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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 makes a historic investment 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

Evaluating Ready by Five

In order to measure the success of the Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage, First Steps Kent will assure the effectiveness and accountability of the funded early childhood programs, including data collection, evaluation, and quality improvement.

Learn more about the Goals and Evaluation

First Steps Kent is issuing a Request for Proposals to help select a potential evaluator.

View the Request for Proposal
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Funding Opportunities

The Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage provides funding for a wide range of early childhood programs in Kent County.

Funding is made available through a competitive process. A Request for Proposal (RFP) is will be released on July 14, 2021. Proposals are reviewed, and a community-based Resident Proposal Review Board allocates the funding.

Sign up for the Pre-Proposal Conference | Learn more about the upcoming Funding Opportunities

Here is the 2021 Ready by Five Millage Timeline (Subject to change)

  • 7/14/2021 Preconference #1 - RFP issued
  • 7/15/2021 Preconference #2
  • 8/27/2021 RFP Proposal - submittal deadline
  • 9/21/2021 Resident Proposal Review Board (RPRB) allocation meetings begin
  • by 10/29/2021 Recommendations are considered and approved by First Steps Kent's Board and final approvals are made by the Kent County Board of Commissioners​.​

View the Ready by Five Service Provider Manual

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.