Kresge, WKKF Commit $50 Million to Early Childhood Services

Kresge, WKKF Commit $50 Million to Early Childhood Services

The  and  have announced a $50 million commitment in support of efforts to strengthen and expand early childhood services in Detroit.

Battle Creek-based Kresge's five-year, $25 million commitment will refocus and align the foundation's initiative with the framework of the , 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 ($100,000), ($450,000 over three years), and ($75,000); nearly $700,000 in support of an initiative led by the to improve access to health and human services; and support for the Head Start Innovation Fund, an $11 million fund housed at the .

"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 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."

"." Kresge Foundation Press Release 11/10/2017. Jennifer Chambers. "." Detroit News 11/10/2017.