Skip to content

Kresge president outlines goals of early childhood work

General Foundation News

The need for well-educated workers and engaged citizens to be part of efforts to help move Detroit forward is a prime driver in The Kresge Foundation’s early childhood work, the Kresge Early Years for Success (KEYS): Detroit initiative, said President and CEO Rip Rapson during an interview on Comcast Newsmakers.

“Our hope is that by getting kids ready to enter the schoolhouse environment intellectually, emotionally and developmentally, you give those kids a real leg up and better success down the road,” Rapson told interviewer Laurel Hess. Wary of complications and political battles connected to K-12 education, “we thought ‘let’s start early.’ Let’s go from zero to K, see if we can’t get kids and families the kind of supports they need to get a good start in life,” Rapson said.

The interview focused on KEYS: Detroit as well the 2017 community planning process that falls within it, Hope Starts Here, which is co-led by Kresge and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

KEYS: Detroit launched in early 2016 as a five-year, $20 million commitment to reshape the city’s early childhood development system. Grants in the initiative go toward building new comprehensive early childhood centers, improving existing facilities, creating new neighborhood-based collaborations and grant programs for early childhood development, using social investments, and building leadership in the field.

Hope Starts Here is a community engagement and strategic planning process that brings together parents, business leaders, child education and development experts and other city stakeholders to develop a comprehensive plan to align and strengthen Detroit’s early childhood systems.