Six San Joaquin Valley nonprofits received $800,000 to fund new programs to support families and help children up to 8 years old improve their educational experience by third grade.
The Central Valley Community Foundation, formerly the Fresno Regional Foundation, awarded grants in November to organizations in Fresno and Tulare counties in the foundation’s 4-year-old High Impact Grants initiative.
“Supporting parents and their children from birth to 8 years old for success by the third grade helps families carve a pathway out of poverty, ultimately benefiting the whole Valley,” said Celia Maldonado Arroyo, a member of the Tulare County Board of Education and the foundation’s board of directors.
The foundation pursued a Valley-wide outreach to identify communities that support the education of children living in poverty, according to Hugh Ralston, the foundation’s president and CEO.
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“We believe this type of integrated support of children and families will be most successful if we concentrate our resources in a few specific communities,” Ralston said.
Over the past three years, Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified School District, The Woodlake Family Resource Center and Reading and Beyond in Fresno had an impact in these areas and received funding again this year.
The Cutler-Orosi district increased parent engagement after a program funded with a 2013 High Impact Grant. The district re-allocated money from its Local Control and Accountability Plan to match the foundation’s funding dollar for dollar.
The Woodlake Family Resource Center offers barbershops that promote reading to children and set aside space for toys and books in their shops and health care workers that distribute books and encourage parents to read to their children.
Reading and Beyond, a three-year partner of the foundation, helps families and children in disadvantaged communities. In 2013, the program partnered with the Fresno Housing Authority to provide youths and families with at-home literacy programs. The Housing Authority now funds the programming that Reading and Beyond started, allowing Reading and Beyond to expand to a new site with continued partnership with the foundation.
After receiving a multiyear grant from The James Irvine Foundation in 2011, which was extended in 2014, the foundation partnered with community members to support children’s success by the third grade.
The 2015 High Impact Grant recipients of the $800,000 grant also include the Boys & Girls Club of Tulare and Fresno counties and the California School-Based Health Alliance.
In Tulare and Fresno counties, the California School-Based Health Alliance received a $50,000 one-year planning grant for the School-Based Health Center Early Childhood Collaborative, which promotes success for 4,000 students.
In Fresno County, Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County and Reading and Beyond received $200,000 over two years with their programs that help improve literacy.
In Tulare County, The Woodlake Family Resource Center received $160,000 over two years for Abriendo Puertas, a new program developed to equip disadvantaged parents by providing targeted support to help them be more active in their child’s education.