Communities that have participated in our learning community – partial list

The representatives of the cities and counties participating in our learning community work collaboratively to promote the goal of creating dedicated revenue streams for children, youth and their families throughout the state.

Link to mission statement of the network.

Alameda County

A tax sales tax measure to fund early care was placed on the ballot in June 2018.  It received 66.2% of the vote – just short of the 2/3 needed.  The campaign brought together key partners: Early childhood experts and service providers, SEIU, two champions from the Board of Supervisors, the local community foundation, and Parent Voices.  Each is played a key role in the development of the measure and a campaign.   The coalition, with the addition of Children’s Hospital Oakland, has reconvened and is collecting signatures for a 2020 measure.  (more information under Participating Communities, overview and featured communities)

Del Norte County

First 5 Del Norte has led the effort to advocate for and create a Children’s Budget, that includes a resource map of existing services and an analysis of funding allocated to prevention versus late intervention.  It is now a tool for the community and the Board of Supervisors to use during annual budget processes.

FACT: 58% of families cannot afford basic living expenses.
Source: Children Now 2014-15 California County Scorecard

Los Angeles

In late 2018, a coalition, New Fund for Children and Youth, was formed in Los Angeles to explore the feasibility of a dedicated children and youth fund in the county.  The Coalition represents more than 40 organizations providing services for young people, ages 0 to 24.  A Steering Committee has been meeting throughout 2019, and has selected the Children’s Health Councils as its backbone, sponsoring organization.  The Coalition is building on the work of many organizations and coalitions fighting for adequate funding for positive child and youth development, including the Youth for Justice Coalition, Khmer Girls in Action in Long Beach, and First 5 Los Angeles.

FACT: LA has a serious gang violence problem, with 75% of gang homicides in California occurring in Los Angeles.

Napa County

Napa started its work with a core group comprised of representatives of the Department of Public Health, the First 5 Commission and a non-profit family support agency leading the effort to get dedicated funding. They convened 2 conferences introducing the goal of dedicated funding and creating a Children’s Bill of Rights – involving over 40 public officials and public and private service providers.  They successfully advocated the approval of a Bill of Rights and creation of a Children’s Budget with the Board of Supervisors.  With that work complete, they created a steering committee under the auspice of Cope Family Center, hired a coordinator for Funding the Next Generation Napa, developed plans for a dedicated funding stream and conducted education and outreach throughout the community.  They negotiated with the Board of Supervisors to make children’s services a priority in a June, 2016, ballot measure for a half-cent sales tax.  The measure gained a lot of attention and provided the platform for a major public education campaign – important in Napa County since so many decision-makers and influential citizens were under the misapprehension that there were no disadvantaged young people in their community.  While the measure came close at 46%, it did not pass.  Not planning to give up, the Steering Committee of the measure is re-grouping and planning its next steps.

FACT: 34% of Napa families live below 200% of the federal poverty level ($42,000 for a family of 4)
Source: Napa County Comprehensive Community Health Survey

City of Richmond

Led by RYSE, a youth empowerment non-profit, an Invest in Youth coalition was formed with the goal of securing a fund and a city department that meets the needs of children and youth. They have submitted a measure to the Registrar of Voters and collected enough valid signatures to have their measure placed on the ballot in 2018.  The measure, called Richmond Kids First, would create a carve-out of $4 Million in the city budget for a Children and Youth Fund

FACT: 27% of children and youth live below the federal poverty level.

Source: US Census

City of Sacramento

Campaign 1 – City Councilmember, Jay Schenirer spearheaded an effort to create a sustainable source of funding for children, youth and family services, and a new Office of Youth Development within city government.  The measure would have placed a tax on marijuana dispensaries to fund the Sacramento Children and Youth Fund.  Despite opposition from the major newspaper of the city, the measure garnered 65.8% of the vote – falling just short of the 2/3 it needed to pass.  Advocates of a Children and Youth Fund are continuing to work to achieve some of their goals legislatively.

Meanwhile, throughout 2019 a Sac Kids First coalition was formed, with EBACY taking the lead, with young people playing the leadership roles.  They have successful gathered sufficient signatures to place a measure on the ballot.  See “Taking the Lead” on this website under “Featured Communities and Taking the Lead” for the exciting details.

FACT: 65% of students in the Sacramento City Unified School District are eligible for free or reduced lunch.
Source:, a program of the Lucile Packard Foundation

San Diego

A steering committee was formed in 2016 to plan for a ballot measure.  75 non-profit leaders were convened to learn about the effort, and most expressed great enthusiasm and a commitment to help.  Two years later, Mid-City CAN has stepped up to lead the effort, with the hope of being on the 2020 ballot.

