WKKF grantee Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) CEO Lisa Mensah is making things happen for small businesses. In response to the pandemic, she spearheaded an OFN partnership with Google to launch a $125 million relief fund. And late last year, Mensah also announced a $1 billion socially responsible Finance Justice Fund, aimed at reducing racial inequities and poverty. Mensah was recently named as one of Forbes' 50 women over 50 and Goldman Sachs invited her to join the One Million Black Women Advisory Council.
In a recent interview with CNBC, financial expert Sarat Sethi shared advice for the next generation of Asian American and Pacific Islander leaders in the finance and investment advisory industry. He mentioned a WKKF research report from 2020, which found that only a quarter of senior manager roles and higher in financial services are filled by those of Asian descent, including 6% in the C-suite. Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander and mixed-race people held only 2% of those senior roles, with none in the C-suite.
The Kellogg Foundation recently launched The CARE Fund (which stands for Care for All with Respect to Equity) with seven other philanthropies to boldly transform funding care in the U.S. “The pandemic really put a spotlight on just how tenuous our entire care infrastructure is,” said Erin Currier, program officer at the Kellogg Foundation. “Families knew this for a long time, but it’s now in the public discourse what happens when we don’t have access to quality and affordable childcare, when care systems and facilities can’t adequately address the safety of those in their care, and when workers have to choose between their health and their livelihood. We need to listen to the women and women of color who are paid and unpaid caregivers and let them inform the policy solutions that work best for their lives and for their families.”
On May 25, the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death, WKKF grantee PBS NewsHour aired a one-hour special report called “Race Matters – America After George Floyd.” The report focused on what has changed and what hasn’t since the outrage and protest of last summer and the recent verdict. If you’re interested in continued conversation, register to join two WKKF racial equity anchor organizations for “Reunited to Reform: A Discussion on the Future of Policing in America.” UnidosUS and NAACP will host this town hall on Thursday, May 27 at 7 p.m. ET, taking a deep dive into recent reform efforts and what communities can do to make police reform a reality.
The partnership between WKKF, Battle Creek Public Schools (BCPS) and Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in Battle Creek, Michigan, has awarded Health and Teacher Education Pipeline scholarships for 17 graduating seniors from Battle Creek Central High School to attend GVSU starting in fall 2021. Six of the students will receive funding to cover tuition, fees, housing and dining, plus book stipends. Eleven other students will receive partial, renewable scholarships. In addition to offering scholarships, GVSU opened an outreach center in Battle Creek in 2019 and provides mentoring and continuing education support to BCPS teachers and educational opportunities to BCPS students.
WKKF grantee Southwest Solutions empowers Detroit residents to build careers in fields that are in demand and transform their lives for the better. The Earn + Learn program was designed to help people overcome significant barriers for participation in the workforce, including past incarceration and a lack of skills, by giving them access to free training programs and support services, including financial coaching. This year, Earn + Learn has expanded to add four new cohorts at workplaces to help incumbent workers improve work readiness and add educational and technical skills. The goal is improving employee retention for employers and expanding career pathways for employees.