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Reading advancements and raises for everyone

At A Glance is a bi-weekly news recap highlighting WKKF grantees, investments, communities and partnerships.

A report just released from The Roosevelt Institute and the National Employment Law Project found that Lowe’s, CVS, and Home Depot could have provided each of their workers a raise of $18,000 a year, Starbucks could have given each of its employees $7,000 a year, and McDonald’s could have given $4,000 to each of its nearly 2 million employees. What would have made this possible? Curbing stock buybacks. When a company takes profits, cash reserves, or borrowed money to purchase its own shares on the public markets, workers are at the disadvantage. At WKKF, we’re committed to shining a light on and remedying economic and racial inequities. This report is an important read and we’re hopeful for policy reforms to help shift this practice.

Measuring a student’s ability to read is an important process to ensure students are progressing at the pace needed to help them advance. While Mississippi hasn’t always been the state to watch as it relates to this, things are changing. According to the Spring 2018 Kindergarten Readiness Assessment, kindergarteners in EVERY Mississippi district improved their literacy rates. The state superintendent credits kindergarten teachers and their efforts to ensure students develop strong reading skills, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to see their efforts paying off.

The American Indian College Fund has a new initiative funded by WKKF designed to develop and train early childhood education teachers in STEM content areas, providing opportunities for Native children and children in five tribal communities to begin an educational path to success in the STEM fields (fields in which Native students are severely underrepresented). In this way, the initiative will contribute critically to addressing racial and structural inequities for children of color. The needs are great in Native communities across the United States, and this initiative has the potential to address some of the greatest racial and structural inequities in education faced by Native children and communities.

High quality and cost effective dental care—that’s the goal of a new training program being established at Vermont Technical College. With the assistance of a $400K grant, this dental therapy training program will help Vermonters improve the oral health of their communities by expanding access to high quality, cost-effective care. As a member of a dentist-led team, dental therapists provide preventive and basic dental repair services, including cleanings, fillings and simple extractions and can better care for the underserved and underinsured. Not only will this program benefit the community, the educational cost for those entering the program will be less than that of a traditional dental school and will allow dentists to focus their attention on more complicated procedures and patients.

When philanthropic organizations join forces, dollars go further and powerful change is inevitable. Borealis Philanthropy, along with the Ford Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation, have announced thelaunch of the Racial Equity in Philanthropy Fund. This fund will support organizations committed to advancing racial equity within our own sector and beyond. Each of our organizations recognizes our “opportunity and obligation in philanthropic sector to address the root causes of racial inequalities,” as Borealis noted in recent statement. CEO and President of WKKF La June Montgomery Tabron stated that when we stand together, we can widen the path for equity in communities. We’re ready to widen that path.


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