The Kellogg Foundation, founded in 1930 by Kellogg Company CEO Will Keith Kellogg, focuses on issues relating to child development, primarily in Haiti, Mexico, the U.S., Brazil and southern Africa. Within the U.S., the foundation concentrates on Michigan, New Orleans, New Mexico and Mississippi.

“Concentrating our resources on early childhood (prenatal to age 8), within the context of families and communities, offers the best opportunity to dramatically reduce the vulnerability caused by poverty and racial inequity over time,” states the foundation’s website.

To achieve this, the Kellogg Foundation focuses on the following three strategic goals:

Educated Kids: Increasing the number of children who are proficient in reading and math by third grade.

Healthy Kids: Increasing the number of children born at healthy birth weight and who receive the care and healthy food they need for optimal development.

Secure Families: Increasing the number of children and families living at least 200 percent above the poverty level.

Embedded in these goals are a commitment to civic and community engagement and racial equity. The foundation considers these elements to be essential if communities are to create conditions under which all children can thrive.

Under the rubric of Educated Kids, the Kellogg Foundation seeks to increase the support and training that educators receive in a bid to enhance their leadership skills and professional development and ultimately improve the quality of both teaching and learning.

In the category of Healthy Kids, the foundation focuses its grants on efforts to improve the health of mothers and families, increase breastfeeding rates, provide community-based oral health care and transform food systems.

And to ensure Secure Families, the Kellogg Foundation assists families with their financial and employment prospects, helping them to increase their economic and social mobility. “We help make connections to financial resources and job skills training, so that families can be debt-free, pay their bills and feel empowered to help their children succeed,” says the foundation’s website.

The foundation also stands for racial equity and social justice, seeking to stamp out structural racism: “Far too many children of color live in racially isolated neighborhoods in metropolitan areas, and in segregated rural and tribal communities across the United States,” the foundation says.

NonProfit Quarterly notes that efforts to change structural racism can be difficult for foundations to achieve: “It is easier to find and fund the mentoring and leadership development programs which, in many cases, are hardly new, than to pinpoint how to effectuate changes in institutional and public policies that sustain these structural inequities.”

In spite of these challenges, the Kellogg Foundation continues to work on improving the health and development of children around the world and in the U.S. as well as enhancing communities and striving for racial equity.

Mayra Vega

Sources: WKKF, Nonprofit Quarterly
Photo: Flickr

Weaving Businesses
Women in developing countries are getting a chance to learn skills such as traditional weaving, with the hope that they can eventually launch their own businesses.

According to F.Report, “The disadvantaged position of women, due to higher poverty incidence and unequal power relationships with men and the wider community, has been a source of debate over the past several decades.”

In the majority of developing countries, women contribute the most to the agricultural sector. Unfortunately, women’s roles are largely unrecognized by the private sector, with many women expected to carry out unpaid work.

Yet by launching their own weaving businesses, women can not only build up their confidence but they can also join the private sector as well. The private sector can be a partner in efforts to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment, according to the U.N.

The weaving industry is, therefore, expanding in many poor countries, targeting women from marginalized communities in particular. “Empowering women to participate fully in economic life across all sectors is essential to build stronger economies, achieve internationally agreed goals for development and sustainability, and improve the quality of life of women, men families, and communities,” according to U.N. Women.

Sally Holkar, founder of Women Weave, said that this occupation not only provides financial security to women but can also lift them and their families out of poverty, which benefits the community at large.

F. Report states that “although empowerment can not be given to somebody by someone else, the process of empowerment can be facilitated by others through programs like the weaving industry.”

A woman needs to have access to social resources and economic opportunities to make strategic decisions in her life. In this case, the weaving businesses are largely responsible for this empowerment.

Isabella Rölz

Sources: WomenWeave, Female Report, UN Women, UN Web TV
Photo: WEAVE

Universal Basic Income is a concept where everyone receives a check from their government every month to pay for any necessities one may need. Although the thought of Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a radical move for any country, it can be a way to alleviate poverty. Instead of Food Stamp and Welfare programs, citizens would receive one lump sum check regardless of status. According to the Huffington Post “it could eliminate poverty to a great extent, and set the stage for a healthier and more productive society.”

Switzerland citizens have been fighting for this movement and have sparked a public referendum to push the movement forward. The country has seen the possible benefits of what a UBI can accomplish. Families can have food security, income inequality would decrease, and if countries adopt the idea with success may influence other countries to do the same. In the 1970’s Canada experimented with the implementation of a UBI, and according to the New York Times “poverty disappeared…High-school completion rates went up; hospitalization rates went down.”

Another reason this topic is so vital in today’s world is the advancement of technology. The Guardian has found “Oxford academics Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A Osborne have predicted computerisation could make nearly half of jobs redundant within 10 to 20 years.” Thus, the more technology grows, the less jobs will be available to the public.

However, the chance of having a UBI gives citizens a way to achieve their professional dreams. Instead of people working a job they need to survive, with a monthly check from the government they can focus on what they really want to do. The economist has studied “Philippe Van Parijs, a Belgian philosopher, who believes a UBI provides ‘the real freedom to pursue the realization of one’s conception of the good life’” Therefore, a family living in poverty will lose the stress of worrying about their next meal and children can focus on education.

If this concept seems so beneficial why hasn’t it been done? One of the main concerns of creating a UBI is the downfall in work ethic; there is a possibility of laziness if people receive checks for simply being alive. Another drawback is the raise in taxes, BBC has stated “income tax would not necessarily rise, but value added tax – on what people buy rather than what they earn – could rise to 20% or even 30%.”

Despite some negativities in a UBI, it is an idea that may soon be adopted by a majority of the world. With its recent conversation in many governments there seems to be a positive outlook on this concept. A universal income may sound outlandish but so does ending world poverty; yet, both are achievable in the near future.

Sources: BBCThe Guardian, The Huffington PostThe New York Times
Photo: PBS