Leveraging 30 years of Early Childhood Education (ECE) design experience, IFF will coordinate and support efforts to educate the design community and other stakeholders on best practice ECE facility design and recruit designers and related vendors to support ECE new construction and renovation projects throughout the City and metro area.


IFF is a mission-driven lender, real estate consultant and developer that helps communities thrive by creating opportunities for low-income communities and people with disabilities through our leadership, capital and real estate solutions. Through various initiatives including Hope Starts Here, IFF is deeply engaged in Early Childhood Education (ECE) policy and systems with the goal to strengthen and achieve an ECE sector in Michigan that best supports children, families, providers and educators. IFF believes that all children regardless of race or income deserve to learn in high-quality spaces and places.

As part of this work, IFF has developed best practices for ECE classroom and facility design in collaboration with designers, providers, licensing and other public bodies and other stakeholders.   In Detroit and the metro area, the need has never been greater to work with high-quality ECE providers to improve their existing facilities and help them expand into new centers to serve more children. To that end, IFF is joining with City of Design and Desire Core Detroit to support and prepare Detroit’s design community to provide services to ECE providers across the city.


Early Childhood Education (ECE) Great Spaces and Places

While IFF provides services to all nonprofits in Detroit, we are specifically targeting the design of Early Childhood and Education (ECE) facilities. Detroit’s ECE facilities have been neglected for years because of limited funding to support renovation work. The physical conditions of facilities impact the ability for children to learn. Through various initiatives including our Hope Starts Here partnership and Learning Spaces grant program, IFF is working to build the necessary awareness and bench of interested design professionals to improve the condition of ECE facilities in the next five years. IFF believes that all children regardless of race or income deserve to learn in high-quality spaces and places. Additionally, the physical conditions of an ECE environment impacts the ability for a child to learn. Our goal is to support the design community in Detroit – by leveraging our years of experience – to prepare them to provide services to ECE providers across the city. Since commencement of the City of Design, IFF has:
  • Conducted coordinated outreach with Design Core Detroit to identify design firms interested in working on ECE facility improvement projects, be they a $50,000 classroom renovation or a 7,500 square foot new center.
  • Co-led focus groups with ECE providers to glean practical insights on how classroom design and layout can be additive or detract from their ability to deliver high quality educational programming.
Learning Spaces by the numbers: aligning ECE facility quality to program quality
  • $1,096,049 in funding deployed to providers
  • 25 ECE provider grant recipients
  • 1,525 children served

Robin Toewe
Director of Real Estate Services
3011 W. Grand Boulevard, Suite 1715, Detroit, Michigan 48206