Boldly responding to Dr. King’s call for systemic change, a network of public, private, and nonprofit stakeholders in Detroit is seeking to radically restructure pathways to opportunity in the city’s neighborhoods. Through a first-of-its-kind initiative, a collective of the Kresge Foundation, the Detroit Public Schools Community District, and the University of Michigan will establish a “Cradle-to-Career” campus at Marygrove College on Detroit's Northwest Side. The campus will integrate pre-kindergarten through graduate level programs in an effort to establish a pedagogy of rigor, equity, and social justice at the intersection of public education and neighborhood revitalization in Detroit.
As Detroit’s resurgence pushes beyond the boundaries of greater Downtown, a daunting question remains: what about the schools? In conjunction with concentrated public and private investments in the city’s Fitzgerald neighborhood, the Cradle-to-Career initiative signifies the importance of comprehensive community development that acknowledges the place-based nature of residential segregation and systemic disinvestment. With the Kresge Foundation’s $50 million commitment—the largest investment in any single neighborhood in the nation— this partnership seeks to transform access to upward mobility, emphasizing the importance of beginning with Detroit’s youth in an effort to institutionalize equity from the ground up.