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Whitmer Announces Regional Child Care Planning Grants to Help Expand Access to Affordable Child Care


September 28, 2022



Gov. Whitmer Announces Regional Child Care Planning Grants to Help Expand Access to Affordable Child Care

LANSING, Mich. -- Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that applications are now open for Regional Child Care Planning Grants from the Early Childhood Investment Corporation’s (ECIC) Child Care Innovation Fund. Regional coalitions can apply for up to $150,000 to develop a regional child care plan that meets the needs and preferences of working families, and address Michigan’s pressing need for more access to high-quality, affordable child care.

Every family in Michigan deserves access to high-quality, affordable childcare,” said Governor Whitmer. “I recently announced the new Our Strong Start program to make it easier for entrepreneurs to open new child care programs because there are still too many working families struggling to find child care that meets their needs and budget. To solve child care challenges at scale, we need many more partners coming together to identify creative solutions. The Regional Child Care Planning Grants will support existing regional child care collaborations and encourage more communities to take a hard look at how to make childcare more accessible to Michiganders.

“As a parent, I know how critical it is to access high-quality, affordable childcare,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. Regional Child Care Planning Grants will help local advocates, employers, parents, and leaders develop plans that start more child care businesses, support existing child cares, and lower costs for Michigan families. Governor Whitmer and I are committed to continuing our work to boost access to high-quality, affordable childcare in every Michigan community.”

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 the Caring for MI Future initiative. Caring for MI Future is a $100 million investment that will help more Michigan families find quality, affordable childcare in their community by opening 1,000 new, or expanded, childcare programs by the end of 2024

"Greater access to affordable child care is absolutely critical to creating economic impact and advancing our efforts to attract, retain and grow businesses and supporting vibrant communities across Michigan,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO of MEDC and President and Chair of the MSF Board. “We are pleased to work with our partners at the Michigan Department of Education and ECIC on this program, to continue building a holistic, people-first approach to economic development here in Michigan.”

“For years, economists have reported a strong link between child care and state and local economic growth and development,” said Dawne Bell, CEO of the Early Childhood Investment Corporation. “Thanks to this investment from the Michigan Department of Education and this strategic partnership with MEDC, ECIC’s Child Care Innovation Fund will support regions across Michigan to accelerate investments in childcare, which are good for families, good for children, and good for local economies.”

The Regional Child Care Planning Grant will help 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 to accelerate child care solutions.

Regional coalitions will receive grants, averaging $150,000, and expert technical assistance to develop innovative regional child care plans. Lead applicants must be entities or agencies that can demonstrate previous experience working in collaboration with others related to regional planning and economic development.

Coalitions interested in applying for the Regional Child Care Planning Grant should plan to attend a free Technical Assistance Webinar September 30 at 10:00 a.m. ET to learn more about eligibility, how to be successful when applying, and about the required work if the coalition is chosen to receive an award. Applications are due Monday, October 31 before 5:00 pm. To apply for funding, register for the webinar, or watch a recording, visit

On Sept. 13, Governor Whitmer announced the Our Strong Start program, the latest step in the governor’s Caring for MI Future strategy. The program will be run by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs’ (LARA) Child Care Licensing Bureau and help entrepreneurs get licensed and secure grant funding to launch their business. Anyone considering a career in child care can register at

The grants are a partnership between the ECIC, MEDC, and the Policy Equity Group, an educational consultant based in Washington, D.C.

Created in 2005 to serve as a statewide leader in early childhood, ECIC collaborates to increase public and private investment in the earliest years, elevate issues affecting young children and their families, and continuously improve Michigan’s comprehensive early childhood system. To learn more about ECIC and the Child Care Innovation Fund, please visit

The MEDC will serve as a key collaborative partner with ECIC on this initiative, providing both subject matter expertise on planning, zoning, and economic development to the design of the regional planning initiative, as well as outreach and connections to MEDC’s powerful network of economic development organizations and regional planning committees.

The Policy Equity Group will lead the design and facilitation of grantee training and technical assistance, including the convening a grantee learning community with the express purpose of expanding access to quality, affordable child care for working families in each of the grantee regions.