Public Policy


Public Policy is an essential tool SVCF uses to ensure that every resident of Silicon Valley thrives. Our public policy work focuses on driving systemic change through grassroots advocacy, original research, candidate education, strategic convenings and direct lobbying. The public policy team works with local, state, and federal officials, as well as community partners, to develop and promote policy solutions for our region’s most challenging issues.

In 2020, SVCF will engage in three key public policy areas:

I. Housing

We support policies that produce more affordable housing with a specific focus on ensuring low income, very low income, and extremely low income (ELI) community members have a place to call home. We also support policies that protect tenants from unfair evictions and preserve our existing stock of affordable homes.

1. We Support Affordable Housing Production (like Senate Bill 50)

Although we are disappointed that Senate Bill 50 failed to pass the Legislature, we are supportive of public policy solutions designed to spur the construction of new affordable housing projects through the construction of duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes, in transit- rich areas which ultimately promote alternatives to driving. Our regioin's housing crisis demands bold solutions and we support the waiver or relaxation of local requirements for developers looking to build housing near transit. The bill also requires cities to demonstrate how they plan to add more housing units in a way that decreases transportation emissions.

For more information, check out:


  • Podcast: In Conversation with Senator Scott Wiener on how to address California’s housing challenges
  • SVCF Magazine: The Fight for Affordable Housing

2. We Support the Production of Accessory Dwelling Units (Senate Bill 773 & Assembly Bill 953)

In 2019, the California Legislature passed a package of bills designed to spur the production of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). According to the bills, if local government does not take action on a completed ADU application within 60 days, the application will be approved by default.

3. We Support Local Solutions to Our Homelessness Crisis (San Jose Measure E)

On December 6, 2019, San Jose Mayor Liccardo and the City Council voted to place a measure on the March 3, 2020 ballot designed to build more affordable homes and transition individuals experiencing homelessness into permanent shelter. The proposed real estate transfer tax on luxury residential and commercial property—defined as properties worth more than $2 million—would generate $50 million per year and polling has indicated broad public support.

San Jose is experiencing some of the highest economic growth in the country, topping the list of high-wage, high-growth jobs, and the largest percentage of venture capital investments. However, the city’s economic prosperity is not widely shared, and because of an extremely limited housing supply, it is increasingly difficult for residents to live where they work.

The cost of housing drives individuals into homelessness, and drives friends and family out of San Jose. The city is losing the people who keep the community safe including firefighters, nurses and police officers. The city is also losing the middle-class workers who keep San Jose running, including teachers, mechanics and bus drivers. Measure E is designed to help make it easier for these residents to afford living in San Jose.

For more information, check out:

  • Blog: The future of affordable housing, part II: Ending homelessness in Silicon Valley
  • Mercury News Editorial: A ‘yes’ vote on Measure E will help solve San Jose’s housing crisis

4. We Support the Partnership for the Bay Area’s Future

The Partnership for the Bay’s Future is a collaborative effort designed to address our region’s most pressing challenges. This includes a lack of housing, transportation struggles and economic inequality. The Partnership’s goal is to increase affordable housing and ensure vibrant communities of racial equity and economic inclusion.

For more information, check out:

  • Blog: Investing in our collective future: Nicole Taylor’s Regional Meeting update

II. Early Childhood Development and Education

We support policies that ensure expectant parents, young children and families in Silicon Valley get the care, education, and resources they need.

1. We Support the Expansion of Paid Family Leave

Silicon Valley is a region of stark economic contrasts. While great wealth is created here and many corporations provide generous benefits to their employees, many people struggle to make ends meet. Accounting for housing costs, nearly one in five residents of Silicon Valley is coping with significant economic hardship. Given our region's economic reality, it is more important than ever to support families.

Fifteen years ago, California enacted the nation’s first Paid Family Leave Program, now providing eight weeks of leave. However, eight weeks is simply not long enough to bond with a new child and far too many Californians struggle with the impossible choice of whether to care for their newborn child or jeopardize their job and economic security.

For more information, check out:

  • Blog: Tom Perez visits Silicon Valley Community Foundation to discuss importance of paid family leave

2. We Support the Reform of the California’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) Delivery System

The state’s current bifurcated reimbursement rate system limits access to care, fails to maximize program quality and forces many childcare providers out of business. Adopting this policy is crucial to begin developing a single, regionalized reimbursement rate system, since this reform will take several years to achieve and implement. To create a more effective ECE system, our state must transition to a reimbursement rate system that will better meet the needs of California’s young children, their families and their teachers.

3. We Engage and Education Candidates on the Importance of the Early Years

Choose Children Santa Clara County will engage and educate candidates for the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors in District 3 on the need to make early childhood care and education more accessible, affordable and higher quality. The campaign will conduct local voter surveys, host candidate forums and provide a clear set of policy priorities on how the next District 3 supervisor can make young children a top priority for the county.

For more information, check out:

  • Podcast: Getting Kids Ready for Kindergarten
  • Blog: A recap of how Choose Children 2018 educated 2018 California gubernatorial candidates on the importance of early childhood issues.
  • Press release: Recent polling shows that Santa Clara County residents want a Supervisor who will make young children a top priority.
  • Candidate forum: SVCF and Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits co-hosted a forum with SCC District 3 candidates former mayor Otto Lee and assemblymember Kansen Chu.

III. Schools and Communities First

1. We Support Schools and Communities First

Schools & Communities First is a statewide ballot measure designed to generate up to $12 billion annually in revenue for California’s K-12 public schools, community colleges and local governments. The measure is designed to “split the roll,” and assess commercial property—defined as property valued at more than $3 million—at its current assessed market value.

Schools & Communities First represents the first serious challenge to Proposition 13 in its 41-year history. In addition to being a financial supporter of the campaign, SVCF is deepening and enriching the debate by soliciting original research briefs from the nation’s most respected research institutions.

For more information, check out: