Eliminating racial disparities and inequities
In America, it has been estimated that more than 13 million children live in poverty and more than eight million children have no health insurance. Each year, as many as one-third of the four million children who enter kindergarten are not adequately prepared to succeed.
Racial inequity is one of the largest barriers that vulnerable children confront, so we support efforts to promote racial equity and healing. We target children who grow up in what is known as “double jeopardy”— living in poor families and having minority status. And we take aim at the systemic inequities, underperforming education systems, limited access to good food and quality health care, and economic constraints that create barriers to success.
We’re working to eliminate the disparities between geographic areas and to create opportunity zones where children have equal access to programs, services and systems that increase their opportunities for long-term success. We’re identifying select communities that are ready to help their children perform better in school, consume nutritious food, gain access to quality health care and grow up in an economically secure environment. We’re also forming alliances and funding partnerships to leverage our knowledge and investments, and the innovative work of our grantees.
Moving people to act
Individuals and communities must have a strong voice in their future, so we support activities that help build a critical mass of new community stakeholders engaged as problem solvers. Citizens of all ages and backgrounds are seeking new ways to engage in and promote social change. To tap into both energy and commitment, innovative groups are using effective methods of dialogue and deliberation, new models of organizing community and technology and new media to galvanize support around important community issues. These tools give organizations a powerful way to bring diverse voices to the table, move people to action, keep them engaged and build collective action and collaborative community problem solving.
Partnering for success
Studies show that when children enter kindergarten with basic learning and literacy skills, they are much more likely to achieve success by third grade. This transition from early learning at home to the school environment is especially important for vulnerable children—and for the schools they attend. Parents, grandparents and guardians must do their part to build reading, language and social skills, while educators must ensure that schools are ready to receive students regardless of their developmental levels and learning styles. It is critical that children have these skills by third grade as a solid foundation upon which to build future learning and development.
Creating opportunities for good health
Across America, some groups lack access to quality medical care, affecting health and well-being during childhood and throughout life. Growing evidence suggests that children living in racially segregated neighborhoods can learn negative health behaviors, experience delayed development and are more likely to become teen parents. Unlikely partners are aligning their resources to engage communities of color and policymakers in productive dialogue aimed at eliminating these disparities and promoting health care for all.
Building work opportunities in a greener economy
Environmental and economic forces are converging to open new employment pathways in the emerging green-collar economy. New jobs created under the government stimulus program will create exciting opportunities for parents of poor children to live in decent housing and have access to healthier food, cleaner air and health care benefits. These jobs also will help preserve and enhance public health and environmental quality for children and families.