Making an Impact

The Sobrato Family Foundation has taken bold next steps this year to elevate and scale our investments to ensure that all families who call Silicon Valley home are safe, supported, and have opportunities for their children.

Developing Language and Literacy Skills of English Learners

Our classrooms are alive with motivated, engaged students, and teachers are collaborating in deeper ways than ever before. SEAL is a dynamic, empowering journey for students, teachers and parents.”

José Manzo, Oak Grove
School District
Superintendent
Students in SEAL classrooms practice academic language skills.

During our 20th-anniversary celebration, the Foundation announced a three-and-a-half-year investment of $29 million as part of a renewed, 10-year commitment to developing the language and literacy skills of California’s English learners. The increased investment aims to expand the successful Sobrato Early Academic Language (SEAL) educational model and to advance statewide policies that promote the academic success of every English learner in California.

The SEAL model is:

The SEAL model is built on the conviction that every child deserves an engaging and intellectually challenging education in supportive and inclusive classrooms to set them up to succeed in school and in life. The SEAL model was designed to show what research-based, high-quality education for English learners looks like in a strategic set of public schools across California, as an example for greater improvement and reforms.

Integrating this innovative model with a policy strategy, we hope to bring SEAL’s impact to scale. Initial investments in policy advocacy have led to early wins. For example, the work of SEAL, our team and partners culminated in the announcement of the English Learner Roadmap on July 12. The Roadmap is the first new English learners policy adopted in 20 years, articulating the state’s vision for English learners education and shaping the way forward for teachers and districts across California.

Supporting Dreamers

Advocates rally to support DACA. Photo: Vic Hinterlang

When we learned that President Trump had ordered an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), we reached out to our nonprofit partners to hear how this would impact their work and the Silicon Valley community members they serve. They shared with us their concerns and fears, and they inspired us with their dedication to stand together as a united community.

The most consistent, tangible need our grantee partners identified was support for DACA participants to file renewal applications. Responding to this need, our board unanimously approved two immediate actions. Within a week, the Foundation created a one-time fund of $150,000 to reimburse current Sobrato grantees for DACA application fees. In addition, we awarded five $25,000 grants to community organizations equipped to expertly respond to legal demands that DACA participants face. This funding allows teams to act flexibly without additional administrative burdens while they triage and address the needs of DACA participants and their families.