Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Announces $50M Fund to End Generational Poverty

Date Posted: August 17th, 2022 @ 1:39 PM
Last Updated: August 18th, 2022 @ 10:40 AM
Mayor Libby Schaaf, OUSD Superintendent Kyla-Johnson Trammell, and Oakland Promise CEO Sandra Ernst

2-minute highlight video of Friday’s event

Full video of Friday’s event: Mayor Schaaf at 5:45, VP Harris at 26:00

OAKLAND, CA - On Friday, August 12, Vice President Kamala Harris joined Mayor Libby Schaaf, Attorney General Rob Bonta, Oakland’s state legislators, the Oakland Unified School District, Oakland Promise, and hundreds of supporters to launch “The Generation Fund” – a $50 million quasi-endowment that will support every low-income public-school student and baby born into poverty through the year 2035 by providing:

  • $500 college savings accounts for all Oakland babies at birth from low-income families within 4 years –10,000 Brilliant Babies by 2035.
  • $1,000-a-year scholarships for all low-income Oakland public school students while they’re pursuing their college degree or trade certificate within 4 years -- 20,000 Oakland students served by 2035.

In all, The Generation Fund will serve 30,000 Oakland students for the next generation. Led by Mayor Schaaf, the community-raised fund includes close partnership with OUSD and hundreds of local and regional donors committed to breaking the cycle of poverty by increasing college access and completion for Oakland’s most underserved residents.

“As the mayor, I have received many, many letters from Oakland children and students. Well today, here is my letter to you. We — your community — believe in your talent, your grit, and your success so much. You are all our brilliant babies, and you are all Oakland’s promise,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “This is not a promise, a goal, a pledge — you hear politicians make those all the time. These $50 million are raised and in the bank.”

“The promise of America is only made real when we invest in the capacity, and the dreams, and the potential of people. Oakland has always been a model of doing that work, and that work is happening today,” said Vice President and Oakland native Kamala Harris on Friday. “It remains up to us, all of us, to continue this work, because young leaders are counting on us – and soon we will count on them.”

“Kaiser Permanente believes every child deserves to grow up healthy, nurtured, ready to succeed in school and in life. With the Generation Fund, that vision is becoming a reality for all children of Oakland,” said Carrie Owen Plietz, president of Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California region. “By addressing poverty, systemic racism, inequities in education, and other systems that hold people back, the Oakland Promise is transforming the future of Oakland youth. As the largest private employer in Oakland, we are extremely proud to partner with and support this initiative and this special opportunity to lift up the Oakland community.”

“It takes a village to raise a child – none of us can do it on our own. We thank Mayor Schaaf for her partnership and commitment to education, and we are grateful for the incredible investments that have been made for Oakland students by the City, the Oakland Promise, and all of our wonderful supporters,” said Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Kyla Johnson-Trammell. “The Generation Fund is one more important step in the movement toward educational equity. If we can accomplish this when we turn our individual efforts into collective action, I know we can overcome other inequities on behalf of the young people of Oakland.”

"We know that a degree is still the most significant determinant of future prosperity and helps break the cycle of intergenerational poverty," said Oakland Promise CEO Sandra Ernst. "Oakland public school students are eager to pursue higher level education and careers, and the Generation Fund will help make this possible."

“As I will soon be the first generation in my family to go to college, I know the Oakland Promise is going to help me - but not just my family,” said Natalie Gallegos, a senior at Oakland High School. “This is showing us that no low-income family should have to struggle financially on whether or not their children should go to college. This is a sign for us to keep doing this work that we are doing today for our young people because after all this is our world and we are the future leaders.”

The Generation Fund will provide college savings accounts and scholarships directly to public school students and families through the Oakland Promise, which has provided cradle-to-career supports to students and families for the past 6 years. Over the next four years The Generation Fund will help Oakland Promise to reach all eligible children citywide by 2026 and will then be an entitlement for every qualifying child through 2035. The fund is dedicated to students and families, not program, or operational and administrative costs.

The Generation Fund was created in partnership with City of Oakland, OUSD, Oakland Promise, and an entire community of education equity advocates that includes students, educators, non-profit and community partners, elected officials, business and foundation partners, and other individual donors who are committed to investing in Oakland’s next generation of scholars.

To mentor an Oakland scholar or get involved with the local movement for educational equity, please visit OaklandPromise.org for more information.

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Media Contact

Portrait of Director of Communications, Justin Berton

Justin Berton
Director of Communications
Office of the Mayor
jberton@oaklandca.gov
510-238-7072