Shared from the 7/9/2020 Midland Daily News eEdition

Strosacker Foundation provides ‘Ready For School’ scholarships

The Midland County Great Start Collabora- tive/Midland County Educational Service Agency announced it has received a $250,000 grant from the Charles J. Strosacker Foun- dation to fund quality preschool experiences for children from economically disadvantaged families.

The grant supports an existing “Ready For School” endowed schol- arship fund established at the Midland Area Community Foundation.

The Midland County Great Start Collaborative, a consortium of parents, preschool providers, community members and MCESA staff, will manage the funds providing scholarships to par- ent-selected Midland

County preschools that are offering quality preschool opportunities. Qualifying preschools must achieve a 3-Star or better (maximum of 5-Stars) rating based on Michigan’s Great Start to Quality rating and improvement system.

It’s estimated that about a third of Midland County 4-year-olds and as many as half of its 3-year-old children are unable to attend a quality preschool because of their families’ resource lim- itations. The Ready For School preschool tuition scholarships are tiered according to family income with the lowest income families receiving full tuition underwriting which declines with increasing family income.

“We are delighted to invest in the Ready For School preschool scholarship endowment fund. Considerable research has shown that as much as 85% of a person’s brain development occurs in the first  five years of a child’s life and that cognitive stimulation and quality preschool experiences are crucial in facilitating this growth. Unfortunately, children from econom- ically disadvantaged families often have limited access to quality programs leading to a school readiness gap and future difficulties in learning,” said Kimberlee Baczewski, executive vice president of the Strosacker Foun- dation.

“The benefits of this quality preschool scholarship program will be considerable and significant,” said Micki Gibbs, MCESA director of the Great Start Collaborative. “A sizeable body of research convincingly demon- strates that in addition to improved school readiness, children who have enjoyed a quality preschool experience demonstrate excellent literacy skills, high math aptitude, better school attendance, and improved social/ emotional capability.” She also noted that “having the funds endowed means scholarships will be available for the fore- seeable future.”

For more informa- tion about the Ready For School quality preschool scholarship, contact Great Start Collaborative Director Micki Gibbs at or 989-492-7702,  ext. 1173. Donations to the Ready For School preschool endowment fund can be made at the Midland Area Community Foundation at 989-839-9661 or at midlandfounda-

–  Processed by Victoria Ritter, vritter@

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