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:   The Amway One by One Campaign for Children rallies the resources of the entire Amway family to make a difference in the lives of children around the world. By creating local partnerships, they can address specific issues facing children and improve the way they live, learn, achieve, and play.
Partnership:   Family Futures has been a recipient of a grant to support Healthy Start and Connections services.
Our Contribution:  This grant supported the Healthy Start Program in providing support and resources to parents of children ages 0-5 when critical development is occurring.


Baby Scholars

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
Purpose:   Believe 2 Become is a collaborative partnership of hundreds of organizations and individuals who believe in the unlimited potential of Grand Rapids children, and expect them to succeed. Believe 2 Become is creating opportunities for children and youth to become the people they aspire to be.
Partnership:  Within this initiative, Family Futures is responsible for planning and implementing the nationally recognized Raising a Reader program.
Catholic Charities West Michigan
Purpose:  Catholic Charities West Michigan provides help for individuals and families throughout the 11-county Diocese of Grand Rapids regardless of their background or religion. They work to help change the lives of those most in need, seeking to improve their lives and empower them to achieve their goals.

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.

Gerber Foundation
Purpose: The mission of The Gerber Foundation, to enhance the quality of life of infants and young children in nutrition, care, and development, has remained the guiding beacon for foundation giving throughout its history. Through its grant-making efforts, the foundation is committed to improving the health and well-being of the youngest members of our society.
Partnership:  The Gerber Foundation funds the expansion of the Connections program into Lake, Muskegon, Oceana and Newaygo Counties through partnerships with local child care centers.
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
Purpose:   The Kent County Health Department is responsible for continually assessing the health of the community and ensuring that certain services are available and accessible for its citizens. To this end, the Health Department investigates the causes of disease, epidemics, morbidity and mortality, and environmental health hazards using vital and health statistics for epidemiological studies. KCHD also plans and implements public education and enforces public health laws.  The Health Department has made a large contribution to the community in early childhood through its Maternal Infant Health Program and through its work on reducing lead poisoning in children.
Partnership:  Family Futures teams with the Health Department on various initiatives and issues as they arise.  Currently, the Health Department is a key partner for the Kent County Prevention Initiative Evaluation.  We also work together to get information to new parents about available community resources.
Kent County Prevention Initiative
Purpose:  In 2000, Kent County made a long‐term commitment to improving the well‐being of children and families through the establishment of the Kent County Prevention Initiative (KCPI). The County established three areas of focus in which to invest resources for prevention activities: primary prevention family support services, early intervention for children at risk of abuse or neglect, and primary, secondary and tertiary substance abuse (SA) services. As such, beginning in 2003 the KCPI began providing expanded funding to four strategic programs: two primary prevention family support programs, Healthy Start (HS) and Bright Beginnings (BB); one child abuse and neglect early intervention program, Early Impact (EI); and one family focused substance abuse early intervention program, Family Engagement Program (FEP).

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.

Arbor Circle
Purpose:   Arbor Circle provides services to prevent and address a variety of problems for individuals and families, with a focus on developing healthy relationships.  They provide counseling services to help people of all ages overcome the devastating effects of mental illness and substance use disorders, and offer prevention and educational programs to build new skills and patterns of behavior that support positive relationships for children and families.
Partnership:   Family Futures coordinates Healthy Start services in Kent County that are provided in conjunction with Arbor Circle and Catholic Charities West Michigan.
Our Contribution:   We provide organizational support within the Healthy Start initiative. Previously,  (September 2006-September 2009) Arbor Circle 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.


Baxter Community Center

Baxter Community Center

Purpose:   Baxter Community Center responds to human needs in our community through effective programs and partnerships. Baxter addresses immediate needs, assisting individuals to become responsible, productive and self-sufficient, and affirming the positive qualities in individuals and the community.
Partnership:  Most recently, middle management staff from Baxter Community Center requested and received training and coaching in implementing an accountability framework called Results-Based Accountability. Previously (September 2006-September 2009) Baxter 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.
Care Source
Purpose:  The Care Source Foundation supports efforts to advance the health and well-being of underserved people in the communities they serve by providing innovative solutions and funding to address health care needs.
Partnership:  Family Futures has been a recipient of a grant to support Healthy Start services.
Our Contribution:  We used this grant to support Healthy Start which provides support to parents through phone calls and home visits.


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.


Frey Foundation

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 role of the Infant Health Implementation Team is to ensure optimal health for all children in Kent County by improving and providing quality care during the prenatal, infant, and childhood periods. Currently, the Infant Health I-Team is striving to reduce overall infant mortality by eliminating racial disparities in prenatal care. For example, research shows that African Americans are twice as likely as whites to deliver a low birth weight baby, which is a leading risk factor for African American infant mortality.
Partnership:  Family Futures staff are actively involved particularly with the Safe Sleep committee of the Infant Health Implementation Team.
Our Contribution:  We have contributed to the production of the Pregnancy Resource Guide and other tools used in the community to support positive health incomes for infants.


Metro Health
Purpose:   Metro Health seeks to improve the health and well-being of our communities by taking healthcare to a better place. With an integrated healthcare system, Metro Health seeks to offer expert, award-winning care that’s accessible and convenient with a personal touch.
Partnership:  As a comprehensive sponsor at the Protector of Children level, Metro Health fully supports the entire spectrum of Family Futures programming. This key support makes our everyday work possible and strengthens families throughout the year.
PNC Bank

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.

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