Press Release - The Big Lift Named Finalist in Google Impact Challenge

REDWOOD CITY, CA – The Big Lift, a collaboration between the San Mateo County Office of Education, the County of San Mateo, and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation that seeks to boost third-grade literacy rates, was recently named a top-ten finalist in the 2015 Google Impact Challenge Bay Area.

Google.org, along with a panel of ten external advisors, selected The Big Lift's Inspiring Summers Program to receive an initial grant of $250,000 with the opportunity to earn an additional $250,000 if the program scores in the top four after a three-week public voting period. The Big Lift's primary focus is on providing quality preschool for three- and four-year-olds, but the Google Impact funding will support the process of bringing inspiring summer programs to underserved populations in our communities.

In San Mateo County, only 35% of Latino, African-American, and Pacific Islander children are proficient in reading by third grade, which research has attributed in part to less access to summer learning opportunities. Students in disadvantaged circumstances can lose an average of two months in reading achievement over the summer when compared to their middle-income peers. By the end of fifth grade, these children may be nearly three grades behind their more affluent peers in reading, which makes them less likely to graduate from high school and enter college.

Anne E. Campbell, San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools, said of the challenge, "I'm tremendously excited, because the grant will help us create great summertime activities designed to prevent summer learning loss for students in our Big Lift communities. It's wonderful to have this vote of confidence from Google."

The Big Lift Inspiring Summers Program will be research based and designed not only to end summer learning loss, but also to provide exposure to new ideas and experiences, which in turn contributes to increased literacy. By 2018, The Big Lift plans to serve 2,000 county children each summer.

To vote for The Big Lift in the Google Impact Challenge, please visit https://goo.gl/9kUQeD. Voting ends October 20, 2015.

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