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Harris, Oakland leaders announce $50-million initiative to invest in children, end poverty

Itzel Luna, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

Vice President Kamala Harris joined with Oakland leaders Friday to announce the establishment of the Oakland Generation Fund, which aims to provide financial support to low-income children and help end generational poverty.

The initiative is set to funnel $50 million to existing programs that financially support children and students pursuing higher education in the city.

“We all know — in communities across our nation — deep disparities hold back so many of our children from that promise of equal opportunity,” Vice President Kamala Harris said. “Disparities that have existed and persisted for generations and disparities that the leaders here in Oakland are fighting to address.”

Mayor Libby Schaaf raised the funds with the help of hundreds of local and regional donors as well as partnerships with the local school district. The initiative is expected to help 30,000 students and babies.

“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,” Schaaf said.

Spearheaded by the mayor, the fund will expand programs that exist under the Oakland Promise, an organization launched in 2016 by Schaaf that supports high school graduates.

 

The fund will expand the Brilliant Babies program and the Oakland Promise scholarship program to ensure that every eligible child and student will receive them for one full generation. Both programs will be available to children citywide starting in 2026 and continuing until 2035.

“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,” Schaaf said. “You are all our brilliant babies, and you are all Oakland’s promise.”

The fund will expand a program that grants $1,000 a year to every low-income public school student who plans to attend secondary education, which includes four-year college, two-year college and trade school.

This initiative will also help fund the Brilliant Baby Program, which deposits $500 into college savings account for every baby born into a low-income family in Oakland. Babies born to Medi-Cal-eligible parents will be eligible for this money, which will be invested in stock and bond funds.

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