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High-quality pre-K, free child care and actionable research

Congratulations to our grantees and partners in Mississippi who helped the state rank nationally for high-quality pre-K. The National Institute for Early Education Research recognized only five states whose state-funded pre-K meets all 10 quality standards, noting the expansion of Mississippi’s Early Learning Collaborative and the state Department of Education’s partnership with WKKF to build an early childhood education infrastructure.

In New Mexico, prioritizing the most precious resources – children – has been a bedrock for the state. As a result of an enduring child-centered movement today, the entire state is celebrating another critical building block victory to ensure every single child thrives now and into the future, as New Mexico becomes the first state to offer free child care. This comes on the heels of another big win for the state’s teachers, statewide pay increases and equal pay for Indigenous language teachers. WKKF celebrates all the partners working to make these critical measures a reality for children.

From climate change to shrinking operations and rising costs, from racism to COVID-19, many challenges have created opportunities to seed change and innovation in American farming. Instead of industrial approaches that have led to a highly consolidated food and agriculture system, emerging approaches aim to integrate racial equity, environmental, health and labor considerations – all to create a better future for farms and food systems. WKKF grantees at the National Young Farmers Coalition and Black Farmer Fund, highlighted in Time magazine, are leading the way. They’re addressing barriers and supporting young farmers and farmers of color to create more sustainable ways to feed our communities.

Creating fairness in the institutions that shape our lives – schools, health care, the courts and workplaces – can feel challenging, even if many people share similar values and aspirations. The team of researchers, analysts and strategists at the Perception Institute are launching a new newsletter, Perception Insights, to share cutting-edge research from the mind sciences and highly actionable information to help readers understand how implicit bias works and how to move beyond it.

On April 27, the Detroit Free Press Film Festival opened with the premiere of a new documentary film, “Gradually, Then Suddenly: The Bankruptcy of Detroit.” The film, which was supported in part by a WKKF grant, shares the dramatic story of Detroit’s 2013 financial crisis that resulted in the city going through the largest Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy in history, and the subsequent philanthropic-public-private partnership that successfully helped the city exit bankruptcy 17 months later. The documentary received the 2021 Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film.

WKKF grantee Melel Xojobal was in the Mexican press for addressing a grim but critical reality: a dramatic increase in disappearances – especially of children and women – in Mexico in 2021 (and a general rise since 2006). The group’s director, Jennifer Haza Gutiérrez, joined other organizations at a media event to share findings of their research and recommend actions for guaranteeing the rights of victims and their families, as well as preventing disappearances. WKKF supports Melel Xojobal’s work to raise awareness and strengthen alliances for the protection of the rights of children and adolescents in Chiapas.

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