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Detroit Collaborative Design Center plays vital role in “Hope Starts Here” early childhood initiative

November 29, 2017
Fr. Gilbert Sunghera of Detroit Mercy's School of Architecture (SOA) offers help to a group of students working on a project. The Detroit Collaborative Design Center, which is run through the university's SOA, provides students, organizations, companies and other constituents expertise regarding architectural and community development projects.

On Nov. 10, Crain’s Detroit Business announced that The Kresge and Kellogg foundations would invest $50 million toward an early childhood system in Detroit. The effort is called "Hope Starts Here" and focuses on strengthening Detroit’s early childhood education.

Grants available through these two foundations will support implementation of the citywide "Hope Starts Here" framework or plan to create a coordinated, high-quality early childhood system that ensures children are born healthy, prepared for kindergarten and successful in their education after that.

The Detroit Mercy School of Architecture’s Detroit Collaborative Design Center (DCDC) played an important role in the development of this plan. According to Dan Pitera, director of the DCDC, the work associated with this effort could serve as a model for other urban communities throughout the country.

“The future of our neighborhoods and our very society lies in the hands of our children. Although it may be a cliché, our society rarely acts in a concerted way to support this statement with tangible efforts. But this is changing in Detroit,” Pitera explained. “I believe that the work, which is occurring with "Hope Starts Here," will be a model that other cities will follow. The unique cross-sector and philanthropic collaboration that has occurred to move this initiative forward and the deep parent, caregiver and community engagement have been wonderful to witness. The DCDC is delighted to be one of the early partners and collaborators in this important and unprecedented work,” he added.

To learn more about “Hope Starts Here,” please click here or visit For more about the Detroit Collaborative Design Center, please visit To learn about the School of Architecture, click here.

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