United Way for Southeastern Michigan

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Luis and kids
Providing a Path for Children

EDUCATION IS THE PATHWAY TO SUCCESS IN LIFE. That is the message Liz Caldwell and her two sisters heard frequently while growing up. Their parents, Will and Jeanne Caldwell, read to their girls regularly and stressed the importance of education.

"My father believes it is important to be prepared for life," says Liz Caldwell of Troy, Mich. "As a result, my sisters and I all went to college, and I have imparted the same values about education in my two children."

As longtime contributors to United Way, Will—a former Ford Motor Company executive—and Jeanne became dedicated to helping the less fortunate in the community. So when Liz met with United Way for Southeastern Michigan to discuss an impending large financial gift from the Will and Jeanne Caldwell Foundation, it was immediately clear how the money could best be used.

"I asked Liz what was important to her parents, and she told me about their interest in all children getting a good start in school," says Denise Fleckenstein, UWSEM's director of gift planning. "Subsequently, the Will and Jeanne Caldwell Endowment was established to support UWSEM's work in early childhood education. It is a fitting recognition of the couple's philosophy and commitment."

The $275,000 endowment to UWSEM will have an impact on many children for years to come and leave a lasting legacy in honor of the Caldwells. "I grew up in a home environment rich with literacy and learning," Liz says, "and my family believes every child should have that opportunity—beginning at a very early age."

Your gifts to UWSEM's early childhood education initiatives are used to help close the preparation gap for children entering kindergarten. We are working to ensure that children begin school ready to learn. Like the Caldwells, UWSEM sees early childhood learning as a building block to success.

    > Thirty Early Learning Communities that provide training and resources to parents and caregivers so they can foster the development of young children.
    > An Imagination Library that provides more than 3,000 children with a new book each month for the first five years of their lives.
    > A Detroit Public Television partnership to develop an early learning curriculum to broadcast to families and caregivers across the region.

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