First 5 Alameda County Logo

Annual Report 2022-23

On the Road

to Readiness

With kindergarten readiness as our North Star, the roadmap below gives you a glimpse into our agency's work over the past year. Each milestone along the route provides a snapshot of one strategy, one program, one data point. Taken together, we hope it paints a picture of our comprehensive whole community, whole family, whole child system-building approach. Over the past 12 months, we have expanded our early care and education partnerships and programs by building our capacity, restructuring our agency, hiring staff with valuable expertise, and securing additional funding. Our budget grew 108% from the prior year, having been awarded the honor of being the Oakland Children's Initiative (OCI) Early Education Fund administrator, which provided the opportunity and resources for First 5 to work in deep partnership with Oakland Unified School District and the City of Oakland Head Start. Read more >

First 5 Alameda CEO Kristin Spanos with her husband and daughter.

Kristin Spanos


Place. People. Policy.

2023 has been a year of organizational action, planning, and growth for First 5 Alameda County. I am proud of First 5's contributions to the local investments in communities and families in service to the 100,000+ young children that call Alameda County home.

Centering Equity 

As part of our continued work to center equity in our programming, investments, and advocacy, in 2022-23 we engaged in a participatory agencywide learning and development process to update our equity statement to encompass our current work, intentions for continuous learning and improvement, and commitment to accountability.  
Read more >

The Year 

at a Glance

A teacher reads a book with a young child.




A toddler girl and her mother smile at the camera while playing in a preschool classroom.




A young Black girl smiles at the camera while playing outside with other children.



Road to



Decades of research have demonstrated that the period from birth to age five is the most critical window of opportunity to positively impact a child’s future. The correlation between early childhood development, community and family conditions, and lifelong health has also been established — and these factors are undeniably intertwined. As noted by our Research Advisory Group, freedom from discrimination based on racism and classism positively impacts families’ ability to access services and resources and improves conditions needed for kindergarten readiness.

4 in 5

children who are not ready for kindergarten continue to struggle academically in third grade. Only 33% of parents and caregivers in Alameda County said their child was ready for kindergarten in 2021. Learn about the conditions that support readiness.

We believe that every community should have equal access to resources and infrastructure. Unfortunately, historical inequities tied to race and class have prevented this from being a reality. That's why we fund community-led, place-based investments like Neighborhoods Ready for School. This year we invested more than $3 million in four neighborhoods across Alameda County—three in Oakland and one in Union City—and brought on Cities & People Advisors to facilitate a strategic planning process specific to the initiative to help identify areas of opportunity and to foster alignment with Oakland Thrives’ RiseEast, a multimillion dollar placed-based investment effort focused on economic mobility, early literacy, and child and adolescent behavioral health.




A caregiver and a toddler girl blow bubbles at a park.
A woman wearing a hijab feeds her baby with a bottle.

Financial Stability

Happy Black Father with his cute daughter purchasing groceries at supermarket.

We fund programs and advocate for economic justice for families and providers. Affordable child care is critical to the financial stability of a family, especially given that an average of one-third of a family’s income is going towards child care in a family of two parents, one infant, and one preschooler. This year, our top financial stability activities included investing in public early care and education systems through the Oakland Children’s Initiative and paying for tuition and permit fees for early care educators through the Early Education Apprentice Program. The average apprentice wage of $19.13 per hour increased to $28.00 per hour upon completion of 12 units and receipt of their Associate Teacher Permit.

Family Health

& Well-being

We provide, advocate for, partner, and fund connections to community-based resources through care coordination, family navigation, and access to health and mental health services that are culturally responsive. This year, we created a new Pediatric Care Coordination division, secured philanthropic funds to hire a director to oversee that division, and expanded our Pediatric Care Coordination staffing and capacity to reach even more Alameda County children and families in the coming years. We renewed funding for our Help Me Grow and DULCE programs and collaborated with local partners, including our local Medi-Cal Managed Care Plan and Alameda Health System leadership, to identify additional funding sources to sustain these vital programs, which led to the successful increase of Help Me Grow’s annual budget.

A Black Mother breastfeeds her baby.
A mother reads to her son in a preschool classroom.

Early Care 

& Education

First 5 funds and partners with early care and education providers to increase access to affordable, high-quality child care options, especially for families with low incomes and those most impacted by structural racism. This year, in addition to our ongoing efforts, we hired a permanent Director of Early Care and Education and increased staffing to lead the implementation of the Oakland Children’s Initiative Early Education Fund (Measure AA), allocating more than $10 million to stabilize and strengthen existing early education programs across Oakland Unified School District and the City of Oakland Head Start. 

An Asian mom and son blow bubbles together outside of Garfield Elementary.

Parents and caregivers bond with children during activities hosted by San Antonio Family Resource Center.