FACT: Only 31% of the children in San Diego County who need child care have it.

Source:, Packard Foundation

San Joaquin County

A core planning group of respected leaders in children’s services formed the San Joaquin Children’s Alliance to work toward a dedicated funding stream, with a strong Board of Supervisor champion in Supervisor Kathy Miller. The group successfully advocated with the Board of Supervisors to create a task force to identify gaps in services and recommend a funding strategy.  The Task Force identified a marijuana tax as its first priority for funding.  They successfully advocated that the Board of Supervisors place a marijuana tax on the November, 2018, ballot and put 50% of the revenue into children and youth services.  A poll conducted by the Board of Supervisors confirmed that children and youth were the public’s highest priority for funding.

FACT: One in four children in San Joaquin live in poverty.
Source: U.S. Census, American Community Survey

Santa Clara

A Strong Start Coalition, spearheaded by the County Office of Education, in collaboration with community advocates, service providers and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, are working toward a Preschool for All measure.

FACT: 63% of families cannot afford basic living expenses.  One-third of children are not enrolled in a quality preschool.

Source: Children Now, California County Scorecard, 2014-15;, a program of the Packard Foundation

Santa Cruz – city and county

First 5 Santa Cruz is taking the initiative to explore options.  An early step has been to advocate that the Board of Supervisors create a Thrive by Three Fund.  Simultaneously, action is occurring at the city level with the leadership of Councilwoman Watkins.  She has proposed an increase of 1% in the city marijuana tax, and that the revenue be placed in a new dedicated children and youth fund.

There is also interest in possibilities at the City of Santa Cruz level.

FACT: Half of the families in Santa Cruz County cannot afford basic living expenses.

Source: Children Now, County Scorecard 2016


A broad coalition of children’s service providers worked for a year to get a Children’s Fund placed on the Nov. 2016 ballot. They were building on years of work coalescing service providers in the public and private sector around policy and program development, including the completion of a Solano County Children’s budget. A 2014 report card on children, created by an advisory committee to the Board of Supervisors, recommended a ballot measure for sustainable funding. An early step was a poll, funded in part by the Solano County First 5 and the United Way.  The Coalition, calling itself Funding the Next Generation Solano, spent eight months drafting a measure, documenting the feasibility of their plan and presenting ideas to the Board of Supervisors.  After several enthusiastic hearings, the Board agreed to place a sales tax on the ballot to fund the Solano Fund for Children.  It was accompanied by an advisory measure to ensure the tax money would go to kids.  The Advisory measure passed, but the sales tax did not.  The group is now working at two levels: exploring what can be done in Vallejo where the measure received sufficient votes; and returning with the Board of Supervisors to urge the creation of a Children’s Budget.  One new development is the engagement of a group of youth from Vallejo eager to join the campaign.

FACT: Over half of Solano’s families with children are struggling to make ends meet. Child poverty rose 68% from 2008 to 2012.
Source: 2014 Solano Children’s Report Card, by Children’s Network of Solano County

Sonoma County

The Cradle to Career initiative, convened through the Sonoma County Department of Health Services (DHS) and representing a diverse network of public and private stakeholders in child and youth development, investigated the creation of a dedicated funding stream with a focus on universal pre-school. The DHS commissioned a Portrait of Sonoma County providing comprehensive information about disparities in the community and opportunity gaps for children.  With this background research completed, a citizen steering committee has been formed to plan for a 2020 ballot measure.  No decisions have been made and all options are on the table.  Sonoma First 5 is providing support to the research and public education component of this effort.

FACT: 48% of students in Sonoma County public schools are considered “educationally disadvantaged. 59% of Caucasian third graders read proficiently at 3rd grade, compared to 27% of Latino students”
Source: A Portrait of Sonoma County, Measure of America, 2014

Yolo County

The Yolo County Office of Education spearheaded a planning process for a preschool ballot measure.  A strong steering committee was formed and a draft of the measure was completed.

FACT: 41% of children in Yolo enter Kindergarten without a basic educational foundation provided by a quality preschool.  69% of low income children cannot read at grade level by third grade.
Source: Yolo County Office of Education

Other participants have included leaders from:

City of Merced

Contra Costa County

Fresno County

Humboldt County

Lake County

City of Long Beach

Marin County

Monterey County

City of Oakland

Orange County

City of Pomona

San Benito County

San Bernardino County

San Luis Obispo County

San Mateo County

City of San Pablo

City of San Jose

Santa Barbara County

South Kern

Ventura County