A nonprofit founded in 1992

San Mateo, California

San Mateo County is in the heart of Silicon Valley, one of the nation’s wealthiest regions. Yet one-in-five households in the county earns less than $35,000. Nearly three-quarters of Latino, African American and Pacific Islander children aren’t reading at grade level by third grade.

In 2016, The Big Lift, one of the signature initiatives of Silicon Valley’s Community Foundation’s Center for Early Learning, partnered with BellXcel to launch the Inspiring Summers summer learning program aimed at underperforming children in San Mateo County, California. In partnership with a cohort of school districts and other community-based organizations, Inspiring Summers delivers holistic summer learning to Pre-K – 1st grade scholars.

The holistic summer program blends literacy and STEM instruction with a focus on innovation, hands-on activities, technology and enrichment. Enrichment courses are designed to foster critical 21st century skills like teamwork and leadership, increase self-confidence, and expose scholars to new subjects, opportunities, and career paths. Scholars rotate through enrichment courses such as STEM, yoga and mindfulness, robotics, and fairytale engineering.

BellXcel and the San Mateo County Library trains and equips school leaders and teachers to engage students and parents. The full-day program also provides three nutritious meals a day and is designed to make learning fun and rewarding for students.



  • The program has impacted over 3,000 PK-1 scholars
  • Scholars gained 1.5 months in reading skills
  • 92 percent of teachers said scholars exhibited growth mindset
  • 90 percent of parents reported their child having a more positive attitude about school
  • 98 percent of teachers said Inspiring Summers developed their professional skills
  • 99 percent of parents would recommend the program to other parents

Source: BellXcel 2018 Assessments & Stakeholder Surveys


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Scholars taught themselves to pick themselves up, find solutions, and seek help from their peers. I saw their confidence grow as much as their skills in math.

Summer Educator
girl with horse
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students working in class