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Long-term investments and new solutions

Philanthropy News Digest featured an article advocating long-term investment in Haiti. The author, Frank Giustra, is a businessman and founder of international social agribusiness-builder Acceso. Since the massive earthquake in Haiti in August, WKKF grantee Acceso Haiti has sourced and delivered hundreds of thousands of pounds of local food for those affected by the disaster. Giustra writes, “The longer-term purpose of networks like Acceso and others is to demonstrate that developing robust, food systems goes hand in hand with combating poverty and building national resilience before future disasters.”

Hurricane Ida disproportionately impacted low-income families, and grantee Our Voice Nuestra Voz is stepping up to provide relief. Our Voice Nuestra Voz awarded $100,000 to New Orleans organizations to provide emergency relief to underserved communities, which most often are communities of color. These communities face unequal burdens during a natural disaster, and many could not afford the cost of evacuation, such as gas, food and hotel stays. Read more about how WKKF partners are supporting children and families impacted by Ida.

Ashley Shelton from the Power Coalition says “Stop Asking Us to Be Resilient.” Shelton penned an article following Hurricane Ida when the word “resilient” was imposed on New Orleans by outsiders narrating their history. Says Shelton: “I want to remind people that yes, Louisiana is full of beautiful, resourceful people. But folks cannot continue to expect us to be resilient. Resilience is a short-term condition where one stretches themselves until problems can be resolved. The idea that resilience is a permanent state is a myth supported by white supremacy. Failing to address structural problems while labeling the people enduring such problems as resilient is gaslighting.”

Health equity is a driving force for dental therapy adoption, says Elizabeth Mertz, dental sociologist and oral health services researcher at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Dentistry. In a report funded by WKKF, Mertz’s findings prove that safe, high-quality care, improvements in access and patient acceptance have all been well documented in dental therapist practices – making dental therapy a workforce innovation that can reduce health disparities.

Dwan Dandridge, founder and CEO of WKKF grantee Black Leaders Detroit (BLD), biked 370 miles from Detroit to Mackinaw City in September to raise money and awareness of the challenges faced by Black business owners. BLD: Ride for Equity brought attention to the organization’s goal of making philanthropy more accessible to the Black community in Detroit by giving Black business and nonprofit leaders access to grants and loans from crowdsourced funds.

WKKF grantee Institute for the Future makes the case that giving workers more training is not the solution to better-paying jobs. The solution is the jobs themselves. “Instead of steady jobs with predictable schedules and decent pay, [workers] were cobbling together incomes from various part-time jobs, gigs and contracts.” The solution? New business models like employee-owned businesses and basic narrative change to challenge how we think about workforce needs beyond strictly focusing on workers’ skills.

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