• 90% of the brain is developed before age 5.
  • 1/3 of kids show up to kindergarten unprepared.
  • Once a child falls behind, they stay behind.
  • Boulder County has one of the biggest achievement learning gaps in Colorado.


Help The Community Foundation bridge the achievement gap through school readiness



Boulder County is home to some of Colorado’s brightest students. Yet, the achievement gap in the Boulder Valley School District between Latino and non-Hispanic white students is the state’s second-widest. A similar disparity persists in the St. Vrain Valley School District, as well as county-wide, between low-income and middle- and upper-income students.


The gap separates before children enter kindergarten, and it only widens as they go through school. Many factors contribute to this, including class size and curriculum rigor; a child’s health; and whether a parent participates in their child’s early education by reading to them and turning off the television. But the dramatically shifting demographics of our county are also making a huge impact:


  • Boulder County’s Latino population has doubled since 1990
  • A greater percentage of Latino children live in poverty than non-Latinos
  • The poverty rate for children in Boulder County is increasing about twice as fast as the general population


The Community Foundation has tracked these demographic trends for more than a decade. Year after year, the achievement gap persists as one of the most stubborn issues in our community.  See the Boulder County TRENDS Report


That’s why we have decided to challenge the community to convene around this important issue. Specifically, we are asking for donations to our unrestricted grant-making fund, The Community Trust. If the community rises to this four-year, $4 million challenge, we will immediately and permanently double our annual grant-making to local nonprofits. We have also embarked on the most informed, passionate and funded undertaking the Community Foundation has ever launched.


Its working title is the Early Childhood Initiative. Its goal is to help make every child in Boulder County ready to learn by the time they enter school.We chose to focus on improving the state of early childhood education in Boulder County as a way of closing the achievement gap after close consultation with local and national thought leaders. Time and again, those experts told us that investing in early care and education pays huge dividends to society down the road. Various studies have determined that every $1 invested in quality early childhood programs can save taxpayers $4 to $17. These savings come from: 


  • Reduced need for special education and grade repetition
  • Less crime and lower incarceration rates
  • Fewer people on public assistance
  • Increased employment, wages and taxes paid
  • Fewer teen pregnancies and less smoking


The grassroots funding the community can bring to the table is just the beginning. Through collaboration, advocacy, research and outreach, we believe we can leverage our influence. We seek to help connect and amplify the expertise and wisdom already present in this community to make Boulder County the best place to raise a child.