Mobilizing networks

At A Glance is a bi-weekly news recap highlighting WKKF grantees, investments, communities and partnerships.

WKKF grantee North End Woodward Community Coalition (NEWCC) was invited by Vice President Kamala Harris to share work they’ve done during the COVID-19 pandemic to address the digital divide in the metro Detroit neighborhoods they serve. NEWCC’s Operating Director and Founding Chairman of the Board, Rev. Joan Ross, described how they train neighborhood leaders in technical and community organizing skills to bring high-speed internet connections to their communities. NEWCC’s internet-in-a-box service, which currently operates in three communities, serves 300 households and eight nonprofits, using seven solar-powered Wi-Fi charging stations.

Forbes magazine announced that WKKF grantee Anseye Pou Ayiti (Teach for Haiti) is among the 12 finalists for a prestigious 2021 WISE Award. The WISE Awards recognize successful, innovative projects that address global educational challenges. Anseye Pou Ayiti works to develop leadership among teachers and advocates for improved education in Haiti.

In late May, Mexico’s Supreme Court issued a ruling that could have important implications for environmental protection in that country, according to a Washington Post column. WKKF grantee Indignación was one of the organizations leading the legal charge against a large pig farm that threatened to contaminate one of Mexico’s most important aquifers. The court ruled unanimously to halt the farm’s operation. WKKF supports the efforts of Indignación, a human rights organization, to increase Mayan communities’ participation in decision-making processes through education about Indigenous rights to self-determination and access to water and land.

According to the Small Business Administration, only 4% of total loans go to Black-owned businesses. Ellis Carr, president and CEO of WKKF investee Capital Impact Partners, tells Forbes there’s not a lack of desire from lenders to supply capital to diverse borrowers, but a gap in technology, technical assistance and data. That’s why Capital Impact Partners is joining forces with CDC Small Business Finance to fix the lending gap to diverse-led companies across the U.S. Their lending platform has accounted for more than $4.7 billion in Paycheck Protection Program loans serviced to small businesses during the pandemic.

WKKF grantee New Economy Initiative (NEI) raised an additional $19.5 million in foundation support for Invest Detroit. The fund supports nonprofits that provide capital, technical assistance and connections to underserved small businesses in metro Detroit that are run by women and people of color. In addition, NEI will coordinate the network of nonprofits that provide this support by convening them, identifying unmet needs and gaps in the system and mobilizing the network to quickly develop solutions for local entrepreneurs.

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