Model Centers Initiative

The Fund’s flagship, signature grantmaking program is the Model Centers Initiative.

The Model Centers Initiative provides significant, multi-year support to six San Francisco agencies that serve low-income children by providing high-quality, culturally responsive, and developmentally appropriate early childhood education.

The Model Centers Initiative began in 1995 with 3 sites. Today there are 10 sites in geographically dispersed neighborhoods throughout San Francisco, including the Bayview, Mission, Tenderloin, and Visitacion Valley. Model Centers Initiative funding helps to close the gap between what quality costs and what the state pays to serve low-income children. Each facility, staff and even curriculum is different -- some are arts based, some are culture based, and some focus on serving homeless children or children with special needs. But all are striving to bring the highest quality they can to the children and families served. 

Model Centers serve more than 600 children and their families each year. The Fund works with each individual Model Center to achieve goals they identify – such as curriculum support, teacher training, facilities upgrades, or enhanced family services. Over the years the Fund has brought in resources to increase father involvement, improve science instruction, enhance early literacy training, and develop state-of-the-art outdoor play spaces for children. The Fund and the Model Centers work collaboratively to solve problems and learn best practices. The Fund hosts quarterly Model Center meetings to engage expert speakers, problem-solve challenges, and celebrate successes as a Model Center community.

Model Center Results:

  • All Model Centers track children’s individual development using the Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP) and the Ages and Stages Questionnaires (ASQ).
  • All Model Centers historically rank in the highest tiers of emotional support and classroom organization on the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), a research-validated tool focused on the quality of teacher/child interactions.
  • All Model Centers historically rank in the highest tiers on the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), a system of quality rating to measure program quality in school readiness, teaching, program, and environment.
  • Four of six Model Center agencies historically score above average on the Environmental Rating Scale (ERS), a research-validated tool focusing on the quality of the early childhood environment.

Model Center Demographics:

  • 96% staff of color
  • 92% low-income children
  • 95% children of color
  • 69% immigrant families

Model Center Sites:

  • Compass Children’s Center
  • Golden Gate Center
  • Leland Center
  • Richmond Center
  • Good Samaritan Child Development Center
  • Family Developmental Center
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Center
  • Bayview Children’s Campus
  • Transbay Child Development Center
  • Yerba Buena Gardens Center Child Development Center