The Charles Steward Mott Foundation has announced a $9 million grant to the Foundation for Flint, a supporting organization of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, to fund construction of a new early childhood education center in Flint.
Construction of the facility, which will serve up to two hundred and twenty children starting this fall, has begun on the campus of the Durant-Tuuri-Mott Community School. At just over 36,000 square feet, the center will feature eighteen classrooms as well as several community rooms for use beyond the regular school day. In addition to highly skilled teaching staff, the center will include family support specialists who will connect children, their parents, and other community residents with needed services.
The Genesee Intermediate School District will provide the educational programming for the center, while the University of Michigan – Flint will collect data and conduct research to help assess which practices are most effective at improving the lives of children and families. To help Flint families recover from the water crisis, the state has committed funding to support children's free participation in high-quality, all-day, all-year early education programs. Mott Foundation president Ridgway White said the foundation, CFGF, and others were still working to secure additional resources and bring more community partners on board.
"We decided to begin construction now, even before we have all of the pieces in place, because Flint kids shouldn't have to wait," said White. "While all kids should have access to early childhood education, it's especially important to help children in Flint overcome the challenges of lead exposure."