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Statement on the 10-year commemoration of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast

Dana Linnane

As the nation reflects upon the 10-year commemoration of Hurricane Katrina, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation respectfully stands with the people of New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast as they continue to lead the rebirth of their communities, making them better places for families and children than even before Katrina’s devastation.

When the floodwaters of Katrina receded, the aftermath revealed to the nation the deep-rooted struggles of inequity in education, economics and overall opportunity that many in the region have known and endured long before Katrina had disrupted the area. Conscious and unconscious bias have been entrenched in both public and private institutions, affecting hiring, lending patterns, education, policing, sentencing and other policies and practices. Katrina surfaced wounds that had yet to be healed, but it also inspired a new level of potential and tenacity within the community.

We have seen that the people of New Orleans and Mississippi have the extraordinary potential to strengthen their economy, create jobs and revive neighborhoods, while broadening opportunities for children, families and communities to thrive. It is through our community-driven partnerships and investments that we know we will see their communities flourish.

Most significantly, we believe creating a more resilient future for New Orleans and Mississippi lies in its children and young people. It is imperative that we connect opportunity youth – those who are neither working, nor in school, particularly young men and boys of color – with the cross-sector investments being made in education and economic development throughout the region. Building the skills of young people will enable families to break the cycle of poverty for themselves and for their children.

We will continue our work to address the fundamental barriers that are impeding the success of families and children so that we can lay the foundation now for a vibrant future. The Kellogg Foundation will continue to be a strong partner in New Orleans and Mississippi communities, as we move into the next 10 years and the next generation.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. To learn more about WKKF’s work in New Orleans visit WKKF’s special K10 commemorative homepage

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