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$50 million donation will help create innovative preK-20 campus in Detroit

Gift from the Kresge Foundation will help establish school with a "cradle-to-career continuum" on the campus of Marygrove College.

A $50 million donation from the Kresge Foundation will help pay for what officials have described as a one-of-a-kind school campus at Marygrove College in Detroit.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the project is being described as the largest ever philanthropic investment in a Detroit neighborhood.

that will serve about 1,000 students — and fuel neighborhood revitalization efforts in northwest Detroit.

The initiative is a partnership involving Kresge; the Detroit Public Schools Community District; the University of Michigan; Starfish Family Services; IFF, a Chicago-based nonprofit community development financial institution with an office in Detroit; the Detroit Collaborative Design Center of the University of Detroit Mercy; the Marygrove Conservancy and Marygrove.

It will expand on efforts Kresge is already making in neighborhoods and at Marygrove, which is undergoing a transformation after dropping undergraduate classes and focusing on its graduate program. Kresge has invested $16 million in the college to help stabilize it in the wake of financial problems.

The plan calls for Marygrove to be the site of a preK-20 campus, meaning it will include early childhood, preK-12, post-secondary and graduate education. Officials describe it as a "cradle-to-career continuum."

At full capacity, in 2029, the partnership will serve about 1,000 students. It'll begin with ninth-grade in 2019. Kindergarten and pre-kindergarten classes will begin in 2020.

A partnership between the school district and University of Michigan's School of Education will house an innovative approach to preparing certified teachers; it is modeled on residency programs for medical doctors.

A new early childhood center will be built on the campus, scheduled to open in 2020. A building that used to house Bates Academy on the Marygrove campus will be renovated for student and faculty use. So will the college's Liberal Arts Building. The former Bates building will house the K-12 school.

"The cradle-to-career model demonstrates that [Detroit] can simultaneously rebuild the district and introduce innovation," says Nikolai Vitti, superintendent of the Detroit district.

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