The Southeast Michigan Early Childhood Funders Collaborative (SEMI ECFC) serves as a network for early childhood care and education grantmakers focused on supporting the first eight years of a child’s life. The collaborative comes together to ensure families, providers and communities have the resources they need to achieve a healthy start, promote positive growth and development and optimize success in the 3rd grade and beyond.

Grand Rapids, MI

Focus Area:
Southeast Michigan

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Formed in August 2010 by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), Kresge Foundation, Skillman Foundation, Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, McGregor Fund, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, The Jewish Fund and the PNC Foundation, the group works to improve the strength and impact of conversations about early childhood development and education while also defining a more strategic process in awarding grants tailored toward helping the area’s most vulnerable young children.

The creation of the collaborative was an important step in generating the right conversations about early childhood development and education, as it now acts as a bridge of communication for so many organizations already committed to serving Detroit’s youngest children. In March 2014, the collaborative reaffirmed its commitment to improving conditions for Southeast Michigan’s youngest children when it announced the formation of a new $4.5 million fund to benefit Head Start programs in Detroit. The Detroit Head Start Early Childhood Innovation Fund will award competitive grants to newly selected Detroit Head Start grantees to foster innovation and collaboration and to support higher quality services and stronger outcomes for young children and their families.

Advancing quality, access and affordability of early childhood education and care are at the center of the collaborative’s work. They focus on four key levers for achieving success in these areas: philanthropic funding (individual and pooled), policy advocacy, expertise, and partnerships. SEMI ECFC members are encouraged to propose joint funding opportunities to the group in meetings and in regular update emails. These opportunities can be responsive to the immediate needs of the communities we serve or can help strengthen the early childhood system in the long term.

The SEMI ECFC is also active in the policy advocacy space. The collaborative meets monthly with representatives from the Governor’s office to talk through new public funding opportunities for early childhood in the state and how philanthropy can bolster efforts to ensure the equitable distribution of those funds. These meetings also include a national policy consultant who provides insights on alignment with federal resources.

Learn more in this profile of from The Kresge Foundation, Southeast Michigan Early Childhood Funders Collaborative invests early to help boost Detroit’s future.



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