W.K. Kellogg Foundation increases regional investments to support young men and boys of color

Foundation grants $4.7 million to Mississippi and New Orleans organizations to eliminate barriers in order to improve outcomes for young men and boys of color

Jul 28, 2015, 08:09 ET from W.K. Kellogg Foundation

BATTLE CREEK, Mich., July 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) announced a total investment of $4.7 million to 10 community-based organizations in the foundation's priority places of Mississippi and New Orleans that are working to promote racial equity and healing in order to eliminate barriers to success for young men and boys of color. Two organizations in Mississippi, working in a coalition and broad collaboration with several other partners, and eight in New Orleans will receive investments ranging from $150,000 to $1 million to support their efforts around the major issues that uniquely affect these young men and boys, including school push-out, school discipline policies, policing and workforce training.

"Young men and boys of color have enormous potential and deserve equitable opportunities to succeed," said La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO of the foundation. "We believe that these smart, creative and dedicated young men will be the next generation of leaders for their families, communities, states and the nation. Through the shared learning space of the Executives' Alliance (EA) for Men and Boys of Color — a growing network of more than 40 national, regional and community foundations working together to invest in pathways to opportunity that support young men and boys of color in reaching their full potential in life — we know that by investing in the futures of these young men, we are also investing in our collective future. When they succeed, we all share in their success. WKKF is proud to be a member of the EA. Efforts like our work in Mississippi and New Orleans will lend itself to the national effort and will have cumulative lasting impact."

The Kellogg Foundation is committed to community-led solutions that tackle the complex and inequitable barriers faced by young men and boys of color that begin before birth and follow them throughout their lives. The legacy of structural racism has created long-lasting barriers to their success. These barriers lie at the heart of enduring disparities in economic, health and educational outcomes for communities of color. Addressing and resolving these inequities has tremendous potential to strengthen economies, create jobs, revive neighborhoods and broaden opportunities for all children, families and communities to thrive.

"Rethink is working to support youth of color, so that they feel empowered to become leaders in their own communities," said Karen "KG" Marshall, executive director of Kids Rethink New Orleans, a WKKF grantee. "Young males of color in particular have rich and unique experiences that are invaluable, and we are committed to helping them use those experiences to become the transformative leaders their community needs them to be." 

In Mississippi, WKKF's investments build on existing support of young men and boys of color and are focused on strategies to improve school discipline policies, which disproportionately affect students of color, and dismantling policing practices that stereotype and criminalize these young men. The New Orleans investments will help connect opportunity youth, i.e., young people between the ages of 16-24 who are out of school and out of work, to workforce training programs and career paths. In turn, WKKF's investments will build capacity and foster organizations' ability to better serve opportunity youth more broadly now and in the future.

"We are committed to dismantling barriers and settings that hinder the potential of young men and boys of color in Mississippi," said Jennifer Riley-Collins, executive director of American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi, a WKKF grantee. "By proactively addressing school discipline policies that disproportionately and harshly impact these young men, we can move forward in paving opportunities that lead to a brighter future for everyone."

A complete list of the organizations is provided below, with details on each grant available here:

Mississippi
American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi Foundation Inc.

Working with the Mississippi Center for Justice, the Sunflower County Consolidated School District and the district's Community Engagement Council

Tougaloo College

Working with One Voice, Mississippi Economic Policy Center and Southern Poverty Law Center

New Orleans
Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies

Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools

Liberty's Kitchen Inc.

Louisiana Center for Children's Rights

Reconcile New Orleans Inc.

Recovery Assistance Inc. (RAI) Ministries

Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association (VAYLA) of New Orleans

YOUTHanasia Foundation Inc.

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti.

SOURCE W.K. Kellogg Foundation