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Supporting entrepreneurs, Indigenous communities and new moms

WKKF grantee Detroit Development Fund runs the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund, which has made more than $14 million in low-interest loans to small-business owners in Detroit. Recently, the Detroit Free Press highlighted six customers of the fund that have started restaurants in the city, including Baobab Fare, The Kitchen by Cooking with Que, Kuzzo’s Chicken and Waffles, Norma G’s, Ivy Kitchen + Cocktails and Yum Village.

There is a lack of literature on Indigenous perspectives on health and social determinants of health in their communities. This can be limiting for Indigenous nations as they set policy and allocate resources to improve the health of their citizens. In 2015, eight scholars from both Tribal communities and educational institutions examined the World Health Organization’s social determinants of health framework in Indigenous communities and how Indigenous people define a healthy community. Their findings, recently published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, concluded that definitions of Indigenous health and well-being should be community-driven and Indigenous-nation based.

With two grants from WKKF, the Autonomous University of the Yucatan (UADY) and CentroGeo collaborated with other state and private organizations to create the Peninsular Mayan Linguistic Corpus in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. With the aim of preserving the Yucatecan Mayan language, WKKF Program Officer Quetzalli Sotelo Schmelkes said the entity’s field research will recover stories of the Mayan spoken in communities. This will create a “digital scaffolding” for creating products such as dictionaries, search engines and educational materials. The announcement press event was featured in Spanish language newspapers and a Mayan-language newscast. At the 16-minute mark, grantee Yazmín Novelo of the Yúuyum language revitalization movement interviewed grantee César Can of UADY about the importance of this initiative.

WKKF grantee Spotlight on Poverty talked with economist and author Greg J. Duncan of the University of California about new research studying the use of new moms’ cash benefits. Baby’s First Years project found that cash gifts to low-income mothers and their children not only has a direct impact on children’s brain development, but it also debunked stereotypes that moms would spend a disproportionate amount of the money on alcohol, cigarettes and opioids.

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