Hope Starts Here: Foundations Putting $50M Into Early Childhood Development In Detroit

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Two Michigan-based foundations plan to invest $50 million to support efforts to improve childhood education and services in Detroit.

The funding announcement Friday came as the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Kresge Foundation released the 10-year “Hope Starts Here” framework. Goals include supporting creating a stronger connection between early childhood, health and education and improving early childhood services.

Each foundation is giving $25 million over three years. “Hope Starts Here,” which took a year to develop, is expected to even the playing field for students before they enter Detroit Public Schools.

“When we invest in early learning, we invest in creating the foundation so that our children can have an equal opportunity to compete in a very competitive and, frankly, unjust world,” said Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti.

Vitti says the “Hope Starts Here” program will help eliminate what he calls an “equity gap” that has too long been mislabeled as an “education gap.”

“We don’t have an achievement gap, we have an equity gap, we have an equal opportunity gap, we have a resource gap — that’s what we have,” he said. “For decades we’ve been blaming children and parents and neighborhoods and communities and not really calling out that we have an equity issue, we have an equal opportunity issue.”

The initiative will use a single integrated data system to increase information sharing and improve facilities. The funding will also create a team of advocates to advance early childhood development programs.

© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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