Gov. Whitmer Announces Grants to Help Communities Expand Access to Low or No-Cost Child Care 


March 10, 2023         


Gov. Whitmer Announces Grants to Help Communities Expand Access to Low or No-Cost Child Care

Investments will benefit children, families, and small businesses in 81 counties, every region

LANSING, MI. — Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that 16 organizations serving Michiganders in 81 counties are receiving $2.4 million in Regional Child Care Planning Grants from the Early Childhood Investment Corporation’s (ECIC) Child Care Innovation Fund, helping them expand child care options, serving more families, and lowering costs for parents.

“Child care is the backbone of our economy,” said Governor Whitmer. “Access to quality, affordable child care supports parents as they work, ensures kids have the support they need to grow into their best selves, and helps businesses hire, recruit, and retain talent. To achieve these big goals, we need everyone to pitch in. Today, I’m proud to announce that 16 organizations across the state are stepping up to make child care more affordable and accessible for Michiganders in 81 counties and every region of the state. Together, we will build on our vision to ensure every family has access to child care that meets their needs.”

16 Regional Child Care Planning Grant recipients will each receive $150,000. The grantees, by MEDC Region, are:

  • Region 1: Upper Peninsula – UPWARD Talent Council
  • Region 2: Northwest – Networks Northwest
  • Region 3: Northeast – Northeast Michigan Council of Governments
  • Region 3: Northeast – Develop Iosco, Inc.
  • Region 4: West Michigan- The Right Place, Inc. & Vibrant Futures  
  • Region 4: West Michigan – United Way of the Lakeshore
  • Region 4: West Michigan – Ottawa Area Intermediate School District.
  • Region 5: East Central Michigan – Middle Michigan Development Corporation.
  • Region 6: East Michigan – Flint and Genesee Chamber Foundation
  • Region 6: East Michigan – Huron County Economic Development Corporation.
  • Region 7: South Central – Lansing Economic Area Partnership
  • Region 8: Southwest – Pulse @ W.E. Upjohn Institute of Employment Research
  • Region 9: Southeast Michigan – Lenawee Economic Development Corporation.
  • Region 9: Southeast Michigan – Ann Arbor SPARK
  • Region 10: Detroit Metro – Macomb County Planning and Economic Development
  • Region 10: Detroit Metro – IFF & Hope Starts Here

“This is an exciting time as for the first time ever, in many communities across Michigan, economic development leaders are coming together with early childhood leaders to work alongside municipalities and major employers on solving their community’s child care crisis,” said Dawne Bell, CEO of the Early Childhood Investment Corporation. “We are so thankful for this investment from the MI Dept. of Education and our strategic partnership with MEDC to be able to support regions across Michigan to accelerate investments in child care.”

“Vibrant Futures and The Right Place are thrilled to be teaming up for this game-changing opportunity to lead the regional planning in the western region,” says Chana Edmond-Verley, CEO of Vibrant Futures.  “We know that child care is an essential and strategic component to 21st century talent efforts, especially when the aim is business attraction.  Business growth is simply stifled without it. The regional planning effort will prove to be a gateway to increased child care supply, and economic alignment; and a critical accelerator for all Michigan families needing child care to get to work.”

Caring for MI Future 

ECIC received $12.5 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding in August, awarded by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) as part of Caring for MI Future— a $100 million investment to help more Michigan families find quality, affordable child care in their community. Today, too many communities do not have enough child care options to meet demand. To respond, the state is investing $100 million to dramatically increase access to child care across the state and open 1,000 new, or expanded, child care programs by the end of 2024. This strategy responds to the most pressing needs facing child care entrepreneurs and creates sustainable systems to support the current and next generation of child care business owners.

Through the Regional Child Care Planning Grant, ECIC, in partnership with MDE and MEDC, will bring economic development, employers, municipalities, parents, and early childhood leaders together in regional coalitions to understand child care facilities and workforce needs and develop a plan that meets the needs and preferences of working families, and address Michigan’s pressing need for high-quality, affordable child care.