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Recognizing racial inequities, honoring leaders confronting injustices

Venture capital had its biggest year yet in 2021. However, only 1.5% of venture capital goes to Black and Latinx founders. For women, the numbers are even more disparate, with just 0.43% going to Black and Latinx female founders. WKKF investee Harlem Capital Partners (HCP) is transforming the venture capital ecosystem with its bold vision of investing in 1,000 diverse founders over the next 20 years. HCP’s managing partner and co-founder, Henri Pierre-Jacques, recently spoke with Inc. Magazine about the fund’s journey and what qualities they’re looking for in entrepreneurs. 

The U.S. tech sector is growing 10 times faster and has wages twice as high as the rest of the economy. At the same time, the sector’s professional, managerial and executive labor forces are overwhelmingly White and male. The University of Massachusetts Amherst Center for Employment Equity, a WKKF grantee, published research looking at which types of tech firms are increasing their workforce diversity, by how much and for which groups of people. The findings revealed that 80% of firms displayed a pattern of very minimal increases in diversity in their professional labor force, primarily driven by small increases in the employment of Asian men and Asian women, with declines among non-Asian women and no change among other minority men. This widespread pattern reflects much slower movement toward employment diversity in this sector than in the rest of the U.S. labor force.

Here at WKKF, Dr. Paul Farmer was a friend, a partner, a grantee, an inspiration and so much more. Since his passing on Feb. 21, we’ve seen an overwhelming outpouring of remembrances. We are sharing here just two that touched close to home for us. Grantee Jim Ansara, founder of Build Health International, wrote a piece for WBUR’s Cognoscenti about the “brilliant” Farmer, and Le Nouvelliste ran a tribute compilation, which included the writing of representatives of grantee organizations Zanmi Lasante (Partner in Health’s sister organization in Haiti), GHESKIO and Caribbean Craft, as well as WKKF Program Officer Ryan Jiha.
Meanwhile, Vatican News reported that on Feb. 25, WKKF’s Haiti-based grantee FOKAL (the Foundation for Liberty and Knowledge), received the prestigious Zayed Award for Human Fraternity. The $1 million prize is given to those “who lead by example, creating breakthroughs by collaborating selflessly and tirelessly across divides to drive real conviction-led progress.” FOKAL received the honor for “its grassroots work to serve the common good and build a more resilient society based on the values of human fraternity.” Pope Francis is among recent awardees. WKKF is supporting FOKAL’s efforts to improve the education system in Haiti through research, public discourse and domestic grantmaking.

New study findings in the WKKF-funded issue of Health Affairs journal on Racism & Health, indicate that while Black women are overrepresented in the health care workforce, they receive the lowest pay for doing some of the hardest work, such as lifting patients and cleaning rooms, with fewer pathways for advancing in their careers. Shantonia Jackson from Cicero, Ill., a certified nursing assistant, explained to the Washington Post how she cares for “anywhere from 30 to 60 residents at a time.” Jackson is on the advisory board for the Center for Equity, an initiative of the WKKF-funded Healthcare Career Advancement Program (H-CAP) working with employers, unions and workers to raise standards across health care. 
Supply chain issues are affecting more spaces than you might imagine. Donations to human milk banks, which are essential to nourishing premature infants, are in demand. Hear our partners at the Mother’s Milk Bank of Louisiana at Ochsner Baptist Hospital and the Human Milk Banking Association of North America talk about the importance of donated breast milk, especially during this time. 


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