Photo: President Mohammed Chaudhry of San Jose Education Foundation.
San Jose, Calif. – Several nonprofit organizations in San Jose have joined forces to help preschool children prepare for a strong start in school, as part of a new five-year, $13 million commitment by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to invest in local strategies to improve school readiness in Santa Clara County.
The new partnership will assist those who are facing the greatest difficulties in school: low-income Latino and Southeast Asian children and families that have limited English fluency. Outreach efforts are beginning immediately in the Solari/Seven Trees neighborhood in Southeast San Jose, with additional services beginning within the next few months in Gilroy and the Mayfair neighborhood in East San Jose.
“This project will provide services most needed by our working families to help their children achieve success,” said San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales. “As a result of this innovative collaboration, San Jose parents will have better access to financial planning, health care, and quality childcare programs in their neighborhoods.”
In the Solari/Seven Trees neighborhood, the Franklin-McKinley Education Foundation, which received a funding commitment of $2.1 million over five years, will be the lead agency in creating a centralized “hub” of school readiness activities for hundreds of Latino and Vietnamese immigrant families annually.
These activities will feature outreach and education to families and child care providers, and coordinating school readiness efforts with other public and private initiatives.
“Strong early childhood programs help to strengthen families, build communities, and create a strong foundation for children’s success later in life,” said Muhammed Chaudhry, Executive Director of the Franklin-McKinley Education Foundation. “But families are diverse, and there is no single approach that can work. It is important to connect families to the specific services they need.”
In order to meet the diverse needs of families, the new school readiness partnership has adopted a flexible “hub and spoke” approach that builds on the work of the Children's and Families Commission of Santa Clara County (commonly known as FIRST 5), as well as other local groups. Under this model, the “hub” consists of centralized care managers who work with families on their school readiness needs and connect them to appropriate services (“spokes”). This approach has shown some early promise in reaching immigrant families who, due to issues of language and culture, have not been successful in accessing the services their families need.
“This hub-and spoke approach represents a strong effort by Knight Foundation to look at what has been working locally and to build on that by partnering with others,” said John Williams, Community Liaison for Knight Foundation in San Jose.
Using this “hub and spoke” approach, the partnership will begin by strengthening and expanding several important services that build school readiness:
- The Health Trust, which received $1.95 million over five years, will provide dental health education and preventative, restorative, and specialty dental services to 3,750 medically underserved children and families. “Tomorrow's school children will have a better chance to succeed because of this significant oral health initiative,” said Gary Allen, President & CEO of The Health Trust.
Lenders for Community Development, working with Catholic Charities, received $900,000 over five years to work with 150 low-income families to increase their economic stability by helping them save for the college education of adults and children. “This project will help families establish a regular pattern of savings early in their children's lives,” said Eric Weaver, Executive Director of Lenders for Community Development.
“Building early expectations and understanding of the benefits of a college education is crucial for maximizing a child's success in the K-12 system and beyond,” said Diane Saign, CEO of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County.
THE FRANKLIN-MCKINLEY EDUCATION FOUNDATION, in serving inner-city communities of San Jose, seeks to redefine community through the strategic support of education and youth development to 0 to 14 year olds and their families. THE HEALTH TRUST is a public benefit corporation committed to improving the health and wellness of at-risk, under served Santa Clara County residents. Focusing on children, frail elderly, and vulnerable adults, the Health Trust operates its own broad range of programs and services and issues grants to other health-related agencies.
LENDERS FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT (LCD) enables low-income individuals, families, and communities to create economic opportunity, build financial stability, and pursue self-sufficiency by providing asset-building opportunities for those who lack financial assets, and by investing in affordable housing, jobs and the supportive services people need to stabilize their financial lives.
CATHOLIC CHARITIES OF SANTA CLARA COUNTY works to strengthen families and build life-long economic self-sufficiency for the working poor through services that help build the foundation for long-term independence: housing, employment, education and behavioral health. The clients served include older adults, high-risk youth, and newly-arrived immigrants and refugees.
THE JOHN S. AND JAMES L. KNIGHT FOUNDATION promotes excellence in journalism worldwide and invests in the vitality of 26 U.S. communities.
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.