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A Battle Creek couple has opened a newly renovated 6,000 square foot event space called The Link Community Event Center in the city’s economically disadvantaged neighborhood of Washington Heights. The new center was made possible thanks to a $300,000 grant from the Washington Heights Entrepreneurial Fund, created with $2 million in funding from WKKF. The fund was established to support low- to middle-income Black, Latinx and Burmese individuals and operated by grantees Battle Creek Unlimited and New Level Sports Ministries.

Longtime WKKF grantee Roca was featured on CBS Sunday Morning. The segment showcased how Roca works with young adults, police, and systems at the center of urban violence in relationships to address trauma, find hope and drive change. As the program said, “Roca engages in what they call ‘relentless outreach’… whether or not the young men want to be found. Roca keeps after them.” Roca currently serves communities in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Baltimore.

In Mississippi, efforts are underway to support the Jackson community through the ongoing water crisis. One JXN recently launched to help provide accurate, reliable information about the City of Jackson’s water system, where to access clean water and the long-term implications of current and future work on the water system. This community-led campaign aims to help Jackson stand united and contribute to immediate and ongoing solutions. Additionally, JXN Water, the corporation formed to support the third-party management of the water system, is partnering on a People’s Relief Campaign to distribute relief funds to residents and businesses with past-due water and wastewater bills.

Before the pandemic, families had fewer than 8 million child care slots available for more than 11 million children with the potential need for child care in 35 states, according to a survey by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a WKKF grantee. The U.S. Department of Commerce is testing an innovative approach to open more opportunities for children by requiring companies who want federal subsidies for semiconductor manufacturing to incorporate high-quality, affordable child care for workers. As highlighted by the New York Times, this means that companies could use federal dollars to boost operations to make the U.S. semiconductor industry more competitive, and to potentially open child care centers at construction sites, subsidize child care costs for workers, among other options.

WKKF grantees Battle Creek Unlimited, Northern Initiatives and the City of Battle Creek are implementing a community economic development strategy. In partnership with the foundation, their goal is to create a strong small-business support infrastructure and provide more opportunities to entrepreneurs of color. The basis for this infrastructure has come in the form of a $10 million Small Business Loan Fund, and a cohort-driven entrepreneurial class that helps people with an idea develop a business plan and work with coaches to turn their dreams into reality.

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