Philanthropy Now podcast: Why Third Graders’ Literacy is Vital to Silicon Valley’s Future

In SVCF's Philanthropy Now podcast series, we explore trends in the world of philanthropy, social impact initiatives in Silicon Valley and beyond, and look at how SVCF promotes innovative philanthropic solutions to challenging problems.

Avo Makdessian Andrea Jones
Avo Makdessian
VP, Director
Center for Early Learning at SVCF
Andrea Jones
Initiative Officer, The Big Lift
Center for Early Learning at SVCF

Today, Avo Makdessian, vice president and director of SVCF's Center for Early Learning, and Andrea Jones, initiative officer for The Big Lift, talk about The Big Lift program. The Big Lift is an initiative aiming to rapidly raise the literacy of our third-graders here in Silicon Valley.

Right now, only 50 percent of third graders are reading at grade level - which has stark implications for their education as they get older. Avo and Andrea discuss how the Big Lift is a four-part, comprehensive initiative that focuses on providing high-quality preschool, attendance, the summer gap, and family engagement. 

What you will learn

  • Why the third grade literacy milestone is so crucial to kids' educational development.
  • How the success of our children is critical to Silicon Valley's future.
  • The four key pillars of The Big Lift initiative. 
  • Why preschool has to be high quality to make a big impact.
  • The changes The Big Lift has made to preschools and summer programs already.
  • Some of the early wins The Big Lift has had for students and parents around the county.

Resources from this episode

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