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Annemarie Valdez: 2022 Children’s Funding Champion

Conversation with our 2022 Children's Funding Champion, Annemarie Valdez of First Steps Kent.

Annemarie Valdez: 2022 Children’s Funding Champion

Annemarie Valdez has been a champion for children and youth for more than two decades. Her experience includes leading a statewide infant mortality prevention organization in Illinois; serving as CEO of Child’s Hope, a Michigan nonprofit committed to preventing child abuse and neglect; and heading Detroit’s Youth Development Commission. Since 2015, Valdez has led First Steps Kent, a nonprofit organization that administers Kent County, MI’s, Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage, which provides dedicated funding for a wide range of early childhood programs in the county. As the president and CEO of First Steps Kent, Valdez oversaw a campaign to establish a voter-approved children’s fund that raises more than $5 million annually for programs that improve the health, school readiness, and well-being of children under age five in Kent County. In 2022, the Grand Rapids Business Journal recognized her as one of the top 200 most powerful business leaders in West Michigan.

For these reasons and more, we are thrilled to name Valdez our 2022 Children’s Funding Champion.

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