Why Are Foundation Leaders Pushing for Better Preschool In Michigan?

Kresge and Kellogg foundation leaders say it’s about the future workforce and attracting new talent.

Laura Weber Davis/WDET

Why would businesses be interested in preschool? Leaders of two major foundations say the business community can and should support early childhood development in the state. Why is that important? And how can the foundations move the needle with the private sector?

Two of the people leading the charge are Rip Rapson, president and CEO of The Kresge Foundation, and Joseph Scantlebury, vice president for program strategy with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Rapson and Scantlebury join Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson to talk about the initiative.

“With all of the flack around K-12 reform, I think we’ve lost perspective about how important it is that kids arrive at the school door ready to learn – emotionally, academically, developmentally, in every way,” says Rapson. 

“It tracks you throughout life,” he says. “And if you can’t get a good start, it’s just harder and harder each and every stage of the way. And I think businesses understand that very well. They’re seeing it, not only in their employees, but in the people they want to bring to Michigan and attract to Michigan. Those folks want to make sure that their kids are entering an environment where it’s possible to get ahead.”

“It’s about the future. It’s about the future workforce,” says Scantlebury. “And more importantly, it’s about employees and people who are working now and their appreciation that their lives don’t end after the clock is punched.”

To hear the full conversation, click on the audio player above.