Great Start Collaborative and Consumers Energy Foundation announce grant

CADILLAC — The Wexford-Missaukee-Manistee Great Start Collaborative has received a $20,000 grant from the Consumers Energy Foundation to support early childhood programming in the area served by the Wexford-Missaukee-Manistee Great Start Collaborative.

This makes a total of $174,000 that the Consumers Energy Foundation has invested in Early Childhood programs through the local Great Start Collaborative over the past five years.

The funds will support a variety of early childhood programs in Wexford, Missaukee, Manistee and northern Osceola counties. Among the projects benefitting from this generous award are the Wexford-Missaukee Imagination Library, Home Visiting throughout the area, and preschool scholarships in Manistee County.

The portion going to the Imagination Library, approximately $8,000, will be matched by the Wexford Missaukee United Way. The Imagination Library provides a book in the mail each month to children birth to 5 years, whose parents choose to sign up. The only eligibility requirement is that the family live within the service area of the Wexford Missaukee Intermediate School District. The program serves about 2,000 children each month.

Since beginning in June 2013, the program has served over 4195 children and distributed over 117,513 books. The program is funded 100% through donations and 100% of all donated funds goes to buying and mailing books.

“Consumers Energy is committed to ensuring all Michigan residents have access to world-class educational resources, and supporting Great Start Collaborative through our Foundation is an excellent way to develop literacy from a young age,” said Carolyn Bloodworth, secretary/treasurer of the Consumers Energy Foundation. “We’re pleased to open an exciting chapter in the lives of thousands of Northern Michigan children by supporting this effort to inspire them to read.”

The Home Visiting portion of the award will increase the availability of evidence-based home visiting throughout the service area of the Wexford-Missaukee-Manistee Great Start Collaborative. Providers of the service are District Health Department No.10 and the Cadillac OASIS/Family Resource Center, who use curriculaproven to increase school readiness, child health, and parent competency.

The preschool scholarship program is a unique program in Manistee County, benefitting seven families in the current year and seeking to grow each year. The program comes out of a collaborative partnership initiated by the Great Start Collaborative and the Manistee County Community Foundation’s community leadership initiative, Launch Manistee, whose focus is to support the success of students from early childhood through adulthood.

“We are very fortunate and blessed to have Consumers Energy supporting early childhood programming in our service area,” said Dave Cox, Wexford-Missaukee and Manistee ISD Superintendent. “Our local districts are seeing students coming in better prepared for kindergarten and it is donations like these that help give our children a Great Start to a great education.”

Niki Schultz, Great Start Collaborative Coordinator for Wexford Missaukee said: “This is a major contribution to the work we do. Consumers Energy Foundation has been a consistent supporter of Early Childhood programming and the Imagination Library since we began. In honor of their ongoing annual support we have named them one of two “Sustaining Partners” of the Wexford-Missaukee Imagination Library.

 

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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