With more than twenty-five years of experience in our community, we’ve had time to learn that the synergy of collective action is more powerful than individual organizational efforts. Knowing this, we make a point of partnering with other organizations, agencies, foundations, government and parents to push for the best results possible. Since the challenges we face vary, we seek partnerships that bring uniquely innovative solutions for all kinds of families. Our success – and that of families in Kent County – depends on strong community investment and collaboration from the entire community.
Although our partnerships vary from program to program and also across time periods, Family Futures partners with various agencies, funders, and initiatives that align with our mission. These are some of the partners and initiatives that, together, support families in our community.
Amway One by One Campaign for Children
Purpose: Baby Scholars was especially designed with caring parents and their young children in mind. Baby Scholars has three components: home coaching for parents, workshops for parents and toddlers, and “first school” for preschoolers.
Partnership: Our Executive Director serves on the Advisory Council Our Contribution: Family Futures is the lead organization to develop and implement the evidence-based Raising a Reader initiative in several Hope Zone neighborhoods.
Believe 2 Become
Catholic Charities West Michigan
Partnership: Family Futures coordinates HealthyStart services in Kent County that are provided in conjunction with Arbor Circle and Catholic Charities West Michigan.Our Contribution: We provide organizational, financial and leadership support for Kent County Healthy Start.
Community Literacy Initiative
Purpose: Formerly known as Greater Grand Rapids Reads, the Community Literacy Initiative is a collaborative initiative and literacy coalition that seeks to empower community leaders, parents and residents to improve literacy for all ages.Partnership: Our Executive Director serves on the Advisory Council. This is a newly formed initiative with the initial meeting in September 2011.
Dispute Resolution Center
Purpose: The Dispute Resolution Center of West Michigan has served the courts and the community over the last 25 years, mediating disputes in seven Michigan counties: Kent, Isabella, Lake, Montcalm, Mecosta, Newaygo and Osceola. Mediation is used to resolve many court cases and non-court disputes. Their training services in conflict resolution and mediation are available to schools, churches, companies and individuals who want to learn more about communication and problem resolution.Our Contribution: From September 2006-September 2009, the Dispute Resolution Center was one of eight organizations that received technical assistance and training through a federally-funded initiative awarded to Family Futures (then known as the Child and Family Resource Council) to build organizational capacity and sustainability.
Head Start for Kent County
Purpose: Head Start for Kent County is a non-profit agency that provides holistic, family-centered services to low-income families in Kent County, Michigan. Founded in 1991 under the name Michigan Family Resources, the agency receives federal funds to manage both Head Start and Early Head Start programs. These early childhood programs support the well-being and development of children from birth to age five by focusing on education, nutrition, medical and dental care, parent involvement and social services.Partnership: We work together to support families by sharing recruitment flyers and brochures for each other’s programs and publishing information about Head Start registration in our Connection’s seasonal newsletters.
Heart of West Michigan United Way
Purpose: To impact lives in West Michigan by mobilizing the caring power of volunteers, donors, agencies, and community partners.Partnership: Several of the services and programs provided by Family Futures are supported through the HWMUW, especially those that seek an outcome related to early childhood, health, learning and knowledge.
Our Contribution: Programs such as Connections, Healthy Start, and RAVE (Resources Against Violent Encounters) use research-based models and innovations to support families and children to thrive.
Kent County Health Department
Kent County Prevention Initiative
Purpose: A program of Spectrum Health, Mothers Offering Mothers Support (MOMS) is a state-certified maternal-infant health program. The goal of MOMS is to lighten the stressful effects of pregnancy and help make sure pregnant women have healthy births. The MOMS program offers home visits and telephone calls throughout a participant’s pregnancy as well as the baby’s first year.Partnership: Our Healthy Start initiative partners with MOMS to get better health and medical outcomes for mothers and their young children.
Our Contribution: Some MOMs participants benefit from having a Healthy Start Family Support Worker working alongside their MOMs worker. After children leave the MOMS program at age one, they are often referred to Connections.
Baxter Community Center
Baxter Community Center
Cherry Street Health Services
Purpose: Cherry Street Health Services is a not-for-profit organization with 11 health centers in the Grand Rapids area offering comprehensive health services to low-income children and families. Established in 1988, Cherry Street has grown quickly, adding a new program site every one to two years to serve more in the community and to expand available services.Partnership: Healthy Start workers refer families to Cherry Street Health Services to get better health and medical outcomes for mothers and young children.
Our Contribution: After children leave the Cherry Street’s Maternal Support Services program at age one, they are often referred to Connections for additional support.
D.A. Blodgett – St. John’s
Purpose: D.A. Blodgett – St. John’s is a 124-year-old agency that is local, non-profit and accredited, working in partnership with others in Kent County for the good of all children. They provide comprehensive services to children and families, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, foster care, adoption, and family support, as well as, residential treatment and emergency shelter care at St. John’s Campus.Partnership: We partner with D.A. Blodgett-St. John’s to provide prevention services to teens and post-adoption support services.
Our Contribution: In 2006, Family Futures (then the Child and Family Resource Council) obtained and implemented a federal grant for capacity building within Kent County. As one of the agencies that received capacity building technical assistance, D.A. Blodgett received support with Board development, internal management, technology and other areas of organizational improvement.
Purpose: The Frey Foundation is a family foundation committed to working together to make a difference in the lives of individuals, families, organizations and communities.Partnership: In 2010, the Frey Foundation awarded Family Futures a $50,000 challenge grant to support the work of the Connections program.
Our contribution: We are currently enhancing and expanding the Connections program by launching the program on-line. We anticipate this increasing participation, decreasing program costs and creating efficiencies.
Great Start Collaborative
Purpose: Part of a network of 55 Great Start Collaboratives working in every Michigan county, the Great Start Collaborative of Kent County is a group of local professionals and parents who are working with First Steps and others in the community to help ensure all children have a great start in life.Partnership: Our Executive Director is a member of this collaborative and attends regularly. We also partner with Welcome Home Baby, an initiative of the collaborative.
Our Contribution: When appropriate and desired, we provide phone call support and home visits to families referred to Connections or Healthy Start.
Healthy Kent 2020
Purpose: Healthy Kent 2020 is modeled after the nation’s Healthy People 2020 initiative. Local data in the Community Health Indicators Report uses Healthy People objectives as a target for the health goals of Kent County Michigan.Partnership: Several staff members participate as members of the various committees and workgroups.
Kent County Family and Children’s Coordinating Council
Purpose: Formed in 1991, its mission is to provide leadership to enhance the well-being of children, youth and families in Kent County so they may achieve their greatest potential. It is comprised of the directors of county and state departments that provide services to families, as well as representation from education, business, agencies, funders, consumers and advocates.Partnership: Our executive director has been a member of Kent County’s coordinating council since it’s inception, and has served on various committees.
Kent County Infant Health Implementation Team
Purpose: The PNC Bank Foundation’s priority is to form partnerships with community-based nonprofit organizations within the markets PNC serves in order to enhance educational opportunities for children, particularly underserved pre-K children through the Grow Up Great program, and to promote the growth of targeted communities through economic development initiatives.
Partnership: With its funding of the Connections program, PNC Bank Foundation enables Family Futures to empower and equip parents throughout the community with developmental screening, age-appropriate information and access to Parent Coaches.