Kellogg Awards $6 Million to Michigan Partnership
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Mich., has awarded $6.08 million to the Michigan Partnership for New Education, the largest single grant the ambitious collaborative has received since its rounding in 1989.
About $2.4 million of the grant, which was announced late last month, has been earmarked to supplement Kellogg's ongoing youth and education initiatives in three diverse communities: a poor section of Detroit, the medium-sized city of Battle Creek, and rural Marquette County in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, said Peter Plastrik, the partnership's chief of staff.
The funds in those communities will be used to begin new "professional-development schools," where the faculty of local teacher-education schools and their public-school colleagues can conduct research, team-teach classes, devise ways of improving curriculum and instruction, and work with education-school students preparing to teach.
The Michigan Partnership plans to transform one existing elementary school in each of the communities into a professional-development school, with more schools to follow. Ultimately, the partnership would like to see whole feeder systems of elementary, middle, and high schools in each of the cities in which it is operating, Jatrice Gaiter, a vice president at the partnership, said last week. In Marquette County, the partnership will work with Northern Michigan University. In Battle Creek, Western Michigan University has been enlisted. As of last week, no higher-education partnership has been finalized in Detroit, Ms. Gaiter said.
More Funding Sought
The new grant supplements millions of dollars that Kellogg has already committed to those three communities for its existing Kellogg Youth Initiatives Program. That program aims to bolster educational experiences in all facets of student life while fostering grassroots youth-leadership development.
The Kellogg effort illustrates a trend in which foundations increasingly are focusing their resources on specific communities for extended periods. Grantmakers thus seek to alter the overall fabric of the communities in which they operate rather than isolated segments of those communities.
Ms. Gaiter said that development of the education-innovation centers fit nicely with the existing Kellogg-funded work by linking community members, university officials, parents, and educators in a campaign to refurbish the overall educational environment of the communities.
The remaining $3.68 million of the grant will be used to bolster the work of 12 professional-development schools already operating in eight Michigan cities.
The Michigan Partnership, which eventually would like to fund a total of some 25 professional-development schools as well as a statewide extension service to disseminate research findings, hopes the Kellogg funds will serve as seed money to attract more investment.
Fully funded, the partnership, which has linked education, business, and government, would likely be the largest statewide public-private education collaborative in the country.
"This should send a very positive signal to potential investors that the partnership is on the right track," A. Alfred Taubman, chairman of the partnership's board of directors, said in a statement announcing the grant.
The $6.08 million is the first grant given to the Michigan Partnership by Kellogg, one of the largest foundations in the United States.
"The partnership is an important opportunity to accomplish the changes in education which... have eluded other reform efforts," Norman Brown, president of the foundation, said in announcing the grant. "We are convinced that this approach--which promises to reconnect schools to their neighborhoods and communities, and universities to the schools they should be supporting-is absolutely necessary."