21st Century Education Program
Pathways for Success Program

Community Need & Philanthropic Response


Silicon Valley boasts one of the largest economies in the world, yet many of our residents are low income, struggling economically, and experiencing barriers to opportunity. To stay economically competitive and ensure a vibrant region for all of our residents, we need a talented workforce that can meet the demands of our innovation-focused economy and engage in our community. We must work together to capture the full potential of students, individuals, and families ensuring all in Silicon Valley have access to high quality educational opportunities and pathways to economic prosperity. We want to do our part to close this opportunity gap — strengthening the ability of the educational system to produce higher-level academic outcomes for underserved students; and increasing and ensuring pathways to economic mobility for underserved communities in Silicon Valley.


21st Century Education


SFF’s 21st Century Education grantmaking expands avenues for low-income and English learner students to attain a college credential through improved educational quality, equity and choice, thereby increasing their economic opportunity.


In Silicon Valley, an astonishingly high number of our students are low income, struggling academically, and lack access to high quality school options. Many of these students are English language learners, attending schools that are not equipped to respond effectively to this challenge.SFF’s 21st Century Education grantmaking aligns supply and demand of high-quality schools, and stimulates innovation that can positively impact the local education systems in Silicon Valley.


21st Century Education Program Activities

  • Educational Leadership
  • Teacher pipeline and development
  • Effective resource allocation
  • School quality & accountability
  • High quality options through school choice

Pathways for Success


SFF’s Pathways for Success grantmaking increases economic opportunity for low-income individuals and families to ensure the participation and contribution to a vibrant Silicon Valley across generations.


More than a third of Bay Area workers earn less than $18/hour, and the majority of these earn less than $12—well below a living wage. Growth in middle-wage jobs (positions that do not require a 4-year post-secondary degree) has not kept pace with that of the low- and high-wage sectors. And barriers to effective training and job experience keep what opportunities exist out of reach—curbing economic mobility for hundreds of thousands of Silicon Valley residents.* SFF’s Pathways for Success grantmaking focuses on strengthening the pipeline to living wage, middle-skill jobs and supporting individuals to fully capitalize on increased opportunities by building economic stability and resiliency.


Pathways for Success Program Activities

  • Connecting to careers through exposure and work experience
  • Advancing skills and careers through career pathways
  • Small business and entrepreneurship
  • Rooting in the local economy and community
  • Financial capability

* See Economic Prosperity Strategy: Improving economic opportunity for the Bay Area’s low- and moderate-wage workers
by SPUR, Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy, San Mateo County Union Community Alliance,
and Working Partnerships USA (October 2014) View pdf


Eligibility & Who To Contact


Through our strategic grantmaking, we fund grantees by invitation and are not soliciting proposals. If you wish to be alerted about future grant opportunities, please complete this online inquiry form.


Strategic Grantmaking Grantees


2016: 21st Century Education Grantees


ACE Charter Schools ($500,000 2-yrs)

Downtown College Prep ($500,000, 2-yrs)

KIPP Public Charter Schools ($500,000, 2-yrs)

Voices College-Bound Language Academy ($500,000, 2-yrs)

SFF provided grants to four charter school operators with a proven record of creating schools in Silicon Valley, where low-income and English Learner students experience high levels of academic growth and achievement. These resources will help create new, high-quality school seats for students in East San Jose, Redwood City, Morgan Hill, and other local communities.


Alpha Public Schools ($175,000)

To recruit and develop a highly-qualified, diverse cohort of outstanding teachers that are committed to teaching in underserved communities and improving student achievement and outcomes throughout San Jose.


Aspire University ($275,000, 2-yrs)

To grow the presence of Aspire University, an established and successful teacher residency program, in underserved Silicon Valley school districts and charter management organizations.


Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula ($175,000, 2-yrs)

To increase new teacher candidates committed to serving low-income and English Learner students in the Ravenswood and Redwood City school districts, by developing a pipeline for current after-school staff to enter as substitute teachers and paraeducators, as the first step towards teaching.


California Charter Schools Association ($300,000, 3-yrs)

Support for the advocacy and communication efforts of Bay Area charter schools as part of a comprehensive campaign to increase school access to available public facilities.


Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation ($237,000, 2-yrs)

To support California’s Department of Education and State Board of Eduation to develop “The California English Learner Roadmap” (EL Roadmap)—a master plan that articulates the state’s expectations for districts to implement effective programs and practices that ensure all ELs overcome language barriers and meet 21st century academic goals.


Californians Together ($375,000)

To support English Learner Leadership and Legacy Initiative to build new advocates and educational leaders who will be articulate, energetic and strategic in advancing educational policy, research and practices for English Learner students.


Education Pioneers ($400,000, 2-yrs)

To build a broad, deep, diverse bench of leadership and management talent in education organizations across Silicon Valley to ensure that teachers and students are as successful as possible inside the classroom.


National Academy of Advanced Teacher Education ($515,000, 2-yrs)

To grow the presence of the National Academy of Advanced Teacher Education (NAATE) as a new professional learning program available to Silicon Valley educators, beginning with three local non-district schools, identified by the Foundation, that serve a majority of low-income and English Learner students.


Relay Graduate School of Education ($600,000, 3-yrs)

To establish a Bay Area Campus for Relay Graduate School of Education to bring its leading-edge teacher training program to low-income communities in the region.


Silicon Schools Fund ($2,000,000, 4-yrs)

To invest in Silicon Schools’ Fund II, for the creation of 25,000 high-quality school seats in the Bay Area, while simultaneously building the evidence base and human capital systems necessary for long-term success of personalized learning approaches.


