June 1, 2010
‘America Healing’ Initiative will Expand Opportunities for Vulnerable Children
LOS ANGELES – The Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance is welcoming a generous $ 10,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg America Healing Initiative to further its work in addressing issues of racism and prejudice through programs that enable participants to examine causes of inequities in order to challenge them as well as planning sessions for students to create and implement solutions to problems as they see them.
This grant for the Museum of Tolerance is one of 119 awarded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to support racial equity and healing. According to Rabbi Meyer H. May, Executive Director of the Wiesenthal Center, Los Angeles children are exposed to severe risk factors including high poverty and crime rates, drug and alcohol use, and gang violence. He pointed to a recent survey that showed that 40% of school wide disruptions in areas of Los Angeles involved race and human relations conflicts, largely between African American and Latino students. “Our overall strategy is to provide youths access to specialized Museum of Tolerance resources and services that build their capacity to design and conduct their own racial healing initiatives,” Rabbi May said. “I am pleased that the Kellogg Foundation recognized that the Museum of Tolerance has done the ‘heavy lifting’ of creating a unique space for community dialogue and healing,” he concluded.
In an unprecedented effort to address the devastating impact of racial inequities on communities across the country, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation launched (today or recently – depending on when you send this out) 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.
The America Healing grant will greatly support such MOT youth empowerment programs as the SHADES Teen Court summer program where, in partnership with LA Superior Court, students are trained as jurors in campus based hate crimes and incidents where they determine creative sentencing for their peers. It will also be used towards custom leadership development and empowerment programs such as the six-month Service Learning Program that honors the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar E. Chavez, the Tools for Tolerance for Teens program, a Jewish-Latino student outreach program, and customized dialogue forums through international videoconferences and youth congresses. Approximately 3,000 Los Angeles area youths participate in these programs, adding to the already 120,000 children and youths that visit each year in school tours.
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 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, capturing the spirit of the initiative. The video can be viewed at www.AmericaHealing.org
Moreover, the America Healing initiative complements the racial equity approach in all of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant-making directed at supporting vulnerable children, their families and communities. The new initiative will continue to focus on issues at the core of structural racism and will align with the foundation’s program areas: Education and Learning; Food, Health and Well-being; and Family Economic Security.
To learn more about America Healing, please visit http://www.americahealing.org
The Museum of Tolerance, the Center’s educational arm, founded in 1993 challenges visitors to confront bigotry and racism, and to understand the Holocaust in both historic and contemporary contexts. It hosts almost half a million visitors annually including 110,000 students. Because of the success of the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, the Center also opened the New York Tolerancenter in midtown Manhattan. Under construction is The Center for Human Dignity--Museum of Tolerance Jerusalem.
About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Established in 1930, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (www.wkkf.org) supports children, families and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society. Grants are concentrated in the United States, southern Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. The foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich.