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Leaven Kids
By Leaven Kids on September 27, 2022

Press Release

North Bay Non-Profit, Leaven Kids, Raises Over $500,000 for Children’s Learning Centers

  • North Bay non-profit, Leaven Kids, raised over $500,000 at their annual fundraising gala Sunday, 25 September, at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, California. This gala provides critical funding to Leaven Kids learning centers, which offer free after-school tutoring and educational resources to hundreds of students every week.

FAIRFIELD, CA - Over $500,000 was raised this past weekend by North Bay non-profit, Leaven Kids, during their annual fundraising gala at the Heritage Resort and Spa in Napa, California.

The Gala for the Kids event raises critical funding for Leaven Kids learning centers, which provide free after-school tutoring and educational resources to hundreds of students every week. This award-winning educational program transforms the lives of young students in need, bringing desperately needed resources to historically underserved communities throughout California and soon-to-be Texas.

“The outpouring of support has been overwhelming,” said Mark Lillis, Chief Executive Officer for Leaven Kids. “It’s been incredible, watching the community rally around this mission of providing children in-need with the educational resources they need to be successful in school and in life.”

The event featured a live auction and keynote address from former Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General David L. Goldfein (Ret.). During his remarks, Gen. Goldfein spoke to the transformative impact of Leaven Kids.

“We all have an obligation to pay it forward,” said Gen. Goldfein. “It’s important that we leave these kids in a better place - knowing that they’re loved and giving them the courage to hope.”

Gen. Goldfein retired from the United States Air Force in October 2020 after an impressive 37- year military career. As Chief of Staff, he was responsible for 685,000 men and women serving in the United States and abroad, managed an operating budget of over $168 billion, and ensured the readiness of US air and space power. Today, he serves as a senior advisor for Blackstone, a global investment firm, and as an Honorary Board Member for Leaven Kids.

“Leaven Kids has proven to be an invaluable program for children in the toughest conditions,” said Gen. Goldfein. “We’ll make a difference one child at a time.”

Leaven Kids opened their first learning center in 2009 in Fairfield, California. Today, nearly 13 years later, they proudly manage over 25 centers across California, with plans to open their first facility in San Antonio, Texas, next year. Despite a rapidly growing footprint, Leaven Kids maintains their headquarters in Fairfield, citing their community partnerships there as being foundational to their success.

“The North Bay is home for us,” said Lillis. “The partnerships we built in those early days continue to serve as a blueprint for new and existing learning centers. We are forever grateful to the community here for their steadfast support, without which none of this would be possible.”

With this weekend’s tremendous fundraising effort, Leaven Kids stands ready to deliver desperately needed educational resources and after-school tutoring to children living in California’s most at-risk neighborhoods.

Leaven Kids would also like to extend their heartfelt appreciation to Kaiser Permanente, the event title sponsor, as well as the Lewis Family, Napa County Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza, Chuck Wager of Caymus Vineyards, and all the event’s volunteers that helped make this special day possible.

“We’re excited for what the future holds,” said Lillis. “This is a big win for the community and, most importantly, for the kids.”


About Leaven Kids

Since 2009, Leaven Kids has provided free after-school tutoring and mentoring to some of California’s most at-risk neighborhoods. It serves as an in-community resource for children and their families by building educational centers in areas hardest hit by poverty, crime, and high drop-out rates among youth. With the help of dedicated volunteers, Leaven Kids helps to transform entire communities by providing love and patience to children struggling to learn and succeed in school. To learn more, visit

Contact for Media
Samuel Swanson 

Published by Leaven Kids September 27, 2022
Leaven Kids