Founding Build Up CA

In 2019, Build Up SMC hosted a series of regional child care facility meetings to address new state policies and funding opportunities. These meetings aimed to unite local leadership partners and neighboring county stakeholders to strategize on the Governor’s Early Learning Master Plan and infrastructure funding, and would lay the groundwork for what would become Build Up California. San Mateo County was not unique in its struggle; policymakers across the state took note of the impact BuildUp SMC was having in not only preserving, but expanding and improving child care facilities. There was and continues to be a growing awareness across the state and the nation that child care is an essential infrastructure, and is a key ingredient in economic development and the support of healthy families. 

Inspired by the success and model of Build Up SMC, stakeholders across California recognized the need for a state-level organization to amplify their efforts. They named this new initiative Build Up California (Build Up CA) in honor of San Mateo County’s pioneering work. Launched in 2020, Build Up CA’s mission was to:

  1. Promote Information Sharing: Provide technical assistance and capacity building for early learning and care facilities.
  2. Advocate for Policy Changes: Recommend legislative and regulatory changes to increase access to high-quality early childhood education (ECE) facilities.
  3. Develop Financing Strategies: Support various financing initiatives and programs to fund new or improved child care centers and family child care homes.

During Build Up CA’s start-up phase, Build Up SMC helped establish the Advisory Committee, built cross-sector participation among the group to sustain resources (and provide Build Up CA with the ability to advocate for more), and participated locally (and now nationally) in calling for facilities investments. Build Up SMC continues to partner closely with Build Up CA and holds seats on the Advisory and Core Planning Committees.

As Build Up CA has expanded the scope and scale of its efforts across the state, they have established a track record of success through sharing best practices, resources, and solutions for all types of child care providers, community members, business leaders, and policymakers. 

The collaboration between Build Up SMC and Build Up CA continues today. For example, they have jointly hosted state legislators at local preschools, such as All Five in the Belle Haven neighborhood of Menlo Park, highlighting the very real and practical impact of public dollars in expanding access, while offering suggestions on policy that could further improve the lives of children and families at the same time. The two organizations also work with The National Children’s Facilities Network (NCFN), a coalition of nonprofit, financial, and technical assistance intermediaries, and other interested stakeholders involved in planning, developing, and financing high-quality early care and education facilities. This includes offering inputs on federal legislation and regulations affecting access to high-quality ECE facilities, as well as developing financing strategies, initiatives, and programs that expand access to high-quality ECE in areas with high concentrations of poverty. Furthermore, the NCFN partners in creating resources, from facility development checklists and manuals in English and Spanish to one-pagers for city leaders, faith leaders, and school districts, to family child care facilities development and financing manuals. Build Up SMC continues to do outreach and provide technical assistance for opportunities aligned with Build Up CA. Most recently they presented together at the Build Conference to discuss how to create child-friendly communities, and are gathering climate-resilient facilities case studies.