Detroit Head Start Early Childhood Innovation Fund

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In 2013, a group of national and regional funders 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 for programs and partnerships that will improve the quality of Head Start services and outcomes for children and their families in Detroit.

The creation of the Fund is in response to the rebidding process occurring with Detroit Head Start programs, and will be explicitly for the new Head Start providers to be selected by the federal government. 


In 2013, Detroit was one of five cities selected by the Health and Human Services Administration’s Office of Head Start to pilot a new “birth-to-5” approach to Head Start services. For the first time, nonprofit agencies will have the flexibility to create a seamless experience combining Early Head Start services (pregnant women, infants and toddlers) and Head Start (preschool-aged children) with a single funding application to both programs.

The Detroit Head Start Early Childhood Innovation Fund will provide private matching dollars to fund innovative strategies proposed by the Head Start agencies selected to participate in the birth-to-5 pilot program.

The Fund will consider proposals from Detroit Head Start in such areas as: enhanced professional development and resources for teachers; evidence-based assessment of teaching and learning; effective integration of technology into curriculum and assessment; improved health outcomes such as dental, physical and mental health; and improving child well being through family financial literacy.

For information about grant guidelines and eligibility, contact


Early childhood development is emerging as a priority locally and at the state and federal levels. We know from years of research and experience that it is a high-return investment, resulting in healthier, smarter and more productive children for the 21st century.

Benefits to Detroit Children

  • Investing in developing healthy, smart and productive children is a fiscally responsible way to reduce deficits and create growth in the short- and long-term.
  • Quality early childhood development is the foundation for producing individuals who achieve more, need less government support and contribute to growth, not deficits.
  • Quality early childhood development is how we get serious about maximizing the talent and productivity of everyone—how we all do our part, compete and win.
  • Quality early childhood development isn’t just day care—it’s everyday growth.
  • Quality early childhood development focuses on the whole child: education, health, emotional development and family environment.
  • Quality early childhood development fuses cognitive and character skills into a strong foundation for success in school, career and life.
  • Quality early childhood development gives parents the resources they need to be better parents and better producers of skills and abilities in their children
  • Every child needs effective early childhood development, but at-risk children are least ikely to get it. They must be a priority investment.
  • Access to quality is key to efficiency and effectiveness—it’s how we move a perceived bottom-line expense into a known top-line driver of productivity.

Developed for Michigan’s Early Childhood Investment Corporation in 2013, with support from the Kellogg Foundation

Benefits to Head Start Organizations

  • Financial support for promising new projects and program
  • Convenings to bring providers together to share best practices and tips
  • Access to shared foundation resources in early childhood education, including research, data, national experts and training
  • Opportunity to put their best ideas into practice and create real impact in Detroit education

For more information, contact