Fresno non-profit awarded $25,000 grant from Bay Area group

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A Fresno non-profit is being awarded a $25,000 grant from a bay area venture capital group. (KFSN)

A Fresno non-profit is being awarded a $25,000 grant from a bay area venture capital group.

It's a title fitting for the program Family Success Zone. The goal-- to lift entire zip codes out of poverty.

"Our focus is anyone who is interested and a low income family and in need of help, we help them," said Luis Santana, Reading and Beyond Executive Director.

The program, started by Reading and Beyond, works with families to provide ongoing school system navigation from literacy to career readiness.

"We are not going to work only with the child, or only with the adults, 100-percent with the whole family," said Santana.

Focusing on the long term. From cradle to career.

"They're taking one of the literally poorest zip codes in the United States, and saying we are going to help make sure this area succeeds," said Steve Westly, Westly Group.

Managing partner of the Westly Group, Steve Westly, said for more than a decade his company has provided support for children in the areas of education and youth development. And for him-- there's a personal connection to the family success zone.

"My wife came here as an immigrant from China, grew up on food stamps, much like a lot of the kids we are talking about here. And I know if they get just a little bit of focused targeted help early on we can change the trajectory of their life dramatically."

Since the program's inception Reading and Beyond has served more than 10,000 Fresno County families at their nine locations.

Each family that takes part works with Reading and Beyond for at least a year.

The grant comes on the heels of another major announcement-- Reading and Beyond's Bridge Academy is expanding to San Joaquin County.
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