Early Childhood Development

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Every child deserves the best possible start in life.

Children are born learning and the care and education they receive in their first years of life are the building blocks to future success in the classroom, in the workforce and in life. Silicon Valley is one of the wealthiest regions in the nation, but our communities are plagued by stark inequities deeply rooted in long-standing systems of racial injustice that stack the deck against our youngest and most vulnerable children who are Black and/or Latinx, low income, have undocumented status and/or special needs.

Early Childhood Development at Silicon Valley Community Foundation works to dismantle systemic barriers and give all children and their families access to the care, education and resources they need to flourish.

Whether it’s through advocacy, grant making, research, connection or activation, we look for creative solutions to ensure a vibrant and healthy early care and learning system in Silicon Valley.

What We Do

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.

Catalyzing Investment

Catalyze Philanthropic Investment. We leverage our position in philanthropy to increase local, state and national philanthropic investment in young children and their families.

We commission research to determine how to expand philanthropic investment in early care and education. Our work provides relevant data, draws attention to the need and opportunities for investment, and offers a roadmap for how leaders in the field can motivate and maintain long-term investments in their work to support children and families.

We educate our donors on early childhood issues and provide opportunities for engagement and philanthropic investment in the field.

Hear directly from local nonprofits in a recording of SVCF’s Strong Starts Matter webinar: Early Care and Education in East Palo Alto. This webinar is part of a donor education series, connecting SVCF’s philanthropists to local community needs.

We invite you to support innovate, high-quality early care and education nonprofits advancing equity in education in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties in SVCFs Early Childhood Care and Education Giving Guide.


Activating Leadership

Activate Leadership. We build public will and support civic leadership across sectors to prioritize early care and education as a critical investment in the current and future economic success of Silicon Valley.

Our Choose Children initiatives help make sure that our next elected officials are champions for young children. 

We identify, connect and support local, state and federal advocates to raise the voice of young children and those that care for them.


Support Learning and Action

Support Learning and Action. We increase the availability of high-quality early care and education in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

We provide strategic grants to organizations working to improve the viability of the childcare industry for early care professionals with robust pathways for career preparation, advancement and entrepreneurship.

We provide leadership for The Big Lift, a bold early learning program that aims to lift up the children of San Mateo County by providing quality preschool, summer learning programs and supporting ongoing family engagement and school attendance.

We conduct, publish and disseminate research to increase knowledge among diverse stakeholders about key early childhood issues in Silicon Valley.


Silicon Valley Community Foundation has a long history of commitment to early childhood development. As we take this opportunity to spur greater momentum for action and investment in early care and education we will build upon the significant work of the Center for Early Learning, and continue to collaborate with and lift up our many partners in this critical work.

Research and Resources

Kindergarten Readiness Guide

Living and Learning Well in a Digital World

Tech Report

Kindergarten Readiness Guide

This guide gives California families tools and tips to prepare their children for a successful launch into kindergarten. Read the full guide above or watch the video series.


Living and Learning Well in a Digital World

In this rapidly changing world of technology, we understand the struggle between embracing the promise of a digital world and knowing how and when to use technology in a developmentally appropriate way with young children. Learn more 

Early Childhood Technology Use Findings

Findings from a study on the use of technology with young children in Silicon Valley.

Facilities Report

Parent Story Project

Connecting Home and the Pediatrician’s Office to Achieve School Readiness in Silicon Valley

San Mateo County Child Care and Preschool Facilities Task Force Report

This task force recommends a unified and coordinated countywide effort be developed to focus solely on the development and sustainability of child care and preschool facilities in San Mateo County. Learn more 

Building Learning Communities

This guide is intended to help California educators identify strategies and resources to support the implementation of a PreK–3 approach.

Connecting Home and the Pediatrician’s Office to Achieve School Readiness in Silicon Valley

Pediatricians are families’ most trusted source for support. Pediatricians and researchers from the Department of Pediatrics at Stanford School of Medicine have increasingly recognized the importance of promoting school readiness among all low income patients.

Big Gifts for Little Learners



Big Gifts for Little Learners: Making the Case for Philanthropic Investment From Pregnancy Through Preschool

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

View SVCF's publications archive for more