The Kresge Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation and PNC Foundation Wednesday morning announced $2.5 million in joint grants to support improvements in early childhood education facilities in Detroit neighborhoods.

The announcement came during the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference as part of an opening session hosted by Kresge on the need to align early childhood and K-12 systems to help children succeed in school. The new funding expands support for the 3-year-old Learning Spaces, a program administered by nonprofit IFF, a mission-driven lender, real estate consultant and developer, to provide consulting and assistance on real estate consulting and facility upgrades.

The program has seen earlier grants from Kresge and Kellogg as part of the $50 million Hope Starts Here initiative to develop a citywide plan for a coordinated early childhood system that ensures children are born healthy, prepared for kindergarten and successful in their education after that.

Since 2016, IFF’s Learning Spaces program has invested $1.1 million in improvements to Detroit child care facilities serving 1,525 children. Those projects have led to the creation of 106 slots in early childhood education programs.

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