Child Care Innovation Grant Awards Announced

For Immediate Release – The Early Childhood Investment Corporation (ECIC), announces nearly $1 million in grants from the first Child Care Innovation Awards benefiting five Michigan communities — Detroit, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Leelanau, and Newaygo County.

ECIC’s Child Care Innovation Fund is designed to reimagine child care through common-sense financing and business solutions. Earlier this summer, ECIC issued a call for applications from communities seeking to fund unique solutions to Michigan’s child care shortage. ECIC received 147 applications, from more that 50 percent of Michigan counties, requesting more than $23 million in support.

“We know accessible, affordable and high quality child care is essential to Michigan’s recovery and future economic vitality,” says Joan Blough, Director of the Child Care Innovation Fund. “And clearly the need to fund new ideas exists. Interest in this program was unprecedented.”

By piloting new business and financing models, the Child Care Innovation Fund will create blueprints for scalable solutions to take advantage of future federal funding opportunities for child care.

The first cohort of Child Care Innovation Fund Awards range from $75,000 to $318,000 per community:

  • Detroit – a partnership between Development Centers, IFF and Trinity Health, with support from The Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance, will pilot a community-based approach to building the supply of quality child care in a “child care desert,” with a special focus on expanding access to infant-toddler care and to extended hours of care for working families.
  • Grand Rapids – a group led by Steepletown Neighborhood Services will scale up an early childhood educator registered, paid apprenticeship program, combining academic instruction with on-the-job training, in community with a child care shortage.
  • Kalamazoo – a partnership between the Kalamazoo Literacy Council, Southwest Michigan Child Care Resource and the YWCA will scale up a neighborhood-based career pathway that creates full-time child care jobs with competitive wages in a community with a child care shortage.
  • Leelanau – a collaborative effort led by the Leelanau Early Childhood Development Commission, with key partners Leelanau Children’s Center and the Leelanau Peninsula Economic Foundation will scale up a county-based model that supports culturally and economically diverse eligible adults to successfully start and operate profitable home-based child care businesses, which provide infant and toddler and extended hours care for working families.
  • Newaygo County – a coalition led by Newaygo County RESA will pilot a supply-building hub in a “child care desert” that engages economic development entities and employers to support child care business development.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with these communities on critically needed solutions that benefit working families, child care business owners and early educators,” says Blough.

Applications for a second round of funding opportunities through the Child Care Innovation Fund are expected to open in the fall of 2021.