Home > News & Media>

Yes we can! collaborators receive more than $3 million in grants

Seven organizations have received a total of $3,037,240 in Yes we can! grants from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Activities funded by the grants will range from healing racism to increasing employment and training opportunities for women. All of the projects advance the goals of Yes we can!: healthy neighborhoods, powerful adult and youth leaders, improved educational outcomes for youth, and expanded economic opportunities.

Yes we can! is a collaboration among Battle Creek residents and organizations working to help kids achieve in school and build a solid economic future for the people of Battle Creek.

The grants, ranging in size from $30,000 to $1,616,160, mark an important juncture in the development of Yes we can! In 2002, Yes we can! was introduced in seven neighborhoods as an initiative of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Thanks to the active involvement of residents and organizations in these neighborhoods, Yes we can! has moved into a second phase – expanding to reach many other low-income neighborhoods in Battle Creek, and enlisting the help of more organizational partners.

The seven grantees are among these partners in this next phase. Each is dedicated to continuing the Yes we can! approach of involving residents in creating positive change within their communities.

“Since its beginning, Yes we can! has strongly emphasized the role of residents in shaping Battle Creek’s future,” said Jim McHale, W.K. Kellogg Foundation assistant vice president in charge of local programming. “We are encouraged that organizations in this community have stepped forward to continue to advance the goals of Yes we can! by using the strength and knowledge of Battle Creek’s people. Collaboration – among organizations, community leaders, and residents – is everything.”

The City of Battle Creek received a $1,616,160 Yes we can! grant and plans to use the funding for a multi-year project called Focus on Neighborhoods. Building on efforts to engage residents over the last 15 years, the City plans to strengthen partnerships “at the neighborhood level, right where residents have told us their priorities for city services are greatest,” said Wayne Wiley, city manager.

The City’s project aims to provide residents with resources and information to help them organize and strengthen their neighborhoods – and increase understanding of resident issues among city officials and organizational leaders. With the City’s grant, the former Yes we can! office will be used as a neighborhood resource center where residents can access computers and receive technical assistance. The office is located in the Riverwalk Centre at 34 West Jackson St., Suite 3, in downtown Battle Creek.

Trinity Lutheran Church received a $212,382 Yes we can! grant for “Creating Change in Battle Creek Neighborhoods,” a community organizing program slated to begin in September 2005.

According to Pastor Colleen Nelson, Trinity Lutheran began collaborating with Post School in 2004 on projects including a back-to-school festival in August and a program addressing children’s needs around the holidays. The two organizations had conversations about future collaborative work.

“We asked ourselves, ‘what can we do to work on the broader issues?’” said Pastor Nelson. “When the W.K. Kellogg Foundation announced the availability of Yes we can! grants, we saw our opportunity.”

The “Creating Change” group will be centralized at Trinity Lutheran Church, but will engage a number of partner organizations – those willing to empower residents. First steps include hiring a community organizer, meeting with residents to surface key issues, and establishing a separate board.

Pastor Nelson says a measure of the group’s success in one year will be “if we’ve been able to identify one issue, research it, find out the most effective action steps, and take action with resident leadership.”

Applications for the next round of Yes we can! grants are due August 1, 2005. Contact the Kellogg Foundation at 969.2228 or bc@wkkf.org to learn more.

Yes we can!
grantees and projects

Neighborhoods Inc. – Providing resources for community organizing and resident leadership development through the CORD (Community Organizing and Resident Development) program

Trinity Lutheran Church – Creating Change in Battle Creek Neighborhoods: Organizing Residents to Work Together, a program beginning in the Post-Franklin area

Women’s Co-Op (fiduciary agent: Battle Creek Community Foundation) – Supporting general operations, including an Employment and Training Program

Battle Creek Area Chamber of Commerce – Supporting the planning of entrepreneurial training and development in the Battle Creek area through a Microenterprise Development Program

City of Battle Creek – Supporting a program called Focus on Neighborhoods: Expanding Citizen Capacity; the program will improve city services and their focus on neighborhood priorities, and increase resident access to resources for problem solving

Battle Creek Area Habitat for Humanity – Renovation of ReStore Facility to better serve the community

National Resource Center for the Healing of Racism – Continuing a two-day healing racism workshop in Calhoun County; developing training to address institutional racism; creating a diversity training institute for diversity practitioners in the corporate environment

Related Topics

What to Read Next

Scroll to Top