Build Up San Mateo County: All Five Child Care Site Tour Convenes State and Local Elected Officials

First 5 San Mateo County has been a proud partner of Build Up since their start.

MENLO PARK, CALIF. (Oct. 26, 2023) — Build Up San Mateo County (SMC) and Build Up CA have today  convened elected officials and early care and education leaders for a site tour of the newly renovated All Five  child care facility in San Mateo County. This rehabilitation was made possible via critical funding from the  California Department of Social Services’ Infrastructure Grant Program (IGP), with facilities fund management  by the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF).  

The $350.5 million IGP was devised and implemented in July 2021, during the throes of the pandemic. The  State of California was cognizant of the enormous unmet need for early care and education, with many parts  of the state considered child care deserts and a pandemic that heightened sector gaps. Grants were  earmarked for minor construction, renovations and repairs to address health and safety concerns. 

“As Build Up SMC’s honorary chair, I’m thrilled to see firsthand how state funds impact our local community.  said California State Sen. Josh Becker (District 13). “Knowing a high-quality early education program like All  Five school received state funding for much-needed improvements is where the rubber meets the road.” 

Seeing a high-quality, socioeconomically diverse early education program in our community receive funding  for its facility demonstrates the positive impact public funding can have for children, families and teachers,” said Director Christine Padilla at Build Up SMC. “We are so fortunate to have elected officials in our county  who really understand that child care is infrastructure.” 

“We are spotlighting the critical importance of facilities investments to show exactly how sites are using their  IGP money and how impactful the changes are to the early care and education providers and sites receiving  the money.” said Vice President of Early Care and Education Angie Garling at LIIF. “Providers have expressed  deep gratitude when they receive these funds. I’m glad we can provide this support because ECE is such a  critical part of a thriving economy.” 

All Five received $249,999 in IGP funding. This afforded the center the opportunity to scale their staff of 22  educators who collectively create a healthier, more efficient and more aesthetic learning environment for the  children and families of historically excluded communities of eastern Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, Redwood  City and environs. The team is reflective of the communities served with some staff teaching for over two  decades. Notably, the grant funding allowed for expansion of facilities allowing the site to double enrollment  to serve more children and their families. 

All Five facility improvements expedited improved accessibility including new double-doors, deck, ramp,  upgraded bathrooms and child-sized fixtures, as well as classroom upgrades including air purifiers, painting,  electrical, plumbing, windows and fixed equipment including a washer/dryer, dishwasher, stove and kitchen  upgrade. 

“Due to IGP funding, we were able to complete our facilities’ projects, enabling us to markedly increase our  area’s early childhood education and care capacity to support educational equity for our community’s  children,” said Founder and Executive Director Carol Thomsen at All Five. “In addition to serving more  children and their families, we are recruiting and retaining more highly effective educators to create a  healthier, more efficient and more beautiful learning environment for children, regardless of their family’s  income or in which ZIP code they live.” 

All Five has been continuously accredited by the highly regarded National Association for the Education of  Young Children (NAEYC) since 2019. 


About Build Up CA 

Build Up CA ensures the equitable system of expansion, improvement and preservation of early learning and  care facilities throughout the state of California. The initiative promotes information sharing on early learning  and care facilities issues, including technical assistance and capacity building, plus recommends legislation  and regulations changes to increase access to high-quality ECE facilities. Additionally, Build Up develops and  supports various financing strategies, initiatives and programs. Build Up CA is a statewide network inspired by  and modeled after the work of local partner Build Up San Mateo County. 

About All Five 

All Five is a full-day, year-round early childhood education (ECE) program in eastern Menlo Park, California. It  serves children from six weeks to five years old. The school is committed to providing high-quality ECE for all  children, regardless of their family’s economic situation. All Five is the community’s only NAEYC accredited  program serving children from families with low incomes. The school has grown from 24 spaces in 2021 to 60  spaces currently and expanding to 90 spaces over the next two years. All Five serves families with  socioeconomically diverse backgrounds including 75% of its families with incomes near the poverty line, and  25% of its families having incomes sufficient to pay the full cost of their child’s tuition. All Five is committed  to providing each family, no matter their background, with access to high-quality ECE for their children in a  nurturing and respectful learning community. 

