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Families Lead California Initiative Awards $4 Million to Strengthen Diverse Parent Leaders

The Heising-Simons Foundation’s Education program has awarded $4 million over two years to support 11 community-based organizations working to strengthen the pipeline of diverse parent leaders in California. This marks the second round of funding for these organizations, which are part of Families Lead California, an initiative that builds parent leaders’ power to influence policy to reflect the priorities of families with children ages 0-8 in the Golden State.

The 11 community-based organizations received new grants ranging between $400,000-$500,000, complementing the Foundation’s initial three-year grants. This new suite of grants brings the Foundation’s total investment in these organizations to $7.8 million over five years.

The Families Lead California cohort is comprised of the following organizations:

  • Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE)
  • Community Asset Development Redefining Education
  • BLU Educational Foundation
  • Inland Congregations United for Change
  • Gente Organizada
  • Family Resource Navigators
  • Children’s Network of Solano County
  • Cradle to Career Santa Cruz County
  • Parent Voices CA
  • La Luz Center
  • San Jose Grail Family Services

“Effective policymaking in early education must include the voices of parents and caregivers,” said Barbara Chow, program director for Education. “We are thrilled to provide these exceptional organizations with flexible funding, capacity building, and a facilitated peer learning community to develop parent leaders that can hold our systems accountable to meet family needs.”

Families Lead California was launched in 2021 through an open call for proposals. Since then, grantees have reached new families and offered more programming for their communities, while also finding ways to collaborate across organizations towards shared policy goals.

Recently, Program Officers of the Foundation’s Education program shared initial insights about Families Lead California in a Q&A for our blog.

Learn more about the Foundation’s Education program here.

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