We work throughout the U.S. and with sovereign tribes concentrating up to two-thirds of our grantmaking in priority places of Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans, Chiapas and the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, and in Central and South Haiti. Our deep history of grantmaking, existing relationships and, in some cases, infrastructure to leverage are helping us to move the needle in these communities. We are committed to working in these priority places for at least a generation.
In Michigan, we bring communities together in our priority places of Battle Creek, Detroit and Grand Rapids to re-envision the places where people live, learn, work and play. Through collaborative planning among businesses, foundation partners and local leaders, efforts like Hope Starts Here in Detroit and BCVision in Battle Creek are removing barriers to opportunity and changing what’s possible for children and families. Other efforts are boosting entrepreneurship and employment opportunities in communities of color through capital investments in the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund and the Battle Creek Small Business Loan Fund and eliminating racial discrimination in hiring practices to diversify employment in the health care sector in Grand Rapids.
Lasting change for children and families in Mississippi will be realized when the voices and stories of all people are heard, which is why we support efforts that foster racial equity and racial healing. In Jackson, we are forging a community-centered partnership to envision a more equitable education system where every student can become their best self. Throughout the state, our investments helped create and expand the state’s first early childhood education office and increase access to early learning programs for the most vulnerable children. All the while, our support for families’ economic security is strengthened by a partnership among all of the state’s community colleges to help nontraditional students connect to careers in the state’s growing industries.
In Bernalillo, Doña Ana, McKinley and San Juan counties, and among sovereign tribes, we are helping to remove barriers to opportunity, eliminate racial discrimination and advance equitable outcomes for children and families. Through collaborative partnerships and community engagement, we increase access to multicultural and multi-lingual early childhood programs that improve quality and honor children’s identities; expand affordable capital for women and entrepreneurs of color; expand quality maternal-infant health services and child nutrition; enhance the availability of fresh, local, healthy food; widen pathways to high-quality jobs; and uplift local leaders to connect and lead transformational change.
We are working with community members to realize their vision of becoming a child-centered city by creating more equitable systems and policies across all sectors. Alongside our partners, we are supporting children in their earliest years – helping mothers to breastfeed; increasing access to good food, quality health care and early childhood education; and connecting people to career pathways that lead to stable, high-quality jobs. In response to the impacts of Hurricane Katrina, we are helping advance trauma-informed practices in schools and in the community. New Orleans is unique in that it is the lone charter-only school system in the U.S. and we support its efforts to implement culturally-competent policies that help children thrive.
In Chiapas and the Yucatán Peninsula, we supported community-visioning processes to help elevate Indigenous voices and identify community priorities. Today, grantees are building alliances to improve primary school education, enhance multicultural, multi-lingual learning, and improve teacher quality and effectiveness. They are also growing family incomes by increasing agricultural production and new value chains; increasing access to quality maternal-infant health services and promoting potable water to improve nutrition. Nationally, we are improving systems to serve children and families include building stronger public-private partnerships with government and non-governmental organizations, such as including Indigenous communities as part of the Census process.
In central and southwest Haiti, we are building local alliances and investing in community visioning processes to identify and advance opportunities for children and families. Community members seek to improve access to quality K-6 elementary education systems; create more income generation opportunities; and expand access to quality nutrition and maternal and child health care. As a result, we are increasing school enrollment and retention rates through the Model School Network; improving hospital delivery rates and the number of trained health professionals with St. Boniface Hospital; and strengthening family income through agriculture production by tapping new value chains with ACCESO Peanut Enterprise Corporation.