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Recognizing trailblazers in racial equity, food innovation and children’s care

After a more than two-year journey, the five awardees for WKKF’s Racial Equity 2030 have been announced. ActionAid Brazil, Communities United, Indian Law Resource Center, Partners in Development Foundation and Namati will receive a combined $80 million to advance racial equity in the next decade. There’s a growing buzz about the potential impact of these visionary organizations. Explore their stories with Good Morning America 3, The Washington Post, Vox, USA Today and by searching on social media using #RacialEquity2030. 

The federal Economic Development Administration awarded $522,000 to Battle Creek Unlimited to ensure the city of Battle Creek, Michigan, remains a hub and leader for food innovation. The funds will support the development of a food start-up program called the Future Food Accelerator and a venture capital fund called the Food and Beverage Investors Network.  

For families struggling to find affordable child care and facilities having issues keeping staff, America’s child care system is “a perfect example of a market failure,” according to Cynthia Osborne, professor of early childhood education and policy and executive director of the Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center at Vanderbilt University, a WKKF grantee. Thankfully, states are innovating new models to transform and expand child care – like New Mexico, which is using existing tax funds from oil and gas production to make child care free for one year for almost all of the state’s children. The center recently released its 2022 Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap highlighting the best state investments that help ensure children can thrive from their earliest years. 

Millions of children could lose health care coverage through Medicaid when the pandemic’s public health emergency measures end. But not young children in Oregon. The state just received federal approval to pilot a program that would keep kids continuously covered until they turn 6 years old, no matter what happens to their family or finances. A few other states, including New Mexico, are applying for approval of similar changes so kids can stay covered. Joan Alker, executive director of Georgetown’s Center for Children and Families, a WKKF grantee, told The Washington Post she is “cautiously optimistic” about more states following suit on this promising measure. 

WKKF grantees took part in International Day of the Girl activities on Oct. 11. In Mexico, Jennifer Haza, director of Melel Xojobal, was quoted in an article on a march in Chiapas against violence inflicted on women and girls. She said the march happens every year to draw attention to problems faced by girls and adolescents in Chiapas. WKKF supports Melel Xojobal’s work to raise awareness and strengthen alliances to protect the rights of children and adolescents in Chiapas. Among the urgent issues Haza cited in the article: low rates of school attendance and high rates of pregnancy among girls under 15.  

The St. Louis-Dispatch wrote a compelling review of the latest album by New Orleans-based Haitian American musician Leyla McCalla. “Breaking the Thermometer” is one work of art to emerge from McCalla’s project focused on legendary Haitian journalist Jean Dominique and his radio station, Radio Haiti. Duke University commissioned McCalla to create a performance based on its archive of broadcasts from Radio Haiti, the first station in Haiti to consistently broadcast in the country’s mother tongue, Haitian Creole. For its role in changing narratives about Haiti, WKKF supports this multidisciplinary performance, called “Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever.” The title is from something Dominique said: “You can break the thermometer, but it won’t hide the fever.” Dominique was assassinated in 2000. 



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