Q&A With President and CEO Of Silicon Valley Education Foundation, Muhammed Chaudhry
Muhammed Chaudhry serves as the CEO and President of the Silicon Valley Education Foundation (SVEF), a leading non-profit that prepares students for college and careers in Silicon Valley. 100% of the proceeds from this year's Silicon Valley Wine Auction go towards SVEF. We connected with Muhammed about both SVFE and the Silicon Valley Wine Auction and here's what we learned...
ESV: Tell us about the Silicon Valley Education Foundation.
MC: SVEF has been a nonprofit resource and advocate for students and educators across Silicon Valley. SVEF's programs ensure that all students are college and career ready, with a specific emphasis on STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math). Key programs include: SVEF’s flagship Elevate [Math] program, a 19 day summer intervention program getting students back on track in math - a critical gateway course to college readiness; 49ers STEM Leadership Institute a six-year program to inspire students with high academic potential to be future leaders in STEM fields; and Learning Innovation Hub (iHub) that works to increase student achievement by working with schools to assess and implement Education Technology (EdTech) tools into the classroom. SVEF hosts two major fundraising events a year – Pioneers & Purpose Celebration for Education and the Silicon Valley Wine Auction.
ESV: 2016 marks the second annual Silicon Valley Wine Auction – a collaboration with the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association – benefitting SVEF. Can you share with us what to expect at the event, and plans for money raised?
MC: The Silicon Valley Wine Auction will be held at Levi’s® Stadium on April 16. The Grand Wine Tasting will be held from 12-4pm and feature over 50 vintners and more than 200 silent auction lots. The Wine Pairing Dinner will be held from 5:30-10pm and will include 5 course dinner paired with 10 different wines and an exciting Live Auction. This year, SVEF hopes to increase the number of guests that attend both events, especially the Grand Wine Tasting top the 1,000 guests and $600,000 of last year’s Wine Auction. All proceeds of the event will support SVEF's flagship programs, including Elevate [Math] and 49ers STEM Leadership Institute.
ESV: Are there other new initiatives for 2016?
MC: In the summer of 2016, SVEF will triple the number of students served in our flagship program, Elevate [Math], serving a total of more than 3,000 students in over 27 districts. Elevate [Math] will also expand the grade levels served, including programs for incoming 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th grade math students. Elevate [Math] provides 75-130 extra hours of instruction to prepare students for their next-level math course and keep them on track to college and career success.
SVEF will also open the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute (SLI) site at Santa Clara High School in the fall for SLI's incoming 9th grade students, in addition to the Chevron sponsored Fab Lab to be built at Santa Clara High School. Students in the current program began SLI participation in 2014 as 7th graders and will graduate from Cabrillo Middle School in June, ready to attend this special STEM program at the high school in August. SLI begins each year at Cabrillo Middle School with 60 7th grade students who are selected from surrounding schools through a competitive application process. The 49ers STEM Leadership Institute exposes participating students to a rigorous STEM program that focuses on strengthening their math and engineering skills to prepare them to be the future leaders of innovation.
ESV: What is something we might not know about SVEF?
MC: Since SVEF’s founding, we have made a significant impact on children’s academic trajectories through our advocacy efforts, direct programming for students and resources for innovation work. Elevate [Math] has dramatically raised math readiness for participating students, which research shows is a gateway to college success. Last summer, an independent study of Elevate [Math] was released by WestEd - the regional arm of the U.S. Department of Education - which concluded that students who had participated in Elevate [Math] were 2.4 times more algebra-ready compared to students who did not take the course. The study also found that the program was two times more effective than similar summer intervention programs.
Our Learning Innovation Hub (iHub) has been at the forefront of education technology implementation and has connected more than a dozen EdTech entrepreneurs with classrooms across Silicon Valley to test cutting-edge technology products. iHub has elevated learning for several hundred students by providing them with new tools that enhance their classroom experience.
ESV: How can we support SVEF?
MC: We always need volunteers to join us in sharing real world demonstrations of STEM skills to students in our summer math classrooms. SVEF hosts two major fundraisers each each and also need volunteers to our Silicon Valley Wine Auction and our Pioneers & Purpose Celebration for Education Dinner. Above all, we encourage financial giving to SVEF to support the implementation and expansion of our valuable STEM education programs.