Announcement, News, Press Release

GreenLight Fund Bay Area Launches Fifth Portfolio Organization: ParentChild+

Feb 21, 2019

San Francisco Bay Area

Kate Schwass, Executive Director
GreenLight Fund Bay Area
1111 Broadway, 3rd Floor
Oakland, CA 94607
[email protected]

February 21, 2019

GreenLight Fund Bay Area and FIRST 5 Santa Clara County announce significant investment to launch evidence-based school readiness program, ParentChild+

San Jose, CA – After a year-long effort to identify high-performing nonprofit organizations with proven models for school readiness and social-emotional learning from around the country, the GreenLight Fund Bay Area (“GreenLight”) announced the selection of its fifth Bay Area portfolio organization – ParentChild+. ParentChild+, an evidence-based early literacy, parental engagement, and school readiness model, is committed to preventing the achievement gap by providing families with the knowledge, skills and materials they need to prepare their children for success in pre-kindergarten and beyond.

ParentChild+ brings Early Learning Specialists into the homes of families with children aged 2-4 who do not have access to quality early childhood programming. Working together with parents, they strengthen parent-child interaction and build language- and learning-rich homes that enhance children’s literacy, cognitive, and social-emotional skills, while supporting the transition to pre-k. In 54 years, ParentChild+ has documented important longitudinal impacts for families: children enter school as well or better prepared than their classmates, perform significantly better than their socio-economic peers on school readiness measures in kindergarten and first grade.  In third grade, Program children are reading and doing math on grade level and are 50% less likely to be referred to special education services. ParentChild+ children graduate from high school at the rate of middle-class children nationally – 30% higher than their socio-economic peers. The ParentChild+ network reaches over 7,400 families annually through 124 community-based partners, in 14 states.

GreenLight’s model is to assess the local community for assets and un-met needs, and then, with broad community support, invest in importing a proven nonprofit model to the local community to impact the identified issue area. Over the last year, GreenLight assessed the local San Jose landscape to determine opportunities for transformation, including urgent issues that are currently not being directly addressed, and where smart, effective approaches would make a significant difference in the lives of low-income children and families. After elevating several issue areas, GreenLight ultimately focused on school readiness and social-emotional learning (“SEL”) as key issue areas where there was not only a potential gap in services locally, but where there were ripe opportunities for investment and community energy to tackle these issues. GreenLight vetted over 90 organizations with an emphasis on identifying proven models focusing on school readiness and SEL and in partnership with their Selection Advisory Council made up of community leaders and stakeholders, selected ParentChild+ for investment.

“San Jose is a unique landscape with impressive attributes, yet inequality is extreme with the continued growth of family poverty and limited availability of early childhood services before pre-k, particularly services accessible to English Language Learning families,” says Sarah Walzer, Chief Executive Officer of ParentChild+. “We are proud to join forces with existing programs and organizations to contribute to a continuum of services that provide a pathway to school and life success by ensuring that underserved families have the experiences, information, and tools necessary to build early learning skills at home.”

Over the past year, GreenLight has worked with ParentChild+ to build exciting local partnerships with FIRST 5 Santa Clara County (“FIRST 5”) and Family Resource Centers operators SOMOS Mayfair and Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County. FIRST 5 has committed $600K over four years to support ParentChild+’s work, and SOMOS Mayfair and Catholic Charities have committed their staff’s time and early childhood expertise to be ParentChild+’s first replication partners in San Jose.

FIRST 5 is a catalyst for ensuring that the developmental needs of children are a priority in all sectors of the community. Home visitation and high-quality early care and education are core components of a comprehensive, integrated service delivery system. This approach enables FIRST 5 to focus on providing intensive, tailored services to children and families experiencing the highest level of need, while also working toward shifting community norms and systems that affect the health and well-being of Santa Clara County’s youngest children. “This partnership and the opportunity to pilot the Parent Child+ model aligns with our efforts, and investments, and what we do best: strengthening programs, policies, practices, partnerships, and systems to create an enduring positive impact on the capacity of families to support their children’s health, education, and well-being,” says Jolene Smith, Chief Executive Officer, FIRST 5 Santa Clara County.

