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From babies through adults, improving health, life and healing

Preterm births in the U.S. have reached the highest level in 15 years, and disproportionately are experienced by Black and Native American mothers and infants, according to a new report from WKKF grantee March of Dimes. “Our country, unfortunately … is one of the least safe places to give birth and be born,” said Dr. Zsakeba Henderson, March of Dimes’ senior vice president and interim chief medical and health officer, in an NPR story. Through policies such as expanding access to Medicaid – which covers more than 40% of births in the nation – and ensuring pregnant mothers’ access to basic needs, states can help improve the health of moms and babies. Thankfully, an increasing number of states are forming perinatal quality collaboratives to examine and elevate solutions.

A cohort of WKKF grantees in Battle Creek, Michigan, provide free early care and education services to low-income families. Together, they are tackling the child care crisis and ensuring the city’s most vulnerable children have the opportunity to thrive. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Harvest Learning Center, BC Pulse and other community-based partners have worked together for years to strengthen the city’s early childhood system, improving the kindergarten readiness rate from 15% in 2013 to 51% this year.

Also in Battle Creek, grantee Victory Life Church hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for The Hope House, a program built in partnership with Hood Church. The Hope House will provide a safe place for men who have experienced houselessness and addiction, helping them get up on their feet, find jobs and secure their independence. 

Congratulations to our friends at Two Mississippi Museums on their upcoming 5th anniversary celebration. More than half a million people have walked through the doors of the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum for learning, reflection and a chance to understand our painful history, while also seeing stories of courage and determination. The museums will celebrate with an open house and free admission. If you’re local to the area, or your holiday travels will take you through Jackson, we encourage you to stop and visit. 

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