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Last Wednesday, our President and CEO, La June Montgomery Tabron, attended the New York Times DealBook Summit in New York. She led a discussion during the Groundbreakers Luncheon on why the business community needs to be champions of racial equity. A photo of La June and her response to the question, “What makes you hopeful about the impact of your work?” was featured this week in The New York Times about the Summit. The article also included comments from Erica Smiley, executive director of Jobs with Justice, a WKKF grantee.


The Atlantic, in partnership with WKKF grantee Mississippi Today, hosted the State of Our Union: Mississippi convening in Jackson that was underwritten by WKKF. The event brought national and local newsmakers together with community members to discuss the complex challenges facing the state. The Atlantic hosted a pre-event dinner that featured former Freedom Riders Hezekiah Watkins and Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, and opened up space for local and national leaders to discuss the important role racial healing and truth-telling play on the journey toward racial equity. Additionally, WKKF curated a panel discussion on the business case for women’s economic security moderated by Rhea Williams-Bishop, our director of Mississippi and New Orleans programming, which featured several WKKF national and Mississippi grantees.


In Haiti, a reporting project linking the U.S.-based International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) with Port-au-Prince-based Woy Magazine and local journalists across Haiti is publishing stories about Haitians who are bringing light in dark times and working to build a better future. One example is this Nov. 27 article in New Lines Magazine about a citizen-led effort to construct an irrigation canal across the length of Haiti near the border with the Dominican Republic. WKKF supports IWMF’s work, in partnership with Woy Magazine, to bring stories from Haiti to an international audience that highlight Haitian agency and humanity.

Community Engagement:

In Mexico and Haiti, WKKF grantees are using journalism to tell stories of locals fighting for a better future for their communities. On Dec. 6, Cohesión Comunitaria e Innovación Social (Community Cohesion and Social Innovation – CCIS) released the 10th episode of Archipiélago, a narrative podcast about various ways Mexicans in the Yucatán Peninsula defend their rights and territories. WKKF supports CCIS’ work to promote dialogue, access to information and civic engagement to bolster Indigenous peoples’ exercise of the right to self-determination and autonomy in Chiapas and the Yucatán Peninsula.

New Orleans:

Driven by a high number of university students with children who need access to affordable child care, a new child care center recently opened on Southern University at New Orleans’ campus, thanks to funding from WKKF. The center will serve 125 students from two months to age 10 and eventually will offer extended hours to 8 p.m., accommodating parents who are juggling work and school.


In the fall of 2024, WKKF grantee Sprout will launch a cooperative fresh food market and deli, with eight apartments above it, in downtown Battle Creek. Uproot Market & Eatery will provide local farmers and food producers a new venue for their products, and give residents an opportunity to own a stake in a centrally located market plus access to fresh, healthy foods.

Food systems:

Twenty-two initiatives across the U.S. have been awarded a combined total of $3.5 million from Growing Justice, a new multi-donor pooled fund driven by the wisdom and experience of farmers, funders and other workers in the food value chain. From its inception, WKKF has supported the fund’s work to bolster community-based efforts to build partnerships that advance equitable good food purchasing practices and policies, leverage procurement from anchor institutions in communities, support farmers and producers and strengthen local/regional food infrastructure. The inaugural grantees represent a wide variety of efforts and organizations led by or allied with communities and people of color, from Kawerak, Inc., in Alaska to the Farmworkers Association of Florida.

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