Investment in Families Initiative

Photo courtesy of our friends at [name]

This initiative prioritizes the shifting needs of families over time as they change and grow, while also helping the Foundation develop new strategies to best work alongside the communities we serve.

The Steelcase Foundation Investment in Families Initiative (IIF) is a new 10-year program focused on a cohort of Black and Latina mothers in Kent County, Michigan, aimed at supporting their individual and collective well-being. 

About the Investment in Families Initiative

The Steelcase Foundation IIF Initiative is a strategy to positively change behaviors of systems and policies to maximize the well-being of Michigan families. Systems are complex and layered, requiring coordinated and woven strategies and learning to create the change Michigan families deserve and need. The IIF Initiative is multifaceted with two overarching components: a learning cohort study and policy campaigns. 

The Steelcase Foundation will partner with the cohort to pilot and study the impact of wrap around supports created and delivered based on needs and solutions proposed by the cohort mothers. The Foundation and mothers, as partners, will study the impact on the felt difference and well-being of the mothers and their families, identify key policies and systemic behaviors that need adjustment to better serve Michigan families, and inform additional opportunities for change during and after the cohort study.

Photo courtesy of our friends at Camp Blodgett

Operations, Programming, Pilots + Project (OP3) Grants

Investment and partnership through grantmaking with nonprofit organizations 501(c)(3) that are vision and mission aligned with the Steelcase Foundation, to support existing work, special projects, and pilot new interventions that advance their work. Funding is approved for one to three years based on the purpose and timeline for the activities associated with the grant. Grant accountability is deeply grounded in organizational development, change theory, and measurable outcomes, and is based on the type of grant approved. The application process occurs quarterly. Grants are approved by the Board of Trustees.

How it Works

The Steelcase Foundation believes that by creating additional room to breathe for mothers and their families, participants and their families will be able to achieve their self-determined goals, increase economic stability and supportive social networks, and enhance overall well-being. In addition, it is our intent to support the cohort mothers in having the bandwidth to help identify appropriate policy targets for change. We’ll accomplish this by sharing resources and holistic support with the cohort over 10 years, aiming to reduce mental cognitive load and increase personal agency to allow space for families to work toward the futures they envision. 

In partnership with our research team at DataWise Consulting, the cohort mothers, and community partners, the Investment in Families Initiative centers on families with children age 12 or younger, and will follow the evolving needs, emerging strategies, and family progress toward goals through touchpoints and collaboration with the mother and their families.

Working directly with mothers in preparing for the IIF Initiative to define what “success” meant to them, the following needed resources and supports were identified:

  • monthly guaranteed basic income to reduce cognitive load on families,
  • investment in health savings accounts to increase access to health care,
  • child savings accounts,
  • transformational cohort group learning and relationship building to expand support networks,
  • dedicated staff to support the creation and advancement of goals and to navigate resources and systems to maximize outcomes,
  • mental health and wellness services available to the whole family,
  • self-identified personal and professional development,
  • options to engage more deeply with the study by serving on the research and evaluation committee, the advisory council, planning team for cohort gatherings, etc.

To learn more about the Investment in Families Initiative, please contact Stacy Stout (, Director of Family-Centered Philanthropy.