We look at health and well-being in the context of community and across the full range of child development. We emphasize the prenatal months to age 8 as the foundation for all healthy development. And we focus on communities with high health disparities. A nation where all children thrive is what we envision. Health equity is our measure.
Why This Work Matters
All children need a healthy start, good nutrition, physical activity and accessible health care in order to thrive in school, work and life. Yet many children, especially those in our most vulnerable communities, face disproportionately high barriers to acquiring these fundamentals. Children of color, in particular, face significant disparities, beginning with unacceptably high infant mortality rates and low breastfeeding rates.
Food plays a vital role in our overall health. Yet too many communities lack access to healthy, affordable, fresh and locally and sustainably grown food. Equally important is some communities’ lack of safe places for children to play outdoors. And the lack of easy access to affordable dental care puts children’s oral health and their overall health at risk.
The persistent racial and economic inequities that undermine health and well-being demand that we take a comprehensive approach that addresses the social determinants of health, which can have a detrimental effect, especially on children of color and those affected by multiple societal factors.
What We Support
We work alongside communities – especially those facing health inequities – to support community-based approaches in four key areas: maternal and child health, oral health, breastfeeding (breast milk as the optimal first food), and continued access to good food and active living throughout a child’s early development.
In our national grantmaking and investments in priority places, WKKF supports efforts to improve the health of mothers and families; to increase breastfeeding rates; to provide innovative, community-based oral health care and to transform food systems so children and families have healthier foods in child care settings, in schools and in their communities.
By addressing the health and well-being of children on a number of interrelated fronts, the foundation seeks to create a set of conditions within communities that support and encourage optimal child development at home, at school and at play.
Bodies of Work
WKKF’s mission driven investments in organizations like Revolution Foods and SeeChange Health are making a difference in the lives of children across the country. See how we are using financial investments as a way to increase social impact aligned with our mission.
“One of the most beneficial services that could be bestowed upon civilization is to make the lives of little children happier, healthier and more promising for their adult years.”
- W.K. Kellogg