Detroit Head Start
Early Childhood
Innovation Fund


The purpose of the Detroit Head Start Early Childhood Innovation Fund is to foster innovation and improvements in Early Head Start and Head Start services for families and children in Detroit.

The Detroit Head Start Early Childhood Innovation Fund awards competitive grants for programs and partnerships that improve the quality of Head Start services and outcomes for children and their families in Detroit.

The $4.9 million Innovation Fund is leveraging and supporting a $48 million federal investment in Head Start programs in Detroit. It supports comprehensive birth-to-age-5 Early Head Start and Head Start programming in Detroit, including programs for expectant families.

The fund was created in response to the rebidding process occurring with Detroit Head Start programs, and focuses specifically on the new Head Start providers that were selected by the federal government.



In 2013, the Southeast Michigan Early Childhood Funders Collaborative invited organizations administering Head Start programs in Detroit to submit grant requests for innovative, data-driven programs that would improve outcomes for Detroit children and families.

The following foundations are members of the Southeast Michigan Early Childhood Funders Collaborative, which created the $4.9 million fund to support these efforts:

  • W. K. Kellogg Foundation
  • Kresge Foundation
  • Skillman Foundation
  • Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation
  • McGregor Fund
  • Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
  • Jewish Fund
  • PNC Foundation

Detroit Head Start Early Childhood Innovation Fund activities are managed by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.

On September 9, the first round of nearly $2 million in grants was awarded to those Head Start providers that reflected the following priorities:

  • Intensive teacher training and coaching for Head Start staff. Research indicates that professional development for teachers directly improves child outcomes.
  • A two-generation approach that provides children with high-quality education while supporting parents with educational and economic resources.
  • Innovative strategies for improving health outcomes for children, including birth outcomes, are employed.
  • Participation of all the grantees in a common data collection effort. The effort is led and coordinated by HighScope, a national leader in research-based early childhood education and evaluation.
  • Participation of all grantees in a Learning Network. This will work to build best practices among the agencies and boost outcomes for children and families in Detroit.


Early childhood development is emerging as a priority at local, 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.

Quality early childhood development offers 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.
  •  Is the foundation for producing individuals who achieve more, need less government support and contribute to growth, not deficits.
  • Is how we get serious about maximizing the talent and productivity of everyone — how we all do our part, compete and win.
  • Isn’t just day care—it’s everyday growth.
  • Focuses on the whole child: education, health, emotional development and family environment.
  • Fuses cognitive and character skills into a strong foundation for success in school, career and life.
  • 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 likely to get it. They must be a priority investment.
  • Access to quality is the key to efficiency and effectiveness — it’s how we move a perceived bottom-line expense into a known top-line driver of productivity.

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

"Community support is essential to the success of the Head Start program. What the Collaborative is doing in Detroit provides a model for how the philanthropic community can work to support high-quality Head Start services in communities across the country."

Anne LinehanOffice of Head Start

What We’ve Funded

Starfish Family Services received $750,000 for Head Start preschool services to nearly 1,300 children and families, including home-based services for infants and toddlers and pregnant women. The grant will cover implementation of a new curriculum, assessment and screening.

Matrix Human Services received $668,392 for Head Start services at 26 Detroit locations and nine programs in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. Their work will include home visitations and parent coaching, teacher training, new curriculum and the integration of social services.

Southwest Counseling Solutions received $75,000 to support two community-based doulas — pregnancy and early infancy coaches — to provide birth and parenting support to pregnant women and new mothers. This is the first program of its kind to reach out to low-income mothers with doula services.

New St. Paul Tabernacle received $300,000 to implement evidence-based tools and professional staff development in its Early Head Start and Head Start programs serving 88 infants and toddlers, 475 preschoolers and 20 pregnant women. The center will introduce an Oral Education Series, Prenatal Education Workshop and Living Arts teacher training, and family enrichment workshops.

Metropolitan Children and Youth Inc. (also known as United Children and Families) received $190,000 to support services for 512 children and their families, including prenatal care and full-day, full-year infant and toddler programs, and to create spots for 210 additional children in their preschool programs. The grant will also support formative assessment, professional development for teachers and enhanced data gathering, tracking and reporting.


The Community Foundation can accept gifts of almost any kind, including:

  • Cash, by check or online donation
  • Securities traded on major exchanges
  • Closely held business interests
  • Interests in limited liability companies
  • Patent interests and other qualified intellectual properties
  • Mutual fund shares
  • Fully paid life insurance policies
  • Retirement plan assets
  • Real estate

How to Give

You can give online using our online giving platform.

Give Online

Don’t want to give online? Give by check, cash, securities or wire transfer.

Please make your check payable to the “Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan” and mail it to:

Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
333 W. Fort St., Suite 2010
Detroit, MI 48226

For assistance with how to give gifts of cash, marketable securities or wire transfer, please review our Procedures for Making a Gift of Cash or Stock document.

Procedures for Making a Gift of Cash or Stock


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact:

Katie Brisson

Vice President,

313.961.6675, ext. 122