The Big Lift is a bold social venture intent on transforming early learning. The venture combines high-quality and connected learning experiences for San Mateo County preschool to third grade students. This early learning transformation is focused on literacy, reducing chronic absence and summer learning loss, as well as engaging families and the broader community to support both home and school learning.

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Reading Proficiency Among 3rd Graders in San Mateo County, 2017–2018


Up to 3rd grade, kids learn to read. After, they must read to learn.  

Starting in fourth grade, kids must read to engage with the curriculum. This is a critical inflection point as children lose interest in school if they aren’t able to keep pace with their classwork. Over 40% of our county’s children are not reading proficiently by 3rd grade.

300+ Organizations Involved

All of San Mateo County is getting behind The Big Lift, including leaders from business, government, education, philanthropy and nonprofits. We’ve already accomplished much more together than we could by ourselves.

$32 million in Funding Raised

The Big Lift has been awarded two major grants based on our plan’s strength and the extraordinary community-wide collaboration behind it. In fact, The Big Lift is one of the nation’s most watched models to give kids a stronger start. 

Major Funders