A worker from San Antonio Family Resource Center hands out supplies and heathy food to a parent.

Neighborhoods Ready for School sites, like San Antonio Family Resource Center, distribute information, resources and supplies to parents in their communities.

A group of diverse parents and toddlers read board books on the carpet together in a classroom.

Parents partcipate in learning activites with their young children at Union City Family Center.

Kindergarten Transition Support

We advocate for and fund access to events and activities that ensure families’ smooth transition into the TK–12 system, including policies and practices that engage fathers. Our Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) data continues to show a strong link between fathers’ use of kindergarten transition supports and higher kindergarten readiness. This year, our Fathers Corps program celebrated its 10th anniversary, hosted a Fatherhood Summit event for hundreds of dads, and rolled out a new set of healthy relationship principles for organizations engaging fathers.

This year, I had the privilege of presenting the Fathers Corps program model to the California Fatherhood Council. Knowing that our program model is informing a statewide fatherhood initiative is an exciting step towards building a father-friendly system of care and expanding the Fathers Corps movement that celebrates fathers and father-figures as nurturers, caregivers, community role models, and leaders, in Alameda County and beyond.



A caregiver plays a fishing game with a toddler girl in a classroom.
A teacher at Garfield Elementary talks with two preschool girls on the playground.

One of our strategic goals to strengthen Alameda County’s early care and education system is to provide support and resources to ECE educators. We know that higher wages and access to professional development supports are essential for people entering or staying in the ECE field. That’s why, this year, we distributed $288,430 in professional development and training stipends to ECE professionals and caregivers participating in First 5's Quality Counts program.



We fund collaboration between systems, including early care and education (ECE), transitional kindergarten to 12th grade, and community organizations to better support ECE professionals and families with resources and services. This year, we provided more than 50 trainings and learning opportunities for parents, caregivers, providers, and professionals in the ECE field. Together with Alameda County Social Services Agency and Tipping Point Community, we also continued to fund the Early Education Apprentice Program, administered by YMCA of the East Bay, which provides financial and academic support, as well as on-the-job training and mentorship while students pursue their ECE-related degrees and teaching permits.


Educators & Systems

Systems Building 

& Policy Change


We developed a facilities needs assessment report to better understand the current condition of Alameda County’s ECE facilities and identify areas of highest need and opportunities for investment. This work was conducted in anticipation of new funding sources, including the Children’s Health and Child Care Initiative for Alameda County (Measure C).

A toddler girl climbs up a climbing net at a playground.
A little boy looks toward the camera as his mom embraces him during an outside event with San Antonio Family Resource Center.
A little girl builds with Magna-Tiles at a table in a preschool classroom.


In the first six months of implementation, we swiftly allocated more than $10 million to stabilize and strengthen existing early education programs at Oakland Unified School District and Oakland Head Start. Initial allocations fund growing staffing needs and supports, family navigators, and one-time physical infrastructure projects to improve and increase capacity of current early care sites.


The successes we see are coming from the partnerships you have been able to forge.



We hosted a virtual Policy Breakfast for partners, elected officials, and members of the ECE field to discuss key policy findings and recommendations from our 2021-22 Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA). We also heard from guest speakers including Assembly member Mia Bonta, who shared praise for the collaborative work of First 5 Alameda County and its partners.



Grants & Partnership
$9.13 Million

Sustainability Fund
$2.14 Million

Oakland Children's Initiative
$3.67 Million

Prop 10
Tobacco Tax

$11.02 Million

Early Care & Education

$9.67 Million

Policy & Advocacy

$1.47 Million


$0.66 Million

TOTAL REVENUE $25.96 Million

Family Health & Wellbeing

$8.91 Million

Thriving Neighborhoods

$3.89 Million

Data & Evaluation 

$1.36 Million

It Takes a Village 

We know that systems building requires an entire ecosystem of partners working together. Select each Neighborhoods Ready for School grantee site below for more information.


Neighborhoods Ready for School Community

Neighborhoods Ready for School
Resource Center

Help Me Grow Referring Provider

Licensed Child Care Center
Enrolled in Quality Counts

Licensed Family Child Care Site
Enrolled in Quality Counts

Thank You

On behalf of our fantastic staff and dedicated commissioners, thank you to Alameda County taxpayers and voters for entrusting First 5 Alameda County to administer and leverage valuable resources and public dollars in service of children and families in Alameda County. We would also like to thank our philanthropic partners, California Children and Families Foundation (First 5 Association of California), California Wellness Foundation, Chester O. David, Heising-Simons Foundation, Stupski Foundation, Sunlight Giving, and Tipping Point Community for your financial support and partnership in helping to restructure and grow our agency. Your collective support makes a difference — this year we served 30% more children than we did in FY 2021-22.


For newsletter updates


1115 Atlantic Avenue

Alameda, CA 94501

Follow Us