Kris Miller from Fair Housing Center of Southwest Michigan


… when we start to recognize our shared humanity and how racism has harmed us all collectively in different ways …

The effects of racism can be seen all around us, deeply embedded in the places where we live, learn, work and play every day. However, when we start to understand these dynamics, we begin to realize that, as a community, we are all collectively harmed by racism.

Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) is a comprehensive, national and community-based process developed by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) and 174 national partners to identify and address the historic and contemporary effects of racism — to help communities heal and produce actionable, sustainable change. The TRHT framework is inspired by truth and reconciliation processes that have taken place around the world, and it addresses issues ranging from cultural to more tangible transformations in institutions and policies.

In June 2017, WKKF awarded funds to support multisector collaborations in 14 communities across the United States. As one of the sites hosting this work, KZCF is receiving $865,000 over five years to facilitate local activities. A unique feature of the TRHT grant is the inclusion of an endowment fund strategy, which allows partners to truly think beyond the grant period.

In Kalamazoo, $250,000 of the grant from WKKF has been earmarked for matching funds to grow a local endowment. In addition, WKKF and a number of national consultants will be supporting the locations by providing technical assistance and creating a national learning community.

Locally, 150 individuals and organizations have been engaged so far, and the 2018 work will focus on building partnerships and developing a shared vision and goals. One example of a TRHT partnership can already be seen in efforts related to fair housing. Kris Miller is the executive director of the Fair Housing Center of Southwest Michigan, a private nonprofit that works to ensure equal housing opportunities for area residents.

"Housing that is open to everyone is tied to safety and health, and those are tied to education and equity," Miller says. "To understand fair housing is to affirm furthering fair housing. This obligation means communities have to take proactive steps to understand and overcome decades of residential segregation. Partnering with the Foundation to lift up this work through TRHT and other projects gives me so much hope for the work we are doing."

"… to unearth and jettison the deeply embedded belief in a hierarchy of human value that sustains racism, to recognize the history and continued trauma resulting from that belief, and to create policy solutions that will sustain healing and structural change …"

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Click here to read the next 2017 Annual Report article "Joining In Collective Giving"

This article was originally published in the Kalamazoo Community Foundation 2017 Annual Report. To view the complete 2017 Annual Report, click here.