big Gifts for Little Learners: Making the Case for Philanthropic Investment from Pregnancy through Preschool.”

According to the report, 40% of respondents said that when considering causes or groups to give to, demonstrated impact would lead them to choose one cause or group over others. Yet despite robust research demonstrating the many benefits of early care and learning, only 15% of donors in Silicon Valley give to this field. Proven positive benefits for children and their families include permanent increases in children’s IQ, better health outcomes, and gains in maternal workforce participation.

The report also reveals that increased awareness of early care and learning may be the key to unlocking more philanthropic dollars for the sector.

“Early care and learning is a big sandbox – covering everything from prenatal care to teacher training – and we need to convince more donors to play in it. This report intends to do just that,” said Nicole Taylor, CEO of Silicon Valley Community Foundation. “All families and their children deserve equitable access to high-quality programs that will foster healthy development and vibrant futures. We hope that this report spurs a bigger discussion among donors and the broader public alike, and catalyzes more funding and support for early care and learning.”

Authored in collaboration with Whiteboard Advisors and with a foreword from Dr. Priscilla Chan, co-founder and co-CEO of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the report highlights the tremendous impact of investments in early childhood learning, growth, and development beginning at birth—not just preschool. The report proposes that increased philanthropic investments in high-quality early care and education programs can lead participants to better economic and educational outcomes. Using this report, SVCF aims to drive more philanthropic capital to the early care and learning sector by building awareness and demystifying the space.

"Everyone in Silicon Valley is impacted by the lack of childcare -- from the working parents who clean office buildings after hours or who run a Fortune 500 company, to the early educators that families depend on for the developmental, learning and social needs of their children. Our community can’t prosper without quality, accessible and affordable childcare for all families," said Mary Ignatius, the Statewide Organizer of Parent Voices. The group is a grassroots organizing initiative bringing parent perspectives into the legislative process in California and advocating for accessible and affordable high-quality child care, with a featured case study in the report.

SVCF, which has a long history of commitment to early childhood development, works with leaders in every sector to expand public and private investment in early care and education and advance policies and conditions that support the optimal development of young children.

“Ensuring that the early care and learning sector has the resources to provide high-quality care to all Bay Area families is a social and economic imperative,” said Christine Thorsteinson, director of early childhood development at SVCF. “Through advocacy, grantmaking, research, connection and activation, SVCF seeks creative solutions to ensure a vibrant and healthy early care and learning system in Silicon Valley.”

Read the full report here.