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Great Start Collaborative Issues Request for Proposals


A Regional Center & Network for Children, Parents and Caregivers

Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau and Manistee Counties, Michigan - A Request for Proposals (RFP) has been issued seeking proposals to design and engineer A Regional Center & Network for Children, Parents and Caregivers that would encompass a six-county region, including Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau and Manistee Counties. The goal of the project is to provide all children, parents and caregivers with equal access to all of the benefits of programs and services that enhance and promote the full growth and development of children.

The RFP was issued by the Great Start Traverse Bay/Manistee Collaborative to engage all interests in designing a superior Great Start system to support the success of children, parents and communities in the region. A copy of the RFP and related reports and documents are available at

"When the collaborative is designed, engineered and then implemented, it will be a definitive best practice in the nation for supporting children and parents," said Mike Hill, Superintendent Traverse Bay Are ISD. "We want everyone who has a stake in the future of children, families and the future quality of life in the region to join in designing and making this collaborative effort a reality. The focus is on children and building our communities, not on organizational lines of authority or preconceived measures or standards. This can and should be one of our highest priorities for the 50-year Grand Vision of our region and become one of the most significant place making initiatives in Michigan that will bring people to our region to live, work and play. This is as much about our ISD as it is every organization, public or private, that is involved with or places priority upon our childrens and our future."

The RFP is seeking proposals by April 19, 2012 from organizations that have the capabilities to design and engineer a collaborative system that will support the success of children ages prenatal to 8 years of age as well as parents and caregivers within the six county area. Respondents are encouraged to develop partnerships with organizations to fully respond to the diverse requirements of the RFP. All respondents are required to participate in person or by teleconference in a pre-proposal meeting to be held on March 15, 2012 at the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce in the Steelcase Room from 1:00-3:00 p.m.

The design and engineering of the collaborative is expected to result in:

  • An identification of public and private organizations, programs, services and desired outcomes that will be encompassed by the collaborative in all six counties and how those organizations and programs will be integrated to provide one-stop, "no wrong door" support for children and parents.
  • Technology and funding requirements of the collaborative.
  • An integration of national best practices in the design and engineering considerations.
  • Design and preliminary engineering of a building(s) or center that could serve as a hub and/or service provider in the region.
  • An evaluation plan to measure outcomes.
  • Design considerations that enable all children and families in the region to access the high quality services and programs provided through the collaborative.
  • A management concept for the Collaborative where ownership and responsibility for the Collaborative will be shared among all participating public and private agencies and organizations as well as parents, caregivers and children.
  • An implementation plan, schedule and budget

 A leadership team consisting of diverse interests from the six county region will review and screen proposals, interview "finalists," and select an organization or team of organizations to complete the project.  The Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation, the Manistee County Community Foundation and the Consumers Energy Foundation are serving as co-chairs to convene potential funders to financially contribute to the completion of work required under the RFP and to future implementation.

"While we need to fully support the completion of work that the RFP requires, we also want respondents to consider their potential future involvement in helping the Great Start Collaborative implement the system they design," said Phil Ellis, Executive Director of the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation. "We cannot afford anything less than a best in class approach to meet the current and future needs of our children, parents, families and communities. But we must also use this as an opportunity to see how we can achieve economies of scale and maximize the use of volunteers and mentors in developing and implementing the Collaborative. In addition to public programs and resources, this is clearly a wonderful opportunity for philanthropy because this is about supporting our children and our communities for future generations."

"Whether yours is an existing business in the six county area or a company looking to begin or expand operations, this Great Start Collaborative will be of immense benefit," said Doug Luciani, President/CEO of the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce. "Study after study has documented monumental economic benefits by reaching our kids early in life with programs and services that support their full development. We must do this because it is perhaps the most important thing we can do to ensure that we will compete and win in the global environment, now and in the future."





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