State legislatures are taking action on an important (but often overlooked) aspect of children’s well-being – oral health. New Mexico and Idaho became the 8th and 9th states, respectively, to authorize the practice of including dental therapists as members of oral health care teams. Brought to the United States 15 years ago by Alaska Native communities, dental therapists are community-based providers that provide basic restorative and palliative care. This is an important way to increase access to oral health care in tribal communities, particularly those in rural areas that cannot see dentists consistently. In Alaska, native children whose villages now have access to dental therapists have gone from seeing kids graduate high school with full sets of dentures to having kids with no cavities at all – all in less than a generation. Now, this care will be available to Native Americans in Idaho and New Mexico – Say cheese!
Last month, WKKF made a $1.5 million grant to the Motown Museum to expand programs for Detroiters of all ages. Located at the original home of Motown Records at Hitsville U.S.A., the museum envisions a space where generations will be inspired and transformed by the legacy, sound and unparalleled social and cultural impact of Motown. For more than three decades, it has served as an anchor institution and cultural hub while being a gathering place evoking creative energy and joy – but the time has come to expand on its reach. You can say you heard it through the grapevine, or you can say you heard it here. Either way, this project is music to our ears.
FoodCorps, a national nonprofit (and WKKF grantee) working to connect children to healthy food, currently works in 18 states including Mississippi, Michigan and New Mexico. They announced a partnership last month with Sweetgreen, a fast-casual restaurant chain, to reimagine the school food cafeteria experience. Through the initiative, FoodCorps is leveraging $1 million over the next two years for the development of a “scalable model that works to procure local, regional, responsible and high-quality grown foods from regional producers in public schools.” Fish “sticks” and mystery meat Monday will hopefully be a thing of the past.
On April 23rd, Stanford Social Innovation Review will present a #SSIRLive! program focused on how foundations can advance racial equity through impact investing. Our President and CEO La June Montgomery Tabron joins Lumina Foundation’s Holiday Hart McKiernan and Surdna Foundation’s Don Chen to share examples of how impact investing can play a key role in pursuing equity goals. Attendees can ask questions of the speakers in real-time. Register and learn more here.