United Way of the Bay Area

Community Schools

A wave of research shows the achievement gap between poor children and
higher-income children is growing wider.

Children thrive in stable and nurturing environments, yet 43% of Bay Area children live in the instability caused by poverty. Their parents are underemployed, earn insufficient wages and struggle to make ends meet.  United Way of the Bay Area is committed to ensuring that all children, no matter what their family income, zip code, race or country of origin, have the opportunity to come to school safe, well-fed, healthy and ready to learn.  

Our Work

We are committed to educating the public about education issues, particularly those that impact kids in low-income communities. Our work focuses on Community Schools, a strategy that supports the complex needs of kids and families in poverty. We are innovators in family economic support in community schools. Our grants support schools and districts who seek to start or improve their community school efforts.

United Way's Community Schools transform public schools into neighborhood hubs where health care, food pantries, after-school programs, family engagement and parent education classes are available directly on school campuses. United Way's education goal is to partner with schools and districts in low-income communities across the Bay Area to transform 200 schools into community hubs by 2020. To learn more about United Way’s Community School Initiative, download our report.


Learning Resources

Learn about the latest Community Schools news!


Leveling the Playing Field
With community schools, more kids are getting a fair shot at a quality education.
» Download our white paper


Community School Success in the Bay Area and Beyond 
Community schools are boosting student academic performance, health outcomes and more.
» Download the report


Congrats, SparkPoint University Grads! 
SparkPoint University is a course for parents at Dover Elementary School.
» Learn more here


Bright Spots

Take a closer look at "bright spots" in Bay Area Community Schools. Below are case studies from schools that United Way of the Bay Area is currently partnering with to improve student's well-being and academic success.

Sparkpoint in Community Schools

United Way is combining our expertise in financial stability and education by integrating our SparkPoint Centers with Community Schools to help families gain a stable financial footing while simultaneously supporting student's well-being and academic success. Learn more about Sparkpoint in Community Schools.

Grants for Community Schools

Our grants support schools and districts who seek to start or improve their community school efforts.

United Way will increase the number of Community Schools in our region by offering planning and improvement grants, as well as providing technical assistance to school districts interested in establishing Community Schools. To learn more about United Way's Community School Initiative, click here

View a list of our current grantees.

Currently, grant applications are being considered by invitation only. For more information, please contact Lileen Shannon at or by phone at 707-551-3141.

The Bay Area Community Schools Movement is Growing!

More and more school districts are embracing the Community Schools model. Teachers are eligible to apply for our Community Schools FastGrants if your school is listed on our map.

Click here to see if your school is listed as a Community School.



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