Brighter Beginnings

Every Family Matters

Richmond, CA   |


To support healthy births and successful development of children by partnering with parents and helping to build strong communities.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Dr. Barbara McCullough Ph.D.

Main address

2727 Macdonald Avenue

Richmond, CA 94804 USA

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Formerly known as

The Perinatal Council



NTEE code info

Family Services (Adolescent Parents) (P45)

Counseling Support Groups (F60)

Alcohol, Drug Abuse (Prevention Only) (F21)

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Teen Family Services

-Case Management: Our Teen Family Services (TFS) program supports pregnant and parenting teens to have healthy births, reach school/work goals, and achieve healthy personal development for parents and baby. TFS provides information about parenting skills, family planning, and child development, while providing a safe space to access social services, attend teen parent support groups, and articulate life goals. TFS is available to pregnant or parenting teens in Alameda & Contra Costa County. TFS services are provided at home and at all Brighter Beginnings Centers.

-Pregnancy Prevention: Brighter Beginnings provides group education and trains youth, primarily teen parents, as Peer Educators to speak with other youth about contraception, STIs, and their life experiences as a young parent. Pregnancy Prevention is available to teen parents and high school students. Services are provided at the Oakland San Antonio Center, partner agencies, and local high schools.

Indicators of Success:  High school graduation, Child wellness, Family planning, Having Goals for self-sufficiency.

Population(s) Served

-Counseling: Clinicians provide Mental Health Services to children, adolescents, and adults to build healthy and supportive family relationships. Skills focus on dealing with anger, stress, depression, parenting challenges, and nurturing healthy bonding and attachment for young children. Counseling is available to Medi-Cal eligible children, youth, & CalWORKs eligible adults in Alameda County. Counseling is provided at the Oakland Gateway Center.

Indicators of Success:  Improvement in clinical symptoms, 6-month review of client treatment plans.

-Healthcare Clinics: Brighter Beginnings joined with RotaCare Bay Area to bring a Free Medical Clinic to Richmond, offering urgent and primary care to adults and children with no medical insurance. The Free Clinic is open Tuesday evenings from 4 - 7 pm. We also provide a Low Cost Community Clinic, serving low-income, uninsured, underinsured, and undocumented patients. The Clinic specializes in Pediatric, Women’s, and chronic condition care. Visits, medicine, and lab tests are charged on a sliding fee scale. Immunizations are available, and the Community Clinic also offers Lead Abatement Services. Health care is available to West Contra Costa County residents. Services are provided at the Richmond Macdonald Center.

-Group Care: Black Infant Health (BIH) is a group empowerment model designed to support African American mothers ages 18+ in having a healthy pregnancy. BIH is available to West Contra Costa County residents and provided at the Richmond Macdonald Center.

Indicators of Success: increase in social support, leading to better birth outcomes

Population(s) Served

-Early Head Start: Educators visit homes to promote healthy births, child development, and healthy relationships. Monthly groups enable families to socialize, learn about public benefits, and build networks of support. Early Head Start services are available to expecting parents and families with children ages 0 - 3 in Alameda & Contra Costa Counties. Services are mostly in-home with occasional center-based socializations provided at the Oakland San Antonio and Richmond Macdonald Centers

Indicators of Success: Self-reported outcomes, Ages & Stages for children’s development, regular reviews of family plans.

-Antioch First 5: Funded by First 5 Contra Costa, Antioch First 5 provides free support, workshops and classes to pregnant and parenting families. These programs enable healthy pregnancies, parental social support, healthy child-parent relationships, positive parenting practices, early childhood development, and school readiness. Services are available to expecting parents & families with children ages 0 - 5 in the Antioch region of Contra Costa County. Services are provided at the Antioch Buchanan Center.

Indicators of Success: Regular monitoring reports against a service plan.

-Hello Baby: Also funded by First 5 Contra Costa, this home visiting case management program helps new parents access social services, become self-sufficient, improve parenting skills, and develop plans for child and family health. Services are available to expecting parents and families with children less than 4 months old in Richmond and San Pablo in Contra Costa County. Services are provided at the Richmond Macdonald Center.

Indicators of Success: Regular monitoring reports against a service plan.

Population(s) Served

-Male Involvement: Brighter Beginnings offers rites of passage and fatherhood services for young men as classes, workshops, and activities. Programs empower men to define and embrace masculinity, fatherhood, and responsibility. Groups discuss parenting skills, child development, communication, and play. Male Involvement services are available to all men, including non-fathers and father figures, in Alameda County. The services are provided at partner agencies, local high schools, and outdoors.

