East Bay Business Times (California), July 31, 2008: East Bay Community Foundation to focus on education, jobs

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One of the Bay Area’s largest charitablefoundations has decided to focus most of its charitable giving betweennow and 2020 on early childhood education and expanding job and careeropportunities for adults.

The East Bay Community Foundationof Oakland, a nonprofit that manages assets of about $385 million andmade a record $60 million in grants during 2007-2008, made the decisionbased on client feedback, economic conditions and results of a studyrevealing sharp increases in poverty and high school dropout rates atthe same time unemployment is on the upswing in Alameda and ContraCosta counties.

The foundation’s efforts will have a geographic focus, too,emphasizing programs in the cities of Oakland and Richmond, east ContraCosta County and southern Alameda County.

“These are two areas that affect the well-being of every other partof a community,” said Nicole Taylor, the foundation’s president andCEO. “When people don’t have jobs, there are lots of negative resultsfor individuals and communities. And the way to ensure that’s less of aproblem in the future is by investing early in education … Studiesshow that when third-grade students are able to read and do math atgrade level, they have a much greater chance of graduating from highschool and going on to earning more money as adults.”

The study, compiled by consultants David Pontecorvo and NinaBohlen, found that more than 244,000 residents of Alameda and ContraCosta counties were living below the official federal poverty level in2006 and that 600,000 of the region’s nearly 2.5 million residents livein households earning less than the amount required to afford basicnecessities. It also revealed that 19 of 24 East Bay school districtssaw a decrease in their graduation rates from 2002 to 2007. | 925-598-1436

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