When Reducing Opportunity Gaps Among Children, It’s All Hands On Deck

Prioritizing learning as early as the age of three helps ensure children are Kindergarten-ready, and can have a positive impact that reverberates throughout the child’s life. However, many families are unable to afford costly preschool education, which creates an opportunity gap between their children and the children whose families can afford to send them to preschool. This is a reality for many families in San Mateo County, where there is an ever-widening Inequality Gap.

Recognizing the need to address this opportunity gap, a bold social venture known as The Big Lift was formed to make early childhood education a reality for all within San Mateo County. This is accomplished by providing connected learning experiences for preschool to third grade-aged children, reducing chronic absence and summer learning loss, and encouraging families to support learning both in school and at home.

Tasked with the immense goal of turning this dream into a reality, The Big Lift tapped into San Mateo County’s philanthropic network. So far, they have raised $33.5 million with the help of more than a dozen agencies, from Kaiser Permanente and Google.org to the County of San Mateo and United Way of the Bay Area. This coming together of public and private organizations to tackle an important issue is radical collaboration at its finest.

We at PVF are dedicated to leveling the playing field in public education – as can be seen through our immediate response teacher grant programs and discretionary grants to principals. We are proud to support The Big Lift’s visionary mission to make early childhood education in San Mateo County accessible for all. This is why our Executive Director, James Higa, sits on The Big Lift’s advisory board, and why we gave $20,000 in seed funding this past May. When it comes to reducing opportunity gaps among our community’s children, it’s all hands on deck.

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