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Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage

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Supported by the Kent County Ready by Five Millage

Kent County says “YES” to investing in our youngest children!

The Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage provides dedicated and sustainable funding for programs that improve the health, school readiness, and well-being of children under age five. It allows more children and families from across the community to participate in programs that are proven to increase their likelihood of success in school and beyond.

Kent County voters overwhelmingly approved the Ready by Five Early Childhood Proposal in November 2018, making Kent County the first county in Michigan with tax dollars collected specifically to support early childhood programming.

The millage is funded by a .25 mil property tax increase that will generate about


$5.7 million a year from 2019 to 2024


$34 million in total

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Millage News

Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage

Expanded Early Childhood Services will Help More Young Kids in Kent…

Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage awards $2.6 million to 12 community programs

Help Me Grow Kent

Help Me Grow Kent Outreach and Navigation

Language barriers can often be the cause of frustration, especially when trying to navigate the early childhood system in Kent County. Help me Grow …

Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage

Backpacks for Kindergartners

With so much uncertainty in children’s lives right now, parents want to make sure they are set up for the best possible start to school. Whether they …

Funding Opportunities

2020 Funding Opportunities

First Steps Kent is pleased to announce that the Ready by Five Millage will offer three funding opportunities this fall.

Strong Beginnings

Connecting with a Teenage Mother

K.K., who is 16 years old, is pregnant with her first child. She lives with her mom, sibling, and her boyfriend. She was referred to Strong Beginnings …

Family Promise

Meaningful Collaborations Make a Real Difference

Ryann is a mother of three who recently found herself in a housing crisis. With two children under years old and nowhere to go she was at one of the …

Health Net of West Michigan

Meet Paula and Avery

Paula was a new mother who had recently given birth to her daughter Avery and was referred to Health Net of West Michigan for an appointment reminder …

Play and Learn Communities

Play and Learn Groups Get Creative

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we focused on the need to meet parents and families where they were. This happened quickly with online …

Outreach and Navigation

Outreach and Navigation Roundtable

Ready by Five Partner Highlight: In early June, about 15 Navigators from Outreach and Navigation programs funded by the Ready by Five Early Childhood …


Ready by Five Programs Find a Way

The COVID-19 crisis brought much of Michigan to a halt at the same time organizations across Kent County were ramping up their services for families …

Millage News

Program receives funding for three parent educators to serve areas of…

Bright Beginnings, a program which serves children from birth to kindergarten with home visits, play groups and free screenings, is the recipient of …

Millage News

Linking early literacy and health: Lakeshore healthcare collaborative…

Reach Out and Read is a nonprofit that champions the positive effects of reading daily and engaging in other language-rich activities with young …

Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage

Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage awards $7.6 million to 23…

Thousands of kent county families will benefit from increased early childhood programming.

Millage News

Tax-funded early childhood programs to begin, expand March 2020

New and expanded programs to promote the healthy development of children up to age 5 and connect their parents with resources will begin in …

Millage News

What Every Resident Should Know about the Ready By Five Early…

What is the Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage?

Millage News

Free early childhood 'Play and Learn’ groups increasing for parents,…

Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) plans to expand its early childhood “Play and Learn” groups to help parents and caregivers get preschoolers …

Millage Awardees

Four Local Organizations to Receive First Round of Millage Funding

Ready By Five Early Childhood Millage Will Help Connect Thousands Of Kent County Families To Critical Services

Millage Process

Resident Proposal Review Board

Deciding how the Ready by Five Early Childhood millage funding is spent is no small task...

First Steps Kent administers and oversees the Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage.

Community-based organizations apply for funding to provide services such as home visiting, play and learn groups, developmental screening, and navigation support to help families access the help they need and want.

Decisions about which organizations to fund are based on community needs assessments and the recommendations of the Resident Proposal Review Board, which includes parents, Kent County Commissioners and staff, a community early childhood expert, and a First Steps Kent Commissioner.

Check out this video to learn more about the successful Ready by Five ballot initiative and campaign.