About the Low Income Investment Fund 

Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) is a national community development financial institution (CDFI),  headquartered in San Francisco with offices in New York City, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., that  invests in communities of opportunity, equity and well-being. As a CDFI, LIIF supports projects that have high  social value but lack access to traditional financial institutions. Since 1984, LIIF has deployed more than $3.2  billion to serve 2.5 million people in communities across the country from its five offices. An S&P-rated  organization, LIIF funds healthy communities by providing innovative capital solutions.


The Power of Storytelling in Transforming Early Childhood Systems: A Conversation with Christine Thorsteinson, Director of Early Childhood Development at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Christine Thorsteinson and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation have supported KQED San Francisco to harness the transformative power of storytelling in early childhood systems. 

“We wanted to try to go deep in system-level change and find ways to address systemic inequities that underlie the disparities in our region. Think about it– everyone loves cute babies. But the kind of change that we need to see to address the full scope of everything that children need, parents need, and caregivers need is going to take significant change at the government level. That requires substantial public support.”

“Babies can’t talk,” Christine reminds us. “We need to tell the stories and experiences of babies on their behalf.” The stories we tell about early childhood become the voice of those who cannot speak for themselves. They become an integral part of the decision-making process. The Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s support of KQED creates a platform for the stories of early childhood to rise to the top, ensuring that the experiences of babies and young children are heard.

SVCF funds journalism aimed at bringing the experiences of early childhood to life. “Storytelling is key in elevating the issue of early childhood,” Christine emphasizes. “We want the public to engage with early childhood beyond just the surface level.” Stories have the unique ability to penetrate beyond the complexities and alphabet soup of early childhood systems, making the experiences of parents and children relatable and real.

When funding journalism, funders like the Silicon Valley Community Foundation cannot have any influence on what stories get covered or how the messages come across. To ensure that the stories KQED tells about early childhood in Northern California are conveyed honestly and authentically, the relationship between SVCF and KQED must remain separated. “What is important is that these stories are reaching people where they already get their news,” she explains. “I can’t influence what [reporters] write, I just need to trust that the people who are reading it are learning something too.” This approach not only raises awareness but also builds a bridge of understanding between decision-makers, policymakers, and the public right here at home.

“Telling these stories takes early childhood from a private affair to a communal and infrastructural concern,” she says. “Stories make early childhood into something social, so no one is able to brush it off as some complex thing that doesn’t touch them.” They have the power to transform early childhood from an abstract concept into a shared responsibility.

In a time of so much change and progress in early childhood systems, Christine believes firmly in the power of sharing experiences. “In all the change that we have seen, especially here in the San Mateo County area– this has been a really phenomenal 2 years for early childhood commitments and improvements – I firmly believe that what brought this to fruition were the advocates who showed up, told their stories in Sacramento, and activated their communities.” Advocacy and storytelling go hand in hand in driving meaningful change.

Christine acknowledges the invaluable role of KQED reporters in this journey, as they continuously bring forth new perspectives and elevate previously overlooked issues. This support has pushed SVCF’s work right here in San Mateo County to be even stronger and more community-oriented, amplifying its impact.

Stories have the power to inspire, inform, and mobilize communities to take action. They provide a window into the lives of those affected by early childhood systems and offer a vision of the bright futures we can create together. When the public hears stories, Christine hopes it inspires action. “What do I want them to do? Shift their mindset and vote. Vote for kids.”

Read some of Daisy Nguyen’s Stories for KQED

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Newsom Signs Legislation Investing $2 Billion in Publicly Funded Child Care

Guaranteed Income Program for Pregnant Black People Expands to 4 California Counties

Teacher Shortages Force Dozens of California Preschools to Close Classrooms


Commission Vacancies Announcement

President of the Board of Supervisors Dave Pine announced that applications are
being accepted for appointment to the First 5 San Mateo County. There are currently one (1)
position representing: Public Member, each to commence January 1, 2024. 

The Public Member includes the following categories: recipients of project services included in First 5 San
Mateo County’s Strategic Plan; educators specializing in early childhood development;
representatives of a local child care resource or referral agency or a local child care coordinating
group; representatives of a local organization for prevention or early intervention for families at risk;
representatives of community-based organizations that have the goal of promoting nurturing and
early childhood development; representatives of local school districts; and representatives of local
medical pediatric or obstetric associations or societies, and parents/caregivers of young children 

To be eligible, applicants must be a resident of the County of San Mateo.

Read the full announcement

Online Application