June 01, 2013, 05:00 AM Daily Journal Staff Report The Peninsula Partnership Leadership Council convened more than 100 county leaders in San Mateo Friday for a sneak preview of the group’s plan to improve reading proficiency rates of local third graders and to better prepare them to succeed in a global knowledge economy. The event was hosted by U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, Emmett D. Carson, CEO and president of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and Lenny Mendonca, director, McKinsey & Company. The initiative, called “The Big Lift,” envisions a countywide effort to provide high-quality preschool and inspiring summer learning to help ensure San Mateo County children can read proficiently by third grade. Currently, 42 percent do not clear that bar and, as a result, struggle academically throughout their school years, often dropping out. The Peninsula Partnership Leadership Council is a collaborative of 50 organizations representing government, direct service groups, foundations and business. They came together because they believed their collective impact on shared goals to improve the well-being of San Mateo County children would be more than the sum of their individual efforts. They are inviting leaders throughout the county to join the initiative and make high-quality preschool and third grade reading proficiency among their highest priorities.