News Releases

Fresno Regional Foundation Celebrates Success in High Impact Grants



October 24, 2014


Media Contacts:

Hugh J. Ralston, President and CEO; (559) 226-5600 x101 [email protected]

Sandra Flores, Senior Program Officer; (559) 226-5600 x104 [email protected]           


Fresno Regional Foundation celebrates success in High Impact grants; awards $600,000 in third year

Fresno, CA – Fresno Regional Foundation is awarding $600,000 to four Community Benefit Organizations (CBOs) in High Impact grants targeted at supporting children 0 to 8 and their families for success by third grade on Wednesday, October 29 at the Fresno Art Museum. These grants are part of the Foundation’s FUND for the San Joaquin Valley, an initiative on the most important needs throughout the Central San Joaquin Valley.

After receiving a sizable multiyear grant from the James Irvine Foundation in 2011, Fresno Regional Foundation brought together members of our community to explore complex issues that were affecting the Central San Joaquin Valley and to research opportunities where the Foundation could make the biggest possible impact, ultimately landing on supporting children ages 0 to 8 for success by 3rd grade. This group became the Foundation’s first High Impact Advisory Committee.

Statistics show that 60 percent of Valley Children are not reading on grade level by the third grade, making them much more likely to drop out of high school and face greater challenges. To break this cycle of poverty, the Advisory Committee recommended focusing funding to Valley organizations that are working to develop a pipeline for children 0-8 and their families for success.

“Supporting families and children 0 - 8 for success by 3rd grade is a way to help families carve a pathway out of poverty, ultimately benefitting the whole Valley.  As a board member, I am very impressed by the deliberative, focused process that is utilized to select the organizations to receive funding,” said Celia Maldonado Arroyo, FRF Board member and High Impact Advisory Committee member.

Now in the third year of High Impact grantmaking, the Foundation is furthering the effort in supporting families and children ages 0 to 8. In a highly competitive pool of applications, FRF Board of Directors approved four organizations for funding in the 2014 cycle. 

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County: $200,000 for Family Literacy Project 2.0- the Pathway to Reading. Boys & Girls Club of Fresno County is partnering with Reading and Beyond and Parent Institute for Quality Education to serve 300 children and 80 parents over 2 years in Central, Southwest and Southeast Fresno.
  • Reading and Beyond: $200,000 for Family Navigators. Reading and Beyond and partners are working together to transform the high-poverty 93701 neighborhood into a neighborhood of opportunity. With this funding Reading and Beyond will work with families via Family Navigators (or Promotoras) and provide capacity-building on the use of their longitudinal database management system among partners.
  • Woodlake Family Resource Center: $150,000 for Path to Literacy. the Woodlake Family Resource Center and its Consortium Partners will reach over 1400 children ages 0 – 8 and their families by preparing childcare providers, early childhood educators, and parents with the necessary tools and knowledge to integrate literacy development activities for their children prior to entering kindergarten.
  • Fresno Area Strive/Fresno Compact: $50,000 for Fresno Area Strive 0-8 Success. Fresno Area Strive is convening and coordinating with Fresno metro school districts and community partners to improve third grade literacy levels by connecting multiple local 0-8 educational initiatives.  


One of the High Impact grants, Reading and Beyond’s Family Navigators, will provide home visitation and support to families living in one of the poorest zip code areas in California.

"Reading and Beyond applauds the Fresno Regional Foundation for investing in Central Valley’s high-need communities,” said Luis Santana, Executive Director of Reading and Beyond. “Our primary goal is to help families prepare their children to be ready for school, read proficiently by the 3rd grade, and ultimately to become productive and self-reliant members of society."


Outside of Fresno County in a small rural community, the Woodlake Family Resource Center is collaborating with Woodlake Unified School District and the Woodlake community at large to tackle the challenges facing their community. Together they have rallied around one common belief, “Children need to succeed in school. Being successful readers by the 3rd grade is critical,” Irma Rangel, Executive Director of the Woodlake Family Resource Center shared.


“We recognize children in our community are challenged with various social economic factors and rural isolation that hinders their current success,” Rangel said. “We strongly feel that through our collective impact approach we can give our children better life outcomes.  We are all in it together. From the barber shop to the local clinic to the city mural, early literacy is promoted.”

Funding for grants like these is made possible thanks to The James Irvine Foundation. The Irvine Foundation has seeded The FUND with a $3 million grant. FRF is working to grow The FUND through the contributions of local donors, building a permanent endowment that will generate $1 million in annual grants, forever.

For more information about the grantees, research on 3rd grade readiness, the FUND for the San Joaquin Valley, and ways to contribute, please visit:


Founded in 1966, FRF improves the quality of life in Central San Joaquin Valley through philanthropy. It serves Fresno, Madera, Merced, Mariposa, Tulare and Kings Counties.


FRF is the trusted link between donors and organizations investing in permanent, high-impact initiatives for Central San Joaquin Valley. The Foundation holds assets of over $55 million and has awarded $1.35 million in grants so far in 2014.


For more information about the Fresno Regional Foundation, please visit or call 559-226-5600.



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