The John Jordan Foundation has aided the work of more than 100 organizations with programs that promote child, youth and family development since its inception in 2012. During the past five years, more than $5 million has been distributed, impacting the lives of more than 50,000 children.
“The foundation supports programs that provide a path to upward mobility and financial security,” said Lisa Wittke Schaffner, executive director. “John and I share a focused funding philosophy: To fill the cracks in the education system and support cost-efficient initiatives to improve the quality of life for our most vulnerable residents as part of a active local philanthropy program.”
By aligning with organizations such as Sonoma County Health Action, Upstream Investments, Cradle to Career and the Violence Prevention Partnership, JJF has provided support to improve opportunities for children and families by targeting programs that provide the disadvantaged with tools to succeed educationally and professionally.
The foundation also works with the United Way, 10,000 Degrees, the CTE Foundation, SAY, Family Justice Center, Santa Rosa Health Centers and many school districts. The list of nonprofits supported includes Becoming Independent, 4C’s, Voices, scholarships for the Farm Bureau and Russian River Rotary, Ceres, Project True, Meals on Wheels, the Boys and Girls Clubs of central Sonoma County, On the Verge and others.
“We partner with nonprofits focused on early childhood education, literacy, technology, career technical education as well as high school student graduation and parent engagement, along with self sufficiency for young people and foster youth,” Schaffner said.
The foundation supported First 5 and 4C’s this year to help bring a new preschool to the Wright School District, and also purchased Chromebooks so every Healdsburg High School student could have a laptop.
JJF has invested $80,000 with North Bay Children’s Center sites in Sonoma County to help it develop a new preschool model and rapidly expand school readiness programs. NBCC has doubled its presence at its Novato headquarters and has 10 school sites serving 500 kids a day in Marin and Sonoma counties.
“Our goal is to begin educating youngsters at ages three or four,” said Susan Gilmore, NBCC executive director. “Studies show that when children are not reading and math proficient by third grade they will struggle later and many won’t go to college, meaning the cycle of poverty continues into the next generation. Our objective is to have kids ready for first-grade curriculum in kindergarten to give them a head start and succeed in life.”