Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Kellogg Foundation Announces America Healing Initiative to Tackle Racism and Promote Racial Healing

Dr. Gail Christopher, Vice President for Programs, the Kellogg Foundation, speaks at the America Healing Initiative's launch, May 11, 2010.
America Healing Initiative will Expand Opportunities for Vulnerable Children
WASHINGTON, May 11 /PRNewswire/ -- In an unprecedented effort to address the devastating impact of racial inequities on communities across the country, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation launched today a five-year, $75 million initiative – America Healing – that aims to improve life outcomes for vulnerable children and their families by promoting racial healing and eliminating barriers to opportunities.

Children of color are over-represented among the 29 million low-income children and families in this country, particularly among families living in concentrated poverty. According to data from the National Center for Children in Poverty, about 61 percent of African American, 62 percent of Latino, 57 percent of Native American, 58 percent of children with immigrant parents, 30 percent of Asian American children and 26 percent of white children live in low-income families.

The Kellogg Foundation's vision is for a nation to marshal its resources to ensure that all children in America have an equitable and promising future," said Sterling K. Speirn, president and CEO. "That is simply not the case in many communities across the country today. The goal of the America Healing initiative is to help make that vision a reality by engaging communities and supporting them in the hard work of racial healing and addressing the effects of historic and contemporary structural issues, such as residential segregation and concentrated poverty."

During the first phase of America Healing, 119 organizations will receive grants totaling $14,613,709 specifically to support community-based organizations' healing efforts among racial and ethnic groups that address historic burdens, disparities and barriers to opportunity. Their efforts will focus within local communities to increase opportunities for children in education, health and economic areas. Grantees represent 29 states and the District of Columbia and all racial and ethnic population groups. To highlight the desire of communities to work together on racial healing, the foundation created a signature video, which captures the spirit of the initiative. The video can be viewed at

"The mission of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation is to help communities create conditions that propel vulnerable children to succeed as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society," said Dr. Gail Christopher, vice president of programs. "Because children of color are so disproportionately represented in low-income families and impoverished communities, realizing our mission requires addressing historic and current structural barriers to opportunity, such as exposure to environmental toxins and under-resourced schools, which are a direct result of past policies and practices of racialization and privilege."

"At a time when our nation shows disturbing signs of becoming more polarized, this courageous effort by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to promote healing within local communities is sorely needed. It reminds us of our true democratic ideals as a nation and of the inalienable right guaranteed by our founding documents to the free and unfettered opportunity that every human being deserves," said U.S. Representative John Lewis (D-GA), who spoke at the launch event.

Other phases of the initiative will seek to curtail racism in the media, the environment, education, housing, health and criminal justice systems, with an emphasis on expanding opportunities for all children.

In an effort to showcase the many outstanding grant proposals, and because the foundation could not fund all 1,000 projects, they have created and will publicize a catalog of all proposals, including both the funded and unfunded. The goal is to help connect organizations with potential sources of funding and to help meet the extraordinary demand for racial healing. To view the catalog, please visit

To learn more about America Healing, please visit

Photo: America Healing Flickr

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