SOMOS Mayfair and Catholic Charities serve as neighborhood hubs, providing high-quality support services to ensure children are ready for school, build strong family relationships and create connected schools and communities.

 “Catholic Charities is thrilled to be a partner in the launch of this innovative literacy-based home visitation model. To break the cycle of generational poverty, we need to start in the home engaging parents and their children through literacy. These are the first steps on the ladder out of poverty,” says Gregory R. Kepferle, Chief Executive Officer, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County.

“Partnering with ParentChild+ helps us complement the ecosystem we are building out in our neighborhoods. It’s a high-quality early learning and family engagement practice that aligns with our values of equitable access for children and economic opportunity pipelines for community members,” says Camille Llanes-Fontanilla, Executive Director, SOMOS Mayfair.

According to GreenLight Fund Bay Area Executive Director, Kate Schwass, “ParentChild+’s launch represents an exciting cross-sector literacy collaboration reaching an underserved population in San Jose. These partnerships are critical to the long-term sustainability and success of ParentChild+’s work in the city.” With these strong partnerships in place, ParentChild+ plans to launch its San Jose site in the fall of 2019. In its first year, ParentChild+ will serve approximately 100 families. Over the next four years, GreenLight will work closely with ParentChild+ to ensure ParentChild+’s long-term success, sustainability and growth.

About GreenLight Fund

The GreenLight Fund transforms the lives of children, youth and families in high-poverty urban areas by creating local infrastructure and a consistent annual process to: identify critical needs; import innovative, entrepreneurial programs that have a significant, measurable impact; and galvanize local support to help programs reach and sustain impact in the new city. Started in Boston in 2003, the nonprofit venture philanthropy organization launched the San Francisco Bay Area site in 2012. Additional GreenLight cities include Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Detroit, Kansas City and Philadelphia. Learn more about GreenLight Fund Bay Area.

About FIRST 5 Santa Clara County

Throughout its 20-year history, FIRST 5 has been a catalyst for change by developing cross-sector partnerships, convening partners who have the will and power to break down silos and barriers, and facilitating collective efforts to strengthen policies and practices of systems to create equitable outcomes for young children and their families. FIRST 5 is committed to achieving real and sustainable outcomes using a research-based approach to make strategic investments in neighborhoods where children are exposed to the greatest risk for poor developmental outcomes cumulative risk factors map. The research led to the development of the FIRST 5 Comprehensive, Integrated System of Care.

This comprehensive, integrated system reflects FIRST 5’s ecological, Whole-Person Care approach to strengthening families, communities, and systems by offering a continuum of services across three tiers: prevention/promotion, early intervention and treatment. This approach enables FIRST 5 to focus on providing intensive, tailored services to children and families experiencing the highest level of need, while also working toward shifting community norms and systems that affect the health and well-being of Santa Clara County’s youngest children.

Our unwavering vision is to be a catalyst for ensuring that the developmental needs of children prenatal through age 5 are a priority in all sectors of the community. The vision has served as our North Star, guiding our everyday efforts to invest in evidence-based programs, best practices, partnerships, and systems changes that will give every child a chance to thrive. Learn more about FIRST 5 Santa Clara County.

About ParentChild+

ParentChild+, formerly called the Parent-Child Home Program, uses education to break the cycle of poverty for under-resourced families with young children. Through an international network of program sites, ParentChild+ works one-on-one with families and with family child care providers to ensure children achieve their greatest potential in school and in life. Our dual models enable the Program to blanket underserved communities with school readiness supports and reach families with children four and under who would otherwise not be ready for school. Highly trained Early Learning Specialists engage families and FCC providers by modeling reading, conversation, and play activities. Through one-on-one visits to families and visits to providers and children in home-based care settings, ParentChild+ builds opportunities for the most vulnerable children and families. Since 1965, ParentChild+ has been assisting underserved communities in replicating and expanding these proven models, setting children on the road to school and life success and strengthening families, providers and communities. Learn more about ParentChild+. Starting in March when its name change is formalized, the new website address will be