Enhancing the Lives of
Children & Families

Children & Families


Children are a community’s future. Their success is the community’s success.  We support integrated systems that promote healthy development of children and their families, with a special focus on programs that increase access to high-quality preschool and encourage school readiness.

Our grantmaking priorities currently include:

  • Leveraging community systems that ensure students and schools are successful
  • Improving parenting skills
  • Ensuring access to high-quality child care
  • Promoting universal access to high-quality pre-school programs

Featured Stories

Little River Band of Ottawa Indians

Jason Cross was a social worker in Manistee County when he observed that a lack of licensed childcare in the area was a major barrier to parents being able to get and keep jobs. The problem was especially acute because Manistee County has a high percentage of single parents and many simply could not find work during the hours when childcare was available. “Much of the employment in Manistee County is shift work, and many jobs fall outside the typical 9-5 work day,” says Jason, “but there were no licensed centers that offered childcare after 6 p.m. or on weekends.”

Boys & Girls Club Grand Rapids

Here’s an eye opener: For as mobile a society as we have become, most kids in the inner city seldom leave a twelve-block radius. After school, many have limited learning opportunities or social activities at home. “So they come to our clubs,” says Rick Huisman, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Grand Rapids, a key community partner that’s helping kids overcome some of the academic and social challenges they face.

First Steps Kent

In the first three years of a child's life, 85% of its brain develops. Everything during that time, from diet to speech skills and socialization, affects a child’s ability to be ready –or not -- for Kindergarten two years later. Kindergarten readiness can be an indicator of how well a child will do in the ensuing school years. And there’s a clear domino effect: When children are not developmentally ready for Kindergarten, they often struggle to read by third grade. And those who don’t read well by the end of third grade are less likely to graduate from high school than their friends who do.

GRCC - Early Childhood Programs/Center

High-quality early childhood experiences make a lifetime of difference. That’s been the belief of Frey Foundation trustees since they initiated what would become a steadfast commitment to early childhood education and a decades long partnership with Grand Rapids Community College.

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