$50 million from foundations will help Detroit boost early childhood education

Funding from the Kresge and Kellogg foundations will help build a state-of-the-art early childhood center and provide competitive wages for early childhood educators.

Two Michigan-based foundations say they are investing $50 million to support efforts to improve early childhood outcomes for children in Detroit.

The Detroit Free Press reports that money provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Kresge Foundation will be used for a number of things, including upgrading existing facilities, building a state-of-the-art early childhood center and providing competitive wages for early childhood educators.

Each of the foundations is investing $25 million to support the Hope Starts Here Community Framework, a 10-year plan for ensuring young children and families are placed at the center of public policy and business decisions. 

"This gives us a road map to make sure that Detroit puts kids first," says La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the Kellogg Foundation.

The $50 million invested by Kresge and Kellogg also will go toward efforts to improve the quality of early childhood programs and increase access to those programs. A program would be launched to train "passionate parents" and put them on a path to become early childhood educators.

Part of improving the quality of programs is to address the low pay of early childhood educators and the struggle to find people to work in the programs.

And a new state-of-the art facility, part of Kresge's investment, would provide not just early childhood education programs, but also parent education programs and health screenings.

Nikolai Vitti, superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools Community District, says he's excited about the effort and ready to collaborate.

"Everyone wants change in education," Vitti says. "What we don’t see enough is people putting their shoulder to the wheel to do things differently...and to think in a more visionary way to help do the work."


TAGS: Facilities
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