Marygrove Early Education Center

Built on the campus of the historic Marygrove College in Northwest Detroit, the Marygrove Early Education Center offers:

  1. Children: High-quality education for nearly 150 of Detroit’s youngest children (birth to age 5)
  2. Families: Comprehensive wraparound services for children and their families, including mental health services, speech therapy and parenting programs
  3. Providers: Professional development, networking, and resource connections for early childhood education providers in the surrounding Livernois & McNichols neighborhoods

The 28,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility includes 12 spacious classrooms, dedicated developmental spaces, and a central focus on interior courtyards that bring in natural light and connect to the larger campus.


Our Role

IFF was honored to serve as the lead developer for the Marygrove Early Education Center, overseeing construction and working closely with architects, contractors, community members, and early childhood providers to develop and build the facility. We consulted and engaged with parents, families, caregivers, and childcare providers to help inform the design and ensure the Center’s programs met the needs of the diverse community.


Our Partners

This state-of-the-art Center is a model for excellence in early childhood facility design and is evidence of the vital and transformational role collaboration plays in strengthening communities. The team of partners includes:

  • Detroit Parents & Childcare Providers helped shape the Center’s development by sharing insights about current early education needs in Detroit.
  • Starfish Family Services, a long-time ECE provider and champion for children and families across metro Detroit, operates the Center with a diverse and highly qualified team of educators and administrators.
  • Marygrove Conservancy, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the legacy of Marygrove College, is actively stewarding the 53-acre campus in northwest Detroit where the Center is located.
  • Hope Starts Here, a citywide initiative to develop a comprehensive early childhood system that puts young children and families first, developed a framework that highlights leading practices for the design, operation, and financing of early childhood facilities – priorities that are reflected in the Center’s physical design and programming.
  • The Kresge Foundation, a private foundation working to expand opportunities through grantmaking and social investing, helped fund the Center’s development, committing $50 million to the project – the largest philanthropic investment in a Detroit neighborhood in history.
  • Barton Malow, a commercial and institutional construction company founded in Detroit, constructed the Center and committed 20% of its construction spending to minority-, veteran-, and women-owned businesses.
  • Detroit Collaborative Design Center, a multidisciplinary, nonprofit design center based in the University of Detroit Mercy’s School of Architecture and Community Development (SACD), designed, facilitated, and implemented a community engagement to inform the Center’s development.

All Marygrove Early Education Center partners are also members of the P-20 Partnership, a “cradle-to-career” effort that offers comprehensive programming on Marygrove’s campus. This programming addresses various life stages and needs, ranging from pre-natal care to post-secondary graduate support. In addition to the organizations listed above, the P-20 Partnership includes the University of Michigan School of Education and Detroit Public Schools Community District.

To learn more about the role of each of the P-20 partners, read our detailed stories about the November 2019 groundbreaking and September 2021 grand opening.

Photo Gallery: Marygrove Early Education Center

Click the image below to see photos of the Marygrove Early Education Center.