Build Up receives major funding to expand and improve local child care and preschool options

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To address a critical shortage of child care and preschool spaces, more than half a million dollars in start-up funding is being used to launch Build Up for San Mateo County’s Children. The initiative will focus on developing affordable, high-quality child care in San Mateo County, where an estimated 32% of the demand is not met due to a shortfall of approximately 11,000 spaces. By 2025, this shortage is expected to rise to 14,000, according to a task force commissioned by First 5 San Mateo County (F5SMC). Escalating real estate prices are cited as a key factor in child care center closures and a decline in the opening of new facilities.

“This shortage of early learning facilities for all ages and income levels impacts families, children, and the county’s economic prosperity,” said Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Kevin Mullin who serves as the Build Up Honorary Chair. “High quality early childhood education has been shown to improve children’s school readiness, allowing them to do better in school and helping to close the achievement gap.”

Build Up has an ambitious plan to increase the supply of child care spaces by 2020. Staff members will engage local companies encouraging them to create child care facilities for their employees. They will also track local real estate and identify resources to build new child care centers and preschools, and renovate existing facilities. In addition, Build Up will also work with cities and the county to improve policies for child care development and provide technical assistance to child care operators.

To achieve these goals, the Child Care Coordinating Council (4Cs) has hired a fulltime Build Up initiative director, Christine Padilla. Generous funding was provided by the Jacques M. Littlefield Foundation to 4Cs to support this position. Ms. Padilla worked most recently as Regional Director of Government Relations for Dividend Finance; prior to that she was on staff for Congressman Tom Lantos, and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo. She has also been a Commissioner for San Mateo County’s Commission on the Status of Women for seven years. Ms. Padilla’s background in government relations, finance, and public policy will catalyze Build Up’s engagement with cities and the County on policies and incentives that prioritize child care in future developments. Build Up is also recruiting a fulltime technical assistance coordinator.

“Quality child care is a necessity for our families and communities to thrive,” said Dave Pine, President of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and Co-Chair for the Build Up Advisory Body. “Build Up is taking much needed steps to address our growing child care shortage.”

Funding for Build Up comes from a coalition of leading nonprofit, education, government and philanthropic organizations coming together to design the initiative over the past year. They include F5SMC, the Heising-Simons Foundation, San Mateo County’s Human Services Agency, the Jacques M. Littlefield Foundation and the San Bruno Community Foundation.  Their contributions total $530,000 for 2017 through 2020.


David Fleishman – 650-517-1435,

Press Release in PDF:  PR_Build_Up_09-04-18

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