This story was written by Shardonay Feggins, Tyler Parlor and Zaire Daniels, with contribution from Darralynn Huston. It is the first in a series of 9 stories funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation that aims to highlight stories written by emerging writers in Detroit. 

This is sponsored content in collaboration with W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

The upcoming school year is fast approaching to the delight of parents everywhere. And while most organizations focus attention on kids during the month of September, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation — the largest nonprofit in the state of Michigan — has been showing its love for the kids of Detroit for decades. From the opening of Detroit’s only freestanding birthing center, to educating the city’s teen mothers, to providing resources in Detroit’s neighborhood food deserts, here are 5 of the ways the W.K. Kellogg Foundation has been helping Detroit children thrive.

1 – Giving birth in the city is safer than ever

Becoming a mother isn’t child’s play and the women of Birth Detroit understand their mission. With the goal of supporting local pregnant women and new mothers, Birth Detroit will be the first freestanding birth center in the city. The current location at 16919 Prairie on the city’s westside conducts birth education classes and infant/toddler CPR training. The new location, slated to open this year on Grand River Avenue and Heritage Place, was made possible by a contribution from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

For more information on Birth Detroit, visit here.

woman with back towards camera holds toddler while walking on Detroit RiverFront with downtown skyscrapers in background
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has several initiatives to support the health and well-being of Detroit children. Photo credit: Nick Hagen for W.K. Kellogg Foundation

2 – Giving kids their first glimpse of a whole new world

Some children in the city get their first glimpse of another country on the Detroit Riverwalk. The Riverwalk’s expansion into city neighborhoods can be attributed to the Unified Greenway Campaign, an expansion project to which the W.K. Kellogg Foundation allocated $5 million, acting as one of the project’s initial investors. The impact is the Southwest Greenway, which opened on May 24, 2023, connecting the Detroit Riverfront with the Michigan Central Station in Corktown and the Southwest Detroit neighborhoods. The ultimate goal is for the Greenway project to span 30 miles, linking local parks, trails, and greenspaces to the riverfront, and connecting 23 Detroit neighborhoods, Highland Park, Hamtramck, and Dearborn. 

To learn more about the Unified Greenway Campaign and the Southwest Greenway, click here.

3 – Giving Detroit pregnant teens a place to call home

The Catherine Ferguson Academy was founded in 1986 as a public school for pregnant girls and teen mothers. Named after a formerly enslaved woman who dedicated herself to education, the Academy drew in over 200 Detroit-area students annually and achieved a 90% graduation rate. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation contributed scholarships, transportation and other essentials to the school’s operations during the 28 years the school was open. 

To learn more about the history of the Catherine Ferguson Academy, check here.

4 – Giving Detroiters a place to grow and nurture their own food

The Detroit Food Commons (DFC) is a 25,000-square-foot multi-use facility that will provide access to healthy, affordable food and serve as a model for community-based food initiatives. Located in Detroit’s North End, DFC has plans to house the Detroit People’s Food Co-op, a community-owned collective that runs a full-service grocery store. DFC will also include an incubator kitchen for food entrepreneurs, and a healthy foods café space for meetings, lectures, films and other events. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s contributions were used to leverage and attract other private, public and philanthropic grants to support this $21 million project. Construction is scheduled to be completed in December of 2023.

To keep informed about the Detroit Food Commons opening, check the website here.

young boy plays on playground
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has several initiatives to support the health and well-being of Detroit children. Photo credit: Nick Hagen for W.K. Kellogg Foundation

5 – Giving institutions of higher learning a leg up

Hope Starts Here is an initiative that launched in fall of 2016 with a focus on investing in high-quality early childhood experiences for kids ages 0-8. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, in partnership with the Kresge Foundation, committed $50 million to get the initiative off the ground. Since the inception of Hope Starts Here, the Detroit Public Schools Foundation and the University of Detroit Mercy have received funding for community programming that equips parents to better support their children. 

To learn how to get involved with Hope Starts Here, check the website here.

Since 1930, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation has proven its support for the health and well-being of Detroit’s children. Launched in Battle Creek, Michigan by William Keith Kellogg, owner and founder of the Kellogg cereal brand, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation continues to advocate for the health and education of young people — in addition to its philanthropic giving, the Foundation gives scholarships to Battle Creek high school seniors to this day. Be on the lookout as we go into more detail about the many initiatives that the foundation funds in the city and its direct impact on you and your family.

For more information on the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and its Detroit-based initiatives that impact the health and well-being of our children, please visit here.