Kellogg Foundation Steps Up Commitment to Grand Rapids

Over the last five years, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the nation's fifth largest philanthropy, has invested $29.2 million in Grand Rapids nonprofits working to improve education, health, family economic security, civic engagement, and racial equity in the city, MLive.com reports.

Representing more than 8 percent of the Battle Creek-based foundation's grantmaking, which comes to roughly $350 million annually, the funding is part of a larger effort to address racial equity and civic engagement in the region. "Our commitment to Grand Rapids is for generations," Kellogg Foundation president and CEO Sterling K. Speirn told MLive.com. "Big change requires long-term time horizons."

Over the past two months, the foundation has awarded a total of $7 million to programs that assist low-income children in the city, including a three-year, $2 million grant to the Anchor Organization Network to boost the capacity of six community-based organizations working to improve service delivery to African-American and Hispanic children and families, and a four-year, $5 million grant to the Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative to help improve early childhood education in the city's poorest neighborhoods. The foundation's approach to these and other partnerships is to empower community-based groups to advocate for their constituents and provide leadership.

"Kellogg has been fairly quietly engaging in this community in a really deep, important way around children and their education, health, and well-being," said Grand Rapids mayor George Heartwell. "I am very encouraged by their long-term commitment and the collaborative approach being taken with our foundations and other organizations."