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Grand openings and groundbreaking, community-led solutions


Last week, WKKF President and CEO La June Montgomery Tabron participated in a fireside chat at the Solve at MIT 2024 conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The conversation provided La June with the opportunity to share WKKF’s unique approach to community-centered transformation, futures thinking and the visionary work of our Racial Equity 2030 awardees within the context of a broader discussion of what an equitable and sustainable future might look like.  As La June noted on stage, “We believe solutions reside in communities, people have the capacity to improve their own lives and what we’re doing is fueling their innovation, their creativity.”  To see the full discussion, view the stream of the event on MIT Solve’s YouTube page.


Margo Snipe, national health reporter at Capital B News and a national fellow at WKKF grantee the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, was named a finalist for the prestigious Livingston Award by the University of Michigan’s Wallace House Center for Journalists. This honor recognizes her fellowship reporting project, Dangerous Deliveries, which chronicled the disproportionate toll of maternity care unit closures on Black rural communities of Georgia. The series highlighted racial disparities facing Black moms and babies in both access to health care and resulting outcomes. “Many of the state’s poorest regions battle the greatest barriers to health care and face the worst outcomes,” Snipe wrote. The awards honor the best reporting and storytelling by journalists under the age of 35, and finalists were selected from among 400 entries.


Xavier University of Louisiana, a WKKF grantee, and Ochsner Health recently announced a groundbreaking partnership that aims to redefine the landscape of health care: the Xavier Ochsner College of Medicine (XOCOM). The medical school will train the next generation of physicians, empowering them to be agents of change to advance health equity and address health disparities in New Orleans and beyond. When it opens, XOCOM will join the nation’s four existing historically Black medical schools and is slated to be the only Historically Black College and University (HBCU) medical school in the Gulf South. Learn more about how the health care system and HBCU are partnering to deepen health equities.


A recent episode of the En Común podcast featured Túumben K’óoben, a cooperative of Maya professionals – mostly women – that supports sustainable community development in the Yucatán Peninsula. Túumben K’óoben leads the Agroecological Fund of the Yucatán Peninsula, a local fund created with the support of the international Agroecology Fund and WKKF. The Agroecology Fund of the Yucatán Peninsula awards grants to grassroots organizations with innovative initiatives in agroecological research and production, market access and climate resilience. The 20-minute episode of En Común focuses on the cooperative’s work to promote efficient stoves and solar energy projects.


The Detroit People’s Food Co-op, created by grantees Detroit Black Community Food Sovereignty Network and Develop Detroit, hosted its grand opening on May 18. The Black-led store is one element of the Detroit Food Commons building, which also features a community event space and a commercial kitchen for use by food entrepreneurs. The development provides more equitable access to healthy food and employment opportunities in Detroit’s North End.

WKKF provided support to grantee partner the City of Grand Rapids to host the 10th annual Neighborhood Summit. This day-long event was created to connect members of the community, lift resident leadership and promote collaboration to achieve greater racial equity in the city. Other grantee partners, including members of the Urban Core Collective and Grand Valley State University, also provide support to the event, which gathers hundreds of community members each year for deep conversations, workshops, presentations and fun. In addition, this year the event provided residents with an important opportunity to weigh in on the city’s master plan.

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