Children, Families, and Communities

Children, Families, and Communities Program Timeline

Improving the lives of children was at the heart of our founder’s grantmaking. For over fifty years, the Foundation has supported strategies that let children reach their full potential. Our grantmaking approach addresses two interrelated and fundamental needs that must be met for our children to thrive: health and education.

Following is the timeline of the Children, Families, and Communities program since its inception.



The Foundation joins Blue Meridian Partners as a limited partner with the intent to commit up to $10 million to scale quality early childhood programs. Blue Meridian Partners is a collaborative-funding model of nine donors jointly investing at least $1 billion in high-performance nonprofits serving economically disadvantaged children and youth.


Health insurance now covers 95% of all U.S. children, but stark differences remain depending on where they live. We are working with partners to protect progress made and address these gaps. To continue this work, we have set a new goal of covering 98% of all U.S. children by 2020.


Starting Smart and Strong launches in Fresno, Oakland, and San Jose—a ten-year commitment to build strong communities that prioritize getting every child on track and ready to learn by age five. The three communities will focus locally to develop partnerships and use resources to support children and families. With the support of the Early Learning Lab, each community will develop projects to test and learn how best to provide adults with the training and support they need to ensure all young children learn and grow up healthy and ready for kindergarten.


Educare California at Silicon Valley opens its doors, serving 168 children ages 0-5. This high quality early learning programs houses classrooms, a family resource center, a satellite children’s museum, a career academy for high-school students, and a professional development institute that will help thousands of children and early childhood professionals in the region.


After nearly a decade, health coverage for all children in California becomes a reality. The state is one of eight Insuring America’s Children states to reach 95% insurance coverage for children. The Children’s Health Insurance Program is renewed through 2017.


The newly created Early Learning Lab begins work to accelerate the identification and scaling of effective engagement, education, and training interventions to create high-quality child development and early learning experiences for young children in California.


The Foundation’s Board of Trustees approves new strategic goals: improve the quality of early learning and developmental experiences for children in California from birth through age five; ensure strong implementation of the Affordable Care Act to expand access to high-quality health care for children and their families; and explore ways to connect the healthy development of children with their early learning experiences.


The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is signed into law, helping parents and their children access quality, affordable health care throughout the U.S. A total of 32 states have expanded their Medicaid programs as a result of the ACA, making it possible for low-income families to afford health care.


California’s Kindergarten Readiness Act passes, changing the admission birth date for children entering Kindergarten to age five by September 1. The Act also establishes a new grade level, transitional kindergarten, a developmentally appropriate program for children whose entry to kindergarten would be delayed by the change to the Kindergarten admissions date.


The Foundation commits $100 million to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford as part of a campaign to add 104 new beds to its Palo Alto campus and expand access to state-of-the-art treatments for local children.


The Foundation adds a component to its after-school strategy to expand access to summer enrichment opportunities for all California kids, based on emerging powerful research on learning setbacks that low-income children who lack access to summer programs experience.


Funds from Proposition 49—totaling $550 million annually—are set aside to extend learning and enrichment opportunities to 800,000 children. To support the rapid expansion of programs and providers, the Foundation provides assistance in planning for and building a statewide infrastructure to expand after-school programming throughout California.


The Foundation launches the Insuring America’s Children (IAC) multi-year grantmaking strategy to move all states toward the goal of attaining health coverage for every child, and begins to invest in ten states.


The Foundation makes a 10-year commitment to the Preschool for California’s Children grantmaking program to provide access to high quality preschool for all three- and four-year-olds in California, starting with the children who need it most.


California voters overwhelmingly approve Proposition 49, an initiative to ensure that California families with children in grades K–8 have access to safe and enriching places after the school day ends.


The Foundation provides seed funding to the Santa Clara Children’s Health Initiative (CHI) and launches the Child and Family Coverage Technical Assistance Center (CFCTAC) to scale CHIs across California.


The federal Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) passes, covering families who make too much for Medicaid but can’t afford private health insurance.