Battle Creek-based Kresge's five-year, $25 million commitment will refocus and align the foundation's Kresge Early Years for Success: Detroit initiative with the framework of the Hope Starts Here: Detroit's Early Childhood Partnership, a joint project with WKKF launched in 2016. Following a year-long community planning and engagement process, the partnership has developed a framework with six overarching imperatives — promoting the health, development, and well-being of all children in Detroit; supporting parents and caregivers as children's first teachers and champions; raising the overall quality of Detroit's early childhood programs; guaranteeing safe and inspiring learning environments; creating tools and resources to better coordinate early childhood systems; and identifying new ways to fund early childhood programs and do so more efficiently.
To that end, Kresge will support efforts to build the capacity of families, practitioners, leaders, and organizations; work to advance the field through the development of best practices and advocacy tools; create comprehensive early childhood centers; and coordinate citywide systems that support early childhood organizations. Initial investments include grants to Detroit Public Television ($100,000), Bridge Magazine ($450,000 over three years), and Chalkbeat Michigan ($75,000); nearly $700,000 in support of an initiative led by the Detroit Health Department to improve access to health and human services; and support for the Head Start Innovation Fund, an $11 million fund housed at the Community Foundation of Southeastern Michigan.
"The Hope Starts Here framework is a blueprint for ensuring that every child in the city of Detroit enters kindergarten equipped to succeed," said Kresge Foundation president and CEO Rip Rapson. "Kresge is proud to lend its full support to the pathways to progress that Hope Starts Here identifies. So proud, in fact, that we are committing $25 million over the next five years to support them, including a commitment to the upgrading of facilities, the creation of a small grant program for early childhood providers, and the strengthening of networks of learning and practice among early childhood professionals."
WKKF also is committing $25 million over three years to the initiative, the Detroit News reports. "Achieving positive and equitable outcomes for Detroit's children requires significant and sustained private and public investment," said La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. "We hope our three-year, $25 million initial commitment to strengthen networks for quality early childhood education and widen access for Detroit families will catalyze additional support."