-Family Financial Fitness: Brighter Beginnings offers Family Financial Fitness workshops and financial assessments. Brighter Beginnings also offers Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites for clients to receive professional help with tax returns and refunds. We also offer SparkPoint Financial Coaching to help clients open bank accounts, get out of debt, develop a budget, make savings plans, and build credit. Family Financial Services are available in Alameda and Contra Costa County. The services are provided in homes and SparkPoint Centers, one of which is co-located at the Richmond Macdonald Center.

Indicators of success: set educational and employment goals, increase financial knowledge.

-Leadership Development: Brighter Beginnings educates, trains, and launches community leaders through a variety of programs, partnerships, and collaboratives. These programs educate clients and community members about child health and development issues via community advocacy. Leadership Development is available to all community members. These services are provided across Contra Costa and Alameda County at Brighter Beginnings Centers and partner agencies.

Population(s) Served

Where we work


Nonprofit of the Year 2013

Richmond Chamber of Commerce

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Brighter Beginnings seeks to engender the five success factors for healthy families – resilience, strong community connections, parenting and child-development knowledge, financial security, and healthy and happy children – in all of our work. For those who live in resource-rich communities such family success is easier to maintain against a backdrop of steady employment, strong family and community ties, great school districts, and professional resources (and the funds to secure them) when outside help is needed. In the low-income communities we serve mere survival is at stake, liquor stores appear on every street corner and playgrounds are the site for drug deals. Jobs are scarce and fathers are even scarcer in their children's lives. There is a flourishing payday loan industry, but stores that sells fresh food are absent. Stress and trauma are commonplace, and there is little help available.

This is the reality for thousands of East Bay families that Brighter Beginnings serves. Helping families uncover their strengths and develop a path towards self-sufficiency and well-being is challenging. But over time and with adequate support, our families are eager to take the crucial steps toward self-sufficiency, and health and happiness that are every family's right, and the key to every community's success. The Brighter Beginnings mission to “support healthy births and successful development of children by partnering with parents and helping to build strong communities“, gains its strength and aspiration from our core belief and vision that, every family matters, and every child deserves a happy, healthy future.

Four years ago, the Board of Directors at Brighter Beginnings identified an opportunity to increase our clients' health and well-being by becoming a direct healthcare provider. Evidence has been mounting that culturally appropriate healthcare delivered in a setting adjacent to critical social services improves outcomes for low-income people. The Board believed that Brighter Beginnings had the capacity to deliver this promising healthcare model and doing so would further our mission. The Board's move began a gradual integration and development of our capacity to provide healthcare resulting in the 2013 launch of our RotaCare Free Clinic at our Richmond site. We have continued to pursue this growth, and in 2014 will be launching full-scale, family health clinics at our Richmond and Antioch locations. Eventually this growth will expand to Oakland as well, enabling Brighter Beginnings to make an even greater impact on community health in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.

Brighter Beginnings believes in building solid foundations for children that continue throughout their lives, and which must begin by addressing the social networks, economic stability, health inequities, and neighborhood environments that often engulf families limiting their capacity for success. Families survive, and usually thrive, when they have strong social connections, know how to bond with and nurture their children, have access to culturally appropriate services to meet their needs, and have financial stability. Consequently, we have enhanced our core services - case management and home visiting to support healthy births and successful development of children– to overcome the barriers to client's economic success and well-being. We are working to change parents' attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors related to their finances and career goals to position them and their children for better lives. We are also working to build protective factors for our families by strengthening their ties to healthcare and healthy behaviors by offering them a healthcare clinic that can be their “medical home" in conjunction with our comprehensive services.

We work holistically with clients at five centers located in low-income neighborhoods in Oakland, Antioch and Richmond and in community settings such as schools and neighborhood centers. Because multiple supportive services to address the social determinants of health - ranging from a health clinic, to early childhood development and assessment, to Family Financial Fitness, and Fatherhood groups - are collocated at our centers we are able to work with clients to address a range of overlapping concerns. We serve about 2,700 people per year, most of whom are teen parents, low income families, or undocumented immigrants.

As our mission is to support the physical and psychological health of children, we employ frameworks that inform our work in each of these areas. The “Life Course framework" is an epidemiological approach focusing on the different factors at various life stages, social, and structural contexts that encourage or inhibit good physical health; the “Strengthening Families framework" is a tool for identifying protective factors that make a family a safe and stable place for a child's healthy psychological development. Together, these two perspectives guide our holistic strategies to support both health and development. And, because we recognize the role that stable, well-paying employment plays in supporting a family's well-being, we've integrated pro-work elements in all of our programs. We help clients identify goals and then support them on their paths toward career and independence.

Brighter Beginnings has a capable management team. Barbara McCullough, Ph.D., has over 40 years of experience in non-profit management, and has served as Brighter Beginnings' Executive Director since 1996. Dr. McCullough is an Organizational Psychologist with expertise in systems for strengthening families and improving health outcomes through building strong, peer-supportive communities. Our Chief Financial Officer is a CPA, and we have two full-time accountants who support fiscal operations. Brighter Beginnings employs a diverse staff, many of whom are ethnically and linguistically representative of the communities we serve. All of our Program Managers and close to half of our staff have Master's Degrees in areas such as Public Health, Social Work and Counseling.

Brighter Beginnings staff who work directly with clients are home visitors, case managers, and clinicians. They are known as Family Advocates in our Teen Family Services and Black Infant Health programs; Fatherhood Coaches in our Male Involvement program, Parent-Child Educators in Early Head Start and Clinicians in Mental Health. All have at least college level work and training in child or family development, family health, and social work fields of practice. Our RotaCare Free Medical Clinic is staffed by volunteer physicians and nurses, and allied health professionals, such as social workers and medical translators. Our community clinic is currently staffed primarily by interns in a Family Nurse Practitioner Program of Samuel Merritt University who are supervised by faculty. As our healthcare clinic expands in 2014 we intend to employ a full-time medical staff.

Brighter Beginnings Board of Directors is ethnically diverse and is also diverse in age, gender, race and skill sets and includes two MD's (Pediatrician, OBGyn), banking executive, business and real estate professional, marketing professional, attorney, former elected official, and foundation executives.

In 1979, a group of Oakland community organizations responded to an epidemic of illness and death among black infants in Oakland's poorest neighborhoods. They worked to connect mothers with health care and other support services, eventually forming the East Bay Perinatal Council in 1984. In 2007, it was renamed Brighter Beginnings to better reflect the agency's expansion into a family-based model, with a focus on the “beginnings" of life and incorporating early child development, fathers and siblings, care, and the need to impact the “social determinants of health" to promote strong families and communities that support families and children. Brighter Beginnings' approach was validated when the State of California adopted the culturally competent and highly effective Black Infant Health outreach and case management model that has been key to reducing the East Bay's black infant mortality rate.
Over the years, Brighter Beginnings has increased its capacity to respond to emerging community needs. We have added programs like Nurturing Parenting support groups, facilitated child-play classes, Yoga for mothers, mental health services, fatherhood development, sex education and STD/HIV prevention interventions. We have established child development and school readiness programs for young children. In addition, we have designed and implemented several best practice models of pregnancy prevention, HIV/AIDS prevention, substance abuse prevention, and violence prevention.
The clients that we have helped support are a meaningful measure of our progress. Trayvania – or “Tray," for short – faced multiple challenges when she came to Brighter Beginnings. As a teen mom, Tray was learning how to be a parent to her son Zion, finish high school, and grow up fast – all with little financial support. Tara enrolled in the Teen Success program in Antioch in 2012, and worked with Tara, our Teen Success Coordinator. Tray received information about public benefits and medical care, and Tray used the Teen Success Class to identify her strengths, set educational goals, and develop her parenting skills. In 2013, Tray completed her first year of Brighter Beginnings Teen Success group and graduated from Independence High School. Soon after graduation, Tray found a job and received a scholarship that she put toward a culinary arts program at a local college. Tray is a loving mother to her son Zion - with insight into his development- and is looking forward to a brighter future.
We are inspired by the progress we witness in the clients we serve, such as Tray and Zion. Because a quarter of children under age 18 live in families who are below the poverty level in California and poverty is more concentrated in the communities we serve like Oakland, Richmond, and Antioch, we recognize the enormity of the problems we face. Brighter Beginnings, however, has the track record, plans, and capabilities to make meaningful improvements in families' lives.


Brighter Beginnings

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Brighter Beginnings

Board of directors
as of 3/10/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Lita Gloor-Little

Mariani Salmon

Mary Rocha

City of Antioch, California

Martha Rosales, LMFT

Kaiser Permanente

Lita Gloor-Little


Regina Brown

Christopher Govea

Cindy Lee

Deana Balinton

Helena Singelstad

Singelstad Construction

Martha Rosales, LMFT

Kaiser Permanente

Martha Rosales, LMFT

Kaiser Permanente

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No