Thriving Children

Our Priorities

Thriving Children

We support a healthy start and quality early learning experiences for all children.

At WKKF, we want all children to have the best start possible, from the prenatal months to their 8th birthdays. Research shows that investments in children’s earliest years help prepare them for success in school, work and life.

A Healthy Start

To ensure a healthy start for all children, we are investing in expanding breastfeeding, or “first food” supports for mothers and families in communities, hospitals and workplaces with a goal to increase the rates of exclusive breastfeeding for a baby’s first six months. We are also increasing access to healthy food in early child care settings, schools and communities; expanding access to quality oral health care with dental therapists; and advancing equity in health policy. In the foundation’s micro-regions in Mexico and in Haiti, we are working to increase access to quality maternal and infant health care and improving nutrition for children and families.

Quality Early Learning

Children’s brains are 90 percent developed by age 5. That’s why we are working to improve quality early childhood education in licensed and informal child care settings, preschool and pre-kindergarten, and kindergarten through third grade in the United States. We are also helping ensure that racial equity is part of public policies and practices that impact early childhood education and that families are able to be engaged in schools with a shared responsibility for their children’s education. This work also includes increasing culturally-relevant and native language curricula in classrooms. In Mexico and Haiti, we are helping create effective learning environments for children with a focus on increasing access to quality kindergarten through sixth grade education.

  • 2016 Grant Highlights
  • Baxter Community Center

    Grand Rapids, Michigan | $375,000
    Increase access to healthy food for children and families in targeted neighborhoods by developing and implementing a comprehensive farm-to-early education effort and connecting residents to fresh, locally grown food via education, information sharing and expanded community gardening opportunities.

  • Dual Language Education of New Mexico

    Albuquerque, New Mexico | $1,490,000
    Improve outcomes for multilingual children in New Mexico by supporting effective dual language education programs through fostering school-community partnerships, developing leadership and instructional capacity and strengthening Native-Spanish linguistic community alliances to effect system change.

  • Food Trust

    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | $500,000
    Increase access to healthy local food for young children, benefit the state’s farmers and improve health equity and food literacy for underserved children and their families by promoting incentives for farm-to-early childhood education.

  • Formación y Capacitación A.C.

    San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico | $180,310
    Improve maternal health in the Highlands of Chiapas by supporting the development of a regional network of traditional midwives and providing capacity-building opportunities and partnering stakeholders interested in supporting their work.

  • Fund for Public Health in New York, Inc.

    New York, New York | $749,965
    Expand programming to support breastfeeding in Bedford-Stuyvesant and Brownsville, using a health equity lens and building off the success of the Breastfeeding Empowerment Zone, by strengthening community-level action, joint health planning, workforce development and enhancing male engagement.

  • Henry Ford Health System

    Detroit, Michigan | $150,000
    Reduce health inequities among Detroit children by engaging new mothers, increasing Detroit breastfeeding rates and advocating for family-friendly policies.

  • Mississippi First, Inc.

    Jackson, Mississippi | $300,000
    Improve education for Mississippi children through access to high-quality pre-K and high-learning standards.

  • NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

    New York, New York | $395,000
    Support capacity-building at the state and local levels to encourage selection and implementation of “School Climate and Safety” as an accountability indicator under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

  • Oregon Oral Health Coalition

    Wilsonville, Oregon | $100,000
    Establish strong stakeholder partnerships to develop a culturally and linguistically competent dental therapy provider to expand quality oral health care for children and their families in Oregon.

  • Parents as Teachers National Center, Inc.

    St. Louis, Missouri | $109,010
    Strengthen efforts to narrow the achievement gap of American Indian children at kindergarten entry and improve student achievement in reading and math through third grade in select Bureau of Indian Education schools in New Mexico by enabling the organization to meet the matching fund requirements of the Investing in Innovation federal grant program.

  • Southwest Human Development

    Phoenix, Arizona | $200,000
    Expand high-quality, early learning opportunities for young infants and toddlers by providing core support for the Early Head Start Child-Care Partnership.

  • The Campagna Center

    Alexandria, Virginia | $294,980
    Support the U.S. Department of Education with creating policies designed to improve education outcomes by developing and implementing a family and youth ambassador program.

  • Third Sector New England, Inc.

    Boston, Massachusetts | $700,000
    Support the development of an early childhood leader’s network to take action, address racial disparities and promote equitable outcomes in early childhood systems.

  • Universite Quisqueya

    Port-au-Prince, Haiti |$1,147,248
    Improve quality education and student performance nationally in Haiti through a national teacher and school administrator training institute using a hub-and-spoke and child-centered model.