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Gains for students, children and families


Grand Rapids-based grantee First Steps Kent is working to pass a renewal this August of Michigan’s first-ever millage to support early childhood development in the county for the next six years. An estimated 14,000 children benefitted from the Ready By Five millage passed in 2023. It funds programs that offer prenatal support, developmental screenings, early childhood system navigation assistance, home visits to support caregivers, play and learning groups, upgrades to early care facilities (including homes), behavioral therapy and books.


A foundation for housing equity is being established in Battle Creek to address historical and current housing inequities. This initiative involves community dinners and focusing on the impact of discriminatory housing policies. The Battle Creek Truth Racial Healing and Transformation group aims to empower residents with knowledge and encourage collective action towards housing justice. The plan includes developing a comprehensive housing equity plan in collaboration with local organizations and the city.


Louisiana schools showed marked improvement in the latest state rankings released by U.S. News & World Report. Louisiana ranked 40th on the list of the best states for pre-K through 12th-grade education, up from 41st last year and the highest it’s ever been on the list. In a press release, Louisiana Department of Education leadership attributed the achievement to the hard work of teachers and students. They also emphasized the importance of continuing the momentum to produce better outcomes for children, families and educators.

Hope Starts Here, a major initiative of WKKF and the Kresge Foundation in Detroit, has been working to build a cohesive early care and education system in the city since 2016. Created with the input of over 18,000 Detroiters in 125 community listening sessions, the initiative has made significant progress in the years since. It’s supporting families and caregivers, building and renovating early care and education facilities and providing assistance to small businesses that offer early care and education services. 

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