BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – The Board of Trustees of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation will hold its monthly meeting in Mississippi next week as part of a four-day trip to meet with civic, business and government officials. The Foundation has long supported home-grown initiatives in Mississippi and across the country that help lead children and their families out of poverty.
Their tour will include visits to East Biloxi, Philadelphia and Indianola beginning Sunday, Oct. 17, through Wednesday Oct. 20. Conversations will focus on the post-Katrina and oil spill economy, their impact on vulnerable children – those who live in poverty – the progress of racial healing, and the persistent need to improve education.
The challenges vulnerable children in Mississippi face are endemic throughout the nation. “Pockets of poverty endanger children and limit opportunities for young adults,” said Fred P. Keller, chairman of the Board of Trustees. “On the trip, we will hear and learn from child advocates and practitioners working to reverse these trends.” In addition to visiting schools, community and health centers, the trustees will meet with a selection of community and business leaders and hear their views of the state’s rich history and cultural nuances.
The Foundation has made a long-term commitment to Mississippi and will continue partnering with leaders and individuals in ways that support their goals and aspirations for children, said Foundation CEO Sterling Speirn. The Foundation has narrowed its philanthropic approach to focusing the majority of its resources on three states – Michigan, New Mexico and Mississippi.
“Working toward our goals of educated kids, healthy kids and secure families will require time, patience, and strategic action,” Speirn said. Those goals underscore the Foundation’s work in racial equity and civic engagement, he added.
During its most recent fiscal year, ended August 2010, the Foundation awarded $11.2 million in grants to organizations and initiatives in Mississippi. The Foundation has set a goal of dedicating half its annual grant total to educating vulnerable children, birth to age 8.