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Our Beginning

Saint Vincent’s Day Home was founded in the early 20th century in response to a growing child care crisis in West Oakland. Mothers worked in the canneries as fathers were off at war or working, leaving no one to watch over and care for their children.

The Sisters of the Holy Family recognized the direct need for quality childcare and moved across the Bay from San Francisco. In 1911, they founded Saint Vincent’s Day Home on 1086 8th Street in an 1863 Queen Anne Victorian home.

Since opening on October 16, 1911, more than 40,000 children have passed through our doors, and our grand Queen Anne has gone through numerous renovations to keep pace. It stands, slightly altered, and transformed through the years, but runs on the same mission: “to provide quality care, early childhood education, and family services to those in greatest need, ensuring that children are nurtured and educated, and their parents empowered to meet family responsibilities.”

1914 Building With Children (Sepia)
1914 Building With Children (Duotone)

The two photos above are from 1914 and show the Day Home’s Victorian building with children gathered underneath a large palm tree.

Our Timeline


  • SVDH is founded by the Sisters of the Holy Family to care for children of the working poor. Within one month, the Day Home is serving 32 children. By 1915 there are 78 children enrolled.


  • The Eighth Street site is dedicated entirely to the Day Home as the Sisters move their convent to the old home of Mr. H. Butters at Piedmont, known as “Alta Vista.”
  • The United Crusade (United Way) begins funding the Day Home.

1930s – 1940s

  • 180 children enrolled
  • First expansion project to accommodate a growing population


  • Recognized as a leader in the field, the Day Home makes a presentation at the White House Conference on Children
  • First Parent Board is established
  • In 1976, a major expansion includes new school buildings and accessory school structures


  • Saint Vincent’s Day Home celebrates its 75th anniversary
  • Launches the “Children’s Fund” endowment campaign


  • First lay Board of Directors is appointed and successfully completes the transition of ownership of the Corporation and the facility (from Sisters of the Holy Family)
  • Children enrolled reaches 250
  • Children’s Fund tops $3 million
  • In 1998, the Day Home launches a Capital Campaign to raise $2.6 million for major expansion and renovation


  • In 2000, Construction begins on four new classrooms, Hedco family literacy center; and ramps, lifts, and elevators for ADA accessibility. Construction is completed in 2002
  • In 2005, Chevron gives $200,000 to fund the first year of operations for the Hedco Family Literacy Center
  • In 2007, Saint Vincent’s is awarded $208,000 for Pre-Kindergarten & Family Literacy Program from the California Department of Education


  • Saint Vincent’s Day Home Celebrates 100 years of service to the children and families of West Oakland, serving over 35,000 children since its doors opened in 1911


  • Saint Vincent’s Day Home closes its doors in March for the first time in over 100 years due to the COVID-19 pandemic; reopening in July 2020 to continue its mission to serve families in greatest need
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