Two Battle Creek-area organizations have received grants from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation as Yes we can! grantees. The grant recipients include Community Inclusive Recreation, Inc. (CIR) and Maple United Methodist Church on behalf of Joint-religious Organizing Network of Action and Hope (JONAH).
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 our community. Yes we can! is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
“Community Inclusive Recreation and JONAH are partners in an expanded Yes we can! effort to reach low-income neighborhoods throughout Battle Creek,” said Dr. Robert Long, vice president for programs in the Kellogg Foundation’s Greater Battle Creek program area.
“At the Kellogg Foundation,” he said, “we’re working to provide not only resources, but to strengthen the networks between local people and organizations that share a commitment to the goals of Yes we can!”
Community Inclusive Recreation received its grant to enhance youth development, leadership skills and community service by bringing age-appropriate games, sports, physical fitness activities, arts projects, and cultural awareness programming into low-income neighborhoods free of charge, eliminating the barriers of cost and transportation for young residents. This no-cost, neighborhood-centered program is called Fun on the Run.
“CIR will offer youth an opportunity to be team leaders, coaches and safety instructors. Among skills youth need to develop are observing one another and responding appropriately, role modeling, problem solving, being willing to accept others, and taking turns,” said Linda Linke, founder of the organization.
“CIR is a participant-driven organization, which means participants are involved in every aspect of the planning and implementation of our programs.” For Fun on the Run, “each neighborhood will decide the different types of games, activities, or art projects that will be offered,” said Linke, who encourages residents to call the CIR office (968.8249) to request a Fun on the Run neighborhood visit.
CIR began in 1994 with a bowling league for people of all abilities. Today it serves people throughout Calhoun County, bringing them together despite transportation and financial obstacles to enjoy an array of social, recreational and educational activities.
JONAH is a growing network of local congregations striving to help residents learn how to use their voices to improve society. The Yes we can! grant will help support the first three years of JONAH’s organizing effort, providing training to hundreds of community leaders in the Battle Creek area and coordinating social actions involving thousands of residents.
Maple United Methodist Church will administer the grant with First Congregational Church serving as fiscal agent. The two churches are among the founding members of JONAH.
The training sessions are offered to people nominated by JONAH member congregations, as well as strategic partner organizations that include The National Resource Center for the Healing of Racism, the Women’s Co-op, Creating Change, the Haven, and New Birth Community Outreach Ministries. Participants in the training will build their understanding and capabilities in the areas of self-interest and power, listening, systems analysis, running public meetings, fundraising, and city safe zones.
“Over the long haul, we will be successful if thousands of Battle Creek residents learn how to come together and solve problems at the appropriate level,” said Reverend Charles Farnum, pastor of Maple United Methodist Church
“The training is only part of JONAH’s work; we will also be coordinating trained leaders to change the city.” said Farnum. “JONAH intends to continue training and organizing leaders as long as it is effective at making change and there are injustices that need changing.”
Farnum added that JONAH intentionally structured its grant to decrease over the three-year period to create an incentive for the network to secure long-term funding.
In the past two years, the Kellogg Foundation has made over $4 million in grants to organizational partners in Yes we can!
Applications for new Yes we can! Community Change grants are due August 1, 2006. Applications for other types of grants the Kellogg Foundation offers in the Battle Creek area are due on a monthly basis. Contact the Kellogg Foundation at 969.2228 to learn more.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation was established in 1930 “to help people help themselves through the practical application of knowledge and resources to improve their quality of life and that of future generations.”
To achieve the greatest impact, the Foundation targets its grants toward specific areas: health; food systems and rural development; youth and education; and philanthropy and volunteerism. Within these areas, attention is given to exploring learning opportunities in leadership; information and communication technology; capitalizing on diversity; and social and economic community development. Grants are concentrated in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the southern African countries of Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe.