Sterling Heights

Sterling Heights childcare provider makes key renovations and upgrades thanks to this grant program

What’s happening: A Sterling Heights-based childcare provider is one of more than 1,100 home- and center-based facilities that has benefited from the $59 million Caring for MI Future: Facilities Improvement Fund (FIF) and its associated grant program, a statewide effort to improve existing childcare facilities and expand capacity. With the funds now fully distributed, the Michigan Department of Lifelong Learning, Achievement, and Potential (MiLEAP) is pointing to a home-based childcare facility in Sterling Heights as a FIF success story.

What it is: Launched in November 2022, the Caring for MI Future: Facilities Improvement Fund supported a statewide plan to open or expand 1,000 childcare programs by the end of 2024. Up to $50,000 in grants were available to home-based providers, and up to $150,000 to center-based ones. The federally funded $59 million FIF had already met and exceeded its goal one year ahead of schedule; there were 1,200 new child care centers and 2,159 home-based expansions by November 2023, creating 36,783 new spots for children throughout the state.

And today: MiLEAP is celebrating the program’s success in now having supported more than 3,500 successful renovation and upgrade projects at more than 1,100 childcare facilities throughout the state. Funded projects range from new windows and furnaces to outdoor playscapes and more.

Why it’s important: “This project has impacted my program in the best way. My old floors were cracked and a tripping hazard. With new flooring, the kitchen area is safe for the children, and I have so much more space to prepare and store food," says Juanna Edwards, owner of Winnie's Bright Beginnings Child Care in Sterling Heights.

"My basement has been updated so the children have a bigger learning space, a bigger play area, and a bigger place to sleep. I can now enroll more child care children and hire an assistant to help because the areas have more space and room so that everyone can be comfortable! This grant has been absolutely amazing.”

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.