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Yes we can! expands to create more opportunities

Over the last three years, Yes we can! has been introduced to the community of Battle Creek – and has made great strides thanks to involved, caring residents and local partner organizations. Together, we have advanced the Yes we can! goals of helping kids succeed in school and helping create a solid economic future for residents of Battle Creek.

While the W.K. Kellogg Foundation has provided resources and access to information, it is because of the community’s efforts that Yes we can! is now ready to move into a next phase. From the beginning, Yes we can! was intended to start small and grow. Phase two marks the beginning of an expansion to achieve even greater impact. It will involve:

More neighborhoods. Yes we can! began in seven neighborhoods. It will continue to offer opportunities in these neighborhoods, and expand to touch the lives of residents in other low-income Battle Creek neighborhoods.

More community partners. Yes we can! began as an initiative of the Kellogg Foundation. All along, its achievements were made possible by residents’ ideas and energy, as well as the help of a few local organizations. In phase two, more organizations will join in, working with resident leaders to offer even more opportunities for improving our community. For example, the Battle Creek Community Foundation has already agreed to lead and expand the Yes we can! mini-grant program, continuing this work with guidance from the program’s resident-based steering committee. Call 269-962-2181 for information on mini-grants.

For three years, the Community Connections Office has provided a central hub for Yes we can! The office has been administrated by a national organization called the Association for the Study and Development of Community (ASDC) and a staff of Community Connectors. This team has successfully launched Yes we can!, and has made it possible for Yes we can! operations to take root in local organizations. During their time with Yes we can!, the Connectors have developed valuable career skills. You may see many of them in new leadership positions around the community. The office will remain open until May 31, 2005. After that date, new grants will be in place with community-based organizations to continue and expand upon the type of work done at the office.

More resources. A number of new resources will strengthen the work of Yes we can! The Kellogg Foundation now offers new types of Yes we can! grants described in the Foundation’s Guide for Local Grantseekers. For example, the Foundation will provide planning grants to help local organizations learn strategies and processes for engaging residents in community change. Larger community change grants are also available. In addition to Kellogg Foundation funding, the second phase of Yes we can! will benefit from the contributions of its expanding group of local partner organizations.

While Yes we can! is growing, there are some important ways it will not change:

  • Yes we can! local partner organizations and residents will continue to work toward the goals of helping kids succeed in school and helping create a solid economic future for low-income people in Battle Creek.

  • Yes we can! local partner organizations will work in a way that seeks and values the voices of residents – and directly involves residents in creating community change.

In the meantime, we extend our thanks to the community for your excellent work. Your contributions of time and energy have brought Yes we can! to the point at which this transition is possible. We expect that, as Yes we can! moves forward, its increasing number of community partners will find even more ways to help make Battle Creek a better place to live, learn, and grow.

For more information about the expansion of Yes we can!, please contact the Kellogg Foundation at 269-969-2228.

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