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

In our newest episode, we hear from two SVCF staff members from our Center for Early Learning (CEL) about The Big Lift, an important initiative aiming to close the literacy gap in San Mateo County, located just north of SVCF's headquarters.

Avo Makdessian, vice president and director of CEL, joins Andrea Jones, initiative officer for The Big Lift, to provide an update on why The Big Lift programs for kids matter --  and how their success is crucial to Silicon Valley's future. 

Right now, only 50 percent of third graders in San Mateo County are reading at grade level. When students are behind by third grade, there are 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 programs, including preschool, attendance, summer education 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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