The Children, Families, and Communities Program strives to ensure that all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Our grantmaking strategies address two interrelated and fundamental needs that must be met for children to thrive: health and education.
While most middle-class children will be blessed with community, public, and family resources to help satisfy these basic needs, too many low-income children are uninsured, do not attend high-quality preschools, and have little opportunity to learn and grow in the hours after school and during the summer. Access to appropriate health care, to high-quality early learning, and to enrichment opportunities that are aligned with school are all evidence-based means of improving the life trajectories of low-income children.
California alone represents 13 percent of the nation’s children and 21 percent of California’s children live in poverty. While we concentrate most of our resources in California, we also work in other states and, across our subprograms, at the federal level.
In this context, we focus on preschool, after-school and summer enrichment, and children’s health insurance. Across our work, we support:
- Public policy reforms
- Systems improvements
- Research (very selectively)
- Communications and advocacy, and
- Constituency development.
We also fund groups and initiatives in targeted states and communities that demonstrate best practices, while informing and influencing the improvement of systems and policies.
Our grantmaking has three goals. The central goal is to create publicly supported, high-quality preschool opportunities for all 3- and 4-year-olds in California—starting with the children who need it most—via our Preschool for California’s Children subprogram. The Preschool subprogram also addresses federal early education policy. This focus stems from the Foundation’s broader interest in early childhood education, birth through third grade.
Through our Children’s Health Insurance subprogram, we also work to ensure that all children receive appropriate health care by creating nationwide systems that provide access to health insurance for all children. We work in over a dozen states and at the federal level.
Our third subprogram, After-school and Summer Enrichment, aims to strengthen California’s public commitment to school-based, after-school programs, while also spurring the expansion of these programs into summer. Such expanded learning opportunities that are aligned with the school day promote positive youth development for elementary and middle school children. The Foundation emphasizes literacy, good nutrition, and out-of-door experiences in these expanded learning settings. Here, too, we work at the federal level.