Philanthropy and government launch early literacy efforts, My Brother’s Keeper initiative and more

Erica WoodThe first half of this year has proven to me like never before that when philanthropy works on common ground with government, the combination can be one of the most powerful forces for community change. Let me give you a few recent examples. 
In late May, I was honored to speak at the launch celebration for The Big Lift, a bold social venture to ensure that all children in San Mateo County can read well by the end of third grade. This effort – which ultimately will benefit Silicon Valley’s economy with a strong local workforce – is a partnership of Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the County of San Mateo and the San Mateo County Office of Education. More than 200 school personnel, businesspeople, local government officials and concerned individuals have joined together to bring this initiative to life.
This summer, our first Big Lift grant recipients will begin adding new preschool spaces and enhancing the quality of existing spaces to improve literacy outcomes for young children. Read more about The Big Lift and how you can get involved.
Similarly, SVCF partnered in May with San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo’s office to host a local action summit for My Brother’s Keeper, President Obama’s initiative to create better opportunities and outcomes for boys and young men of color nationwide. Attended by more than 140 people from around the Bay Area, the summit was a first step toward developing Silicon Valley-specific solutions that can help guide more boys and young men of color to bright futures.
We will also have news soon about our work with San Jose Learns, a working group of experts from education and philanthropy who are collaborating to address the challenges of economic disparity by expanding after-school programs for children in Kindergarten through third grade. As always, we welcome new partners in these and other efforts to improve life in the Bay Area and the future of this wonderful community. Please email me if you’d like to help.