What We Do
- School Supply Initiative
- Dental Kit Initiative
- Early Learning Initiative
- California Backpack Collaborative
The Problem: More than 250,000 public school children are identified as homeless under the U.S. McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act and 3.5 million are enrolled in the Free or Reduced Price Meal program, which has a 185% of poverty level income ceiling. These children and youth struggle to afford the basic yet critical materials necessary for a quality education and life. This hardship not only stymies students’ confidence and academic achievement, but also burdens teachers and school districts. A recent TIME magazine cover story noted that California teachers spend about $1,500 out-of-pocket annually on school supplies, roughly $60 per student.
The Solution: The School Supply Initiative (SSI) addresses this material resource gap by providing under-resourced students with $65-70 grade-appropriate school supply kits for no more than $22.
The Problem: Imagine you have a 6 month-old cavity — how would that affect your motivation to do anything else? Now consider how that cavity would affect a six-year-old sitting in a classroom— now you understand the problem. Unfortunately, more than 500,000 California children missed one or more school days as a result of poor oral health in 2007. This problem disproportionately affects children from lower-income families as they are 20% more likely than higher-income students to show high rates of tooth decay and 11% more likely to have untreated oral health issues.
The Solution: Studies show that every dollar invested in preventative oral healthcare results in up to $50 saved on later oral treatments. Armed with this knowledge, K to College created the Dental Kit Initiative. Now the largest effort of its kind, the Dental Kit Initiative provides the basic oral healthcare necessities: a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. The kits are a simple, cost-effective solution to the oral health crisis impacting low-income students.
The Problem: Studies show that far too many children enter kindergarten unprepared, and that a significant gap exists between lower- and higher-income children, even before they enter kindergarten. Starting behind makes these children much more likely to stay behind.
The Solution: Equal access to education can only be made a reality if children start kindergarten ready to learn. The majority of brain development and the highest returns on educational investment can be seen in the first five years of life. Therefore, an investment in the pre-kindergarten years is critical. With this in mind, K to College partnered with numerous First 5 and Head Start agencies, the leading experts on early education, to determine which materials are essential for pre-kindergarten children. By providing much-needed school supplies to low-income early learners, K to College will help create a high quality preschool experience for these children, which is the first step to addressing the readiness gap before it becomes the achievement gap.
Buy Together, Save Together
The California Backpack Collaborative is a network of nonprofits, churches, public agencies, clubs and other organizations that work together to coordinate one annual purchase of backpacks with the goal of increasing market power and thus significantly reducing costs for all participants. Administered by K to College, our goal is to create a network that will provide each of state’s under-resourced students with the confidence and sense of dignity a new backpack brings.
- There is no cost to participate.
- Filling out an interest form does not obligate your organization to participate.
- The expected savings for participants is 10-50% after a minimal 2-4% charge to administer the program.
With a very low overhead, we employ an approach similar to big business, but measure success by how many students we serve. Operating on three core principles, this approach produces up to a 200% match for every dollar we receive.
By addressing the needs of students throughout California as one, we are able to leverage substantial market power to drive down costs.
We cut the middle man out of the equation, keeping prices as low as possible. The supplies are manufactured at the plant, shipped to the fulfillment site and then delivered directly into the hands of those who need them, the students.
We partner with the single best entity that will produce savings and results.