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Billions, Black lives and business building

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

The state of New York  committed to increasing funding for its public schools in the 2021-22 state budget. That’s about $1.4 billion per year in increased funding in the upcoming three years! Kudos to WKKF grantees Public Policy and Education Fund of New York and Education Law Center for their tireless, persistent advocacy and legal support over many years to make this happen for New York’s kids.

Speaking of $1.4 billion, several Michigan WKKF grantees are working together to transform the state’s child care system, using $1.4 billion in federal coronavirus pandemic relief received by the state. As reported by Detroit grantee Chalkbeat, Hope Starts Here, Early Childhood Investment Corporation and Michigan’s Children are collaborating to determine the right approach. They want to balance providing immediate pandemic relief to the state’s hard-hit child care providers with rethinking the state’s system and ensuring providers get better ongoing support, especially in low-income communities.

Forbes article about the urgent need to improve access to medical oxygen worldwide features three WKKF grantees. Dr. Inobert Pierre of Health Equity International and Jim Ansara of Build Health International discuss short- and long-term solutions to the challenge of providing essential oxygen therapy in Haiti. Leonid Lecca of Socios En Salud, the Peru-based operation of grantee Partners in Health, emphasizes the importance of government and private-sector support.

Brazil’s Boabá Fund for Racial Equity, a WKKF grantee, was awarded R$1 million by Google.org for its Black Lives: Dignity and Justice initiative that will support 10 Black Brazilian-led organizations promoting racial justice. Each organization will receive R$100,000 for their projects addressing systemic racial violence, mass incarceration and more, as well as one year of technical assistance from Google. Registration to apply is now open through June 6, 2021.

Studies show that only 4% of Black-owned businesses survive the startup stage. In response, Blavity.org, the racial equity and social impact arm of Blavity, Inc., a WKKF investee, launched a new mentorship and grant program to support these companies. Blavity’s Growth Fellowship gives a much-needed boost to startups that have weathered the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. Twelve companies were selected for the first cohort. Each will receive a $10,000 grant and access to corporate sponsorship, along with a suite of business training.

Detroit grantee MINT Artists Guild issued a challenge to young artists: Paint portraits of heroes who inspire you. Twelve artists answered the call by painting 15 portraits that are now part of the organization’s first traveling exhibit, “Heroes: Now and Then,” currently on display at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. MINT teaches young people ages 13-21 to create art and pursue careers in artistic fields, using abilities they learn in opportunities presented by the program. If you find yourself in Grand Rapids in the next few weeks, mask up and stop by!

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