Cradle to Career will use grant to help Valley children

Local organization Cradle to Career received a $710,000 grant from The James Irvine Foundation, which will advance goals of improving children’s lives in the Central Valley, said Cradle to Career spokeswoman Linda Gleason.

Cradle to Career has immediate goals for the grant, which include increasing kindergarten readiness and third-grade reading proficiency by 10 percent a year and achieving a 100 percent countywide high school graduation rate by 2020. Gleason said local studies have shown high school graduation rates and third-grade reading proficiency aren’t up to par.

The Cradle to Career partnership is also focused on tracking indicators that Gleason said measure progress as a community, including: that children through age 3 are thriving; that children are ready for kindergarten; that they meet reading and math proficiency by third grade and middle school; that they graduate high school; that they pursue – and complete – postsecondary education; and they maintain good health.

Cradle to Career’s success model is based on a national model, Strive for Success, that connects organizations to support the success of children. Cradle to Career has 37 partners from nine sectors in the Valley, including superintendents from local schools, a Fresno County public defender, and various officials of local health, philanthropy and business organizations.

These partnerships enable the organization to offer diverse programs, Gleason said, and to identify and replicate practices that have been proven to work to achieve success.

Cradle to Career evolved in 2015 out of a local business and education coalition called Fresno COMPACT. The organization also partners with its fiscal agent, Central Valley Community Foundation.

Ashleigh Panoo: 559-441-6010, @AshleighPan