Early Childhood Investment Corporation Creates Child Care Innovation Fund

For Immediate Release – The Early Childhood Investment Corporation (ECIC), a statewide organization serving all 83 counties in Michigan, proudly announces the creation of a Child Care Innovation Fund, made possible by a $3 million investment from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Governor Whitmer has proposed a $3 million match to expand this public-private partnership to address Michigan’s child care crisis.

The Child Care Innovation Fund is designed to encourage regional and community demonstration projects throughout Michigan that will reimagine child care utilizing equitable strategies. The challenges the Innovation Fund seeks to address are daunting yet solvable. The availability of quality, affordable child care for working families in Michigan has been a longstanding challenge that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Moreover, the child care sector—essential to Michigan’s economic recovery—is facing unprecedented economic hardship during the pandemic. Despite what current science says about the complexity of nurturing the development and learning of young children, child care is often perceived as low skill work, resulting in persistent wage disparities, and creating workforce shortages and high turnover in the child care sector, which is predominantly staffed by women and women of color.

“We are incredibly thankful to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for this catalytic investment and for their long-time strategic partnership with ECIC,” says Dawne Bell, CEO. “The Child Care Innovation Fund will help Michigan solve our child care crisis. The policy choices Michigan makes now in early childhood must build the bridge from immediate relief to a more equitable early care and education system where every child has a right to developmentally meaningful early learning experiences and providers who are well trained, well paid and respected.”

“The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the challenges we face in ensuring children have equitable access to opportunities in Michigan,” said Yazeed Moore, W.K. Kellogg Foundation program officer. “Given these challenges and windows of opportunity, we think the time has arrived to re-imagine and build a stronger, more equitable system for early childhood care and education funding in Michigan by piloting and supporting new business and financing models that ensure every child has access to high quality experiences. The time is now for us to be bold and daring in how we truly support children and families. We look forward to our continued partnership with the Early Childhood Investment Corporation in this work.”

By piloting new business and financing models and adapting successful solutions from other states over the next two years, the Child Care Innovation Fund will ensure Michigan leverages public-private investment and future opportunities. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant will also support the creation and dissemination of reports and blueprints for scalable solutions to help policymakers apply what Michigan learns through this Innovation Fund to anticipated future federal funding opportunities for child care.

Applications for the first round of funding opportunities through the Child Care Innovation Fund are expected to open in the summer of 2021.