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Fostering equity, racial healing and keeping children healthy

In 2021, Native American women working full time were paid approximately $0.57 for every dollar earned by White, non-Hispanic men, the National Women’s Law Center reports. In 2020, that difference was $0.60. WKKF grantee Native Women Lead is addressing this worsening pay inequity for Indigenous women by enabling economic mobility. Thanks to the organization’s Matriarch Creative Fund and Restorative Fund, Indigenous women entrepreneurs can access low-interest loans to build their small businesses in all industries, including photography and fashion. The Indigenous women-led nonprofit was awarded $10 million in the national #EquailityCantWait Challenge! last year that helped launch “The Future Is Indigenous Women” initiative, which aims to build support systems for Native women in business through fellowships, training, loans and other resources.

Detroit grantee North End Woodward Community Coalition (NEWCC) provides free internet access to 400 families from hub locations installed in local neighborhoods in Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park. NEWCC’s Equitable Internet Initiative does this to combat digital redlining, the practice of internet service providers offering extremely slow internet speeds to communities where people of color live for similar rates charged in nearby affluent communities for much faster speeds.

An inspirational example of racial healing and narrative change is expanding in Chicago. Little Black Pearl is a cultural art center rooted in the Black community in the North Kenwood-Oakland neighborhood. Its founder, Monica Haslip, who is also a racial healing practitioner and a long-term partner in WKKF’s national Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation efforts, is establishing a new collective space that invites people to “feel a sense of belonging in an environment that is creative and inspiring.”

Zeynep Tufekci wrote a column about Partners in Health (PIH) Co-Founder Paul Farmer, who died unexpectedly early this year. The piece first appeared in The New York Times and was re-published in The Berkshire Eagle. Tufekci became a committed donor to PIH after reading about the organization’s groundbreaking work in Haiti and elsewhere in the 2003 biography of Farmer, “Mountains Beyond Mountains.” Tufekci wrote, “I’m writing my check for PIH not just because of their good work in some of the toughest places around the world but also with the hope that Paul Farmer’s legacy of providing treatment, respect and empowerment to all patients can endure and even thrive.” WKKF is a long-standing supporter of PIH’s work in Haiti.

A federal policy change during the pandemic helped keep millions of children enrolled in Medicaid, resulting in a decline in uninsured children across America. A new report from the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute Center for Children and Families, a WKKF grantee, highlights this improvement as a “bright spot during the dark days of the pandemic,” according to Joan Alker, executive director of the center and lead author of the report. Children in Oklahoma saw the biggest improvement in the country, thanks to Medicaid expansion and continuous Medicaid coverage measures. Still, children are at risk of losing coverage when federal protection expires, which is expected sometime in 2023. 

How can cities help build a more resilient food system? By prioritizing financial support for more local “farm-to-fork” supply chains, environmental sustainability, nutrition and worker and community well-being. This is according to Paula Daniels, cofounder of the Center for Good Food Purchasing, a WKKF grantee. A total of 24 cities and 60 public institutions, including school districts, are paving the way with more than $1 billion in food purchasing dollars geared toward rethinking the way food procurement can transform a system.

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