Californians for Justice ($450,000, 3-yrs)

PACT (People Acting In Community Together) ($375,000, 3-yrs)

Somos Mayfair ($225,000, 3-yrs)

To support a local coalition which focuses on fiscal responsibility through LCFF, and will also begin to educate and activate stakeholders to push school leaders in deepening their approach to measuring and reporting on school quality—as part of the state’s new accountability process for schools.


2015: 21st Century Education Grantees


City Year San Jose / Silicon Valley ($1,000,000, 3-yrs)

To widen program delivery across additional elementary and middle schools in East San Jose’s Alum Rock district, implement Expanded Learning Time in STEAM after school, extend its program model to preparing, transitioning, and retaining students at Overfelt High School, and increase the number of incoming high school students who participate in the A-G college preparatory course sequence.


New Teacher Center ($750,000, 3-yrs)

To broaden the reach and deepen the impact of New Teacher Center’s Professional Learning Communities (powerful models that improve teaching and learning by building collaborative cultures, and the capacity of both new and veteran teachers) in several East San Jose school districts.


Santa Clara University’s ExCEL Program ($1,150,534, 3-yrs)

An intensive three-year program emphasizing mentoring, community & cultural responsiveness, and technology to prepare and retain effective teachers with 21st century skill sets and pedagogies that improve student outcomes—increasing the number of high-quality credentialed teachers in Silicon Valley Catholic school classrooms.


2013 | 2014: 21st Century Education Grantees


Silicon Schools Fund ($2,000,000, 4-yrs)

To support the creation of a cluster of up to 25 blended learning schools in the Bay Area by 2017 that will serve as proof points for best practices and labs of innovation.


The BASIC Fund ($400,000, 4-yrs)

Support for (35) K–8 scholarships to high-quality private schools in Silicon Valley.


2016: Pathways for Success Grantees


Braven ($250,000, 18-mos)

To expand upon the design of Braven’s college-success course, to ensure low-income students develop the skills, professional network, and career-accelerating opportunities (internships/work experiences, mentoring, etc.) that support procuring a high-quality first job upon graduation.


Genesys Works Bay Area ($300,000, 3-yrs)

To support the growth and sustainability of Genesys Works programming in San Jose, tripling the number of students per year, and building the foundation for grater expansion in Silicon Valley beyond the grant term.


Kiva San Jose and the Peninsula ($250,000, 3-yrs)

To support the growth of Kiva San Jose and the Peninsula to become a primary capital source for underserved, financially excluded small businesses in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties – with an aim to preparing these small businesses for mainstream credit access.


Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, Opportunity Youth Partnership ($275,000, 2-yrs)

To improve education, employment and self-sufficiency outcomes for Opportunity Youth in Santa Clara County by serving as a catalyst for interagency and regional problem solving and facilitation the collaboration of social service providers, public agencies, and employers.


Puente de la Costa Sur ($145,000, 2-yrs)

To support the Youth Leadership and Employment Program, refining the employment and work experience programming to provide robust and tailored job readiness, employment, and enrichment to meet the developmental needs of at-risk youth on the rural south coast of San Mateo County.


Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center ($350,000, 2-yrs)

To support women-focused entrepreneurship and empowerment training in San Mateo County and launch new women-focused services in Santa Clara County.


United Way Bay Area, SparkPoint ($375,000, 3-yrs)

To launch and operate a SparkPoint Center in San Jose to help low-income individuals and families in Santa Clara County increase income, build credit, and accumulate assets. SparkPoint is an integrated service delivery model that connects workforce and educational systems with nonprofits and public support, making services accessible, streamlined, and data driven.


2015: Pathways for Success Grantees


Jewish Vocational and Career Counseling Services ($200,000, 2-yrs)

To support the expansion of BankWork$ in Silicon Valley — a program that trains young adults from low income and minority communities for lasting careers in the financial services industry.


Job Train ($200,000, 2-yrs)

Support for Partnership for Bridging the Digital Divide—a collaboration with Cañada College and Sequoia Adult School that creates career pathways to tech jobs through a 16-week college-credit coding skills training program, individualized evaluation and follow-up, job placement, and supportive wraparound services for students.


McKinsey Social Initiative ($200,000, 2-yrs)

Support for GenTech; a tech pathway program within the larger MSI Generation initiative that prepares disconnected youth for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) positions. GenTech works directly with local employers to identify pertinent job and skill gaps to inform curriculum and training, provides technical skills along with professional behavior training, provides mentoring to support students through program completion, job search and placement, and works with other community organizations to secure wraparound services for participants.


Silicon Valley Children’s Fund ($390,000, 3-yrs)

Helping scale their proven High School to College and Career Pathway programs and reach every foster youth in Santa Clara County. Their cohort model Pathway Project comprises SVCF’s Emerging Scholars, RISE, and YES programs—initiatives that provide high school academic mentoring, community-college coaching, and case management, scholarships, and sustained mentoring for foster youth attending vocational programs, community colleges, and universities in the County.


The Stride Center ($300,000, 3-yrs)

Expanding Stride Center’s successful ICT career development programs from the East Bay into Silicon Valley. Stride’s program provides industry-valued training, career navigation and job placement assistance through a part-time multi-week boot camp model—complementing other Silicon Valley programs.


Year Up Bay Area ($190,000, 2-yrs)

Help scale Year Up’s nationally-recognized model of career pathways and workforce development programs in Silicon Valley—doubling the number of students it serves with its high-support, high-expectations model of intensive ICT technical training, soft-skill preparedness, and on-the-job experience.