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Regional Child Care Planning Grant Awarded to Networks Northwest

News Release
March 14, 2023

NORTHWEST LOWER, MI - The Early Childhood Investment Corporation’s (ECIC) Child Care Innovation Fund has awarded Networks Northwest with a $150,000 grant aimed at expanding access to quality, affordable child care for working families in northwest Lower Michigan. Networks Northwest is one of 16 grant recipients throughout the state awarded funds to support a Regional Child Care Planning Coalition in order to understand the capacity and quality of the current child care system, the child care preferences of parents, and the needs of the business community. The Coalition will also determine barriers to increasing access, affordability, and quality along with strategizing for policy, funding and programs meant to overcome these barriers.

“Child care is the backbone of our economy”, said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Access to quality, affordable child care supports parents as they go back to work, ensures kids have the support they need to grow into their best selves, and helps businesses hire, recruit, and retain talent”.

The ECIC received $12.5 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding in August, awarded by the Michigan Department of Education as part of Caring for MI Future. The state is investing $100 million to dramatically increase access to child care across the state and open 1,000 new or expanded, child care programs by the end of 2024.

“Access to quality and affordable child care is vital to the economic well-being of a community”, said Jessica Willis, Chief Program Officer for Networks Northwest. “We recognize child care as critical infrastructure that enables workforce participation. This grant will support the convening of an inclusive regional network of partners to create the Northwest Regional Child Care Coalition. The Coalition will work to accelerate current initiatives and best practices, while identifying advocacy tools and strategies to support business growth.”

The Regional Child Care Planning grant runs through June 2024. For more information contact Jessica Willis at

The professionals at Networks Northwest help our City Council, Planning Commission, and staff make thoughtful decisions to ensure our community is sustainable and resilient for many years to come.
- Mark Heydlauff, Charlevoix City Manager