San Joaquin A+ awarded the grant in collaboration with the Stockton Children’s Cabinet, Local Early Childhood Education Providers, and Stockton Area School Districts.
Stockton, CA [January 25, 2021] – The California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) voted to finalize an award for a $4.6 million grant to local non-profit San Joaquin A+ late last week for a pilot program of their Child Savings Account Grant Program in Stockton.
The Child Savings Account Grant Program (CSA Grant Program) was enacted in the 2019-20 State Budget to support local governments and nonprofit organizations to sponsor or collaborate on comprehensive citywide or regional child savings account programs. The $4.6M grant from CSAC was the largest of its kind in the State and was three times larger than any other grant awarded (the full list of preliminary grants, which were announced in December and approved January 21, is available here). The grant will support the launch of a city-wide pilot program in fall of 2021.
“We are extremely grateful to the California Student Aid Commission Members for this grant, and for their decision to invest in the children of Stockton,” said Don Shalvey, CEO of lead grantee San Joaquin A+. “We also want to thank the civic leaders from across San Joaquin County who came together to make this application a success. We know how impactful this grant award and pilot program can be for the city of Stockton, and look forward to working together to create a bright future for the children of our region.”
As currently outlined, in partnership with the Stockton Children’s Cabinet, early childhood education providers, and Stockton area school districts, San Joaquin A+ will utilize the $4.6 million CSAC grant to create a program serving eligible 3- and 4-year olds enrolled in income-based, high-quality early childhood programs, such as Head Start (upwards of 4,000 students). With a $750 deposit into a 529 ScholarShare account, these funds will reach a projected value of at least $1,800 upon high school graduation, and up to $2,275 if families maximize other available incentives, for children to put toward their post-secondary education.
“We look forward to collaborating with San Joaquin A+, the children’s cabinet, and the many important leaders in early childhood education organizations across Stockton to make this a reality for our families,” added Lindy Turner Hardin, Executive Director of the Child Abuse Prevention Council of San Joaquin County, a leading early childhood education non-profit in Stockton. “We know how important it is to invest in a child’s future early in their life, and providing each of these families with a savings account that they can watch grow over time will give them a new and exciting sense of possibility for their futures.”
Stockton leaders came together in January to make the case for a pilot program of this size directly to CSAC members, noting that there is an especially pressing need in Stockton where 20.5% of residents live in poverty (compared to 12.8% statewide), and particularly for Stockton students, where 80% of students are socioeconomically disadvantaged. These conditions are compounded by low levels of intergenerational education attainment, with just 17.7% of Stockton’s adults holding a bachelor degree or above.
With the largest grant of this kind in the State, this program aims to counter these challenging trends by investing in education early in a child’s life. Specifically, the CSA program will: Provide financial support to overcome barriers to postsecondary attainment; incentivize enrollment in and demonstrate demand for high quality preschool; and make a long-term Impact economic mobility, social-emotional health, and educational attainment.
“At El Concilio, we see the challenges young families face every day,” shared Jose Rodriguez, President and CEO of El Concilio, the largest Latino-based, non-profit agency in California’s Central Valley. “Making this financial investment is not just about dollars and cents. It will give our children a sense of stability and comfort as they move through school, and will provide them with an incentive to strive for educational opportunities after high school where they can put it to good use.”
In order to build on the initial pilot – and sustain the grant long-term – local leaders plan to pursue a range of possible future funding sources, with a goal of reaching a $22.5 million endowment earning 5% interest annually. If this can be achieved, the program aims to generate a 75% college going rate for participants, with approximately 1,500 children annually receiving the $750.
“This pilot program is very exciting, but perhaps more important, will be our ability to make it a permanent program,” continued Shalvey. “In San Joaquin County, we all know that the quality of our crops is dependent on the water and care they receive early on. With this pilot program, we can show that with the same level of care for the youngest students in our community, each and every one of them will grow to fully realize their potential.”
To learn more about the Statewide grant program, visit the CSAC site: https://www.csac.ca.gov/csa