Kalamazoo Community Foundation (KZCF) is one of five community foundations nationwide recently selected for the Coalition for Inclusive Communities (CIC), a project of Boston-based CFLeads (Community Foundations Leading Change).

CIC will work to advance equity in the workplace and build community cohesion. KZCF and other participating foundations will develop local employer networks to identify and promote practices that improve workplace equity. Funded by the Walmart Foundation, CIC will provide grant resources to each of the participating foundations.

The Economy Design Team of Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Kalamazoo, hosted by KZCF, will implement this work in Kalamazoo County. Its goals include developing an "Equity Standard Certification," developing a network of employers committed to this process, and creating a targeted effort to support and provide access, mentorship and resources to people of color.

Pictured: TRHT Kalamazoo Economy Design Team group photo with a selection of KZCF leadership and board members.

"We're honored to be selected as a part of this coalition," says Sholanna Lewis, a KZCF community investment officer working as TRHT Kalamazoo lead. "Operating as an interactive learning lab, this collaborative effort will share best practices with an impact going beyond these five communities. And this work aligns nicely with our efforts to increase equity throughout Kalamazoo County and help us reach a sector that we don't often engage with in this way."

According to Nicole Parker, with ANP Consulting, Charlie's PLACE and team lead for TRHT Kalamazoo's Economy Design Team, "We're looking forward to sharing best practices with area businesses and organizations to make workplaces more equitable, and learning about their needs. Our team is also looking at innovative ways to empower community members interested in entrepreneurship and business leadership to be a part of this work."

Other members of the Economy Design Team (with affiliations) are Chris Dilley (PFC), Lucy Dilley (Can-Do Kitchen), Wendy Fields (NAACP), Kevin Ford (City of Kalamazoo), Hether Frayer (Fresh Food Fairy), Amy Holman (Michigan Works), Luke Kujacznski (Urban Alliance), Dwayne Powell, Jr. (City of Kalamazoo), Sarah Mansberger (Southwest Michigan First), Jason Muniz (Hollander Development), Quinnetta Simmons (Urban Alliance), Brenda Stubbs (ISAAC) and Beth Washington (Bronson Healthcare).

The other foundations are the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Community Foundation for Greater Dubuque, East Bay Community Foundation (Oakland, Calif.) and Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundations. All teams were drawn from CFLeads' Community Foundation Equity Network following a competitive process.

CFLeads, a national network of community foundations committed to building stronger communities through community leadership, sees community leadership as a key strategy for delivering community impact.

TRHT Kalamazoo, hosted by KZCF, is a community-based movement to bring about transformational and sustainable change to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism. Kalamazoo is one of 14 TRHT locations nationwide, and one in four in Michigan (the others include Flint, Lansing, and Battle Creek). TRHT was launched in 2016 by W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Learn more at kalfound.org.

Posted June 11, 2019