The W. K. Kellogg Foundation and our non-profit organization Speak It Forward Inc. are working together to reach into communities all around the state of Michigan and truly under the VOICE of the people and of the WKKF grantees. It’s time to uplift vulnerable children and make a true stamp for racial equity in our state.

In March, we attended grantee convenings in Battle Creek, Grand Rapids and Detroit. Our job: to listen. And that’s what we did. We listened, and oh my, what we heard was amazing. Stories of joy and sorrow. Experiences of loss and moments of rediscovery. What we will do is take these stories and come back into each community to guide key individuals and organizations on a journey to tell their own “stories.” Nothing like this has ever been done in this way. Truly WKKF and SIF will come together to engage the HEAD, HEART and HANDS of these grantees and those they serve in their communities.

This is one small example of a transformational work we are doing. It’s no longer just about the stories ofKinetic Affect, of Gabriel and Kirk. It’s about the stories of others. The Universal Truths that we are all human and we are all vulnerable and that it is in fact our weaknesses that can and often do make us STRONG.

Below are two documents that begin to detail the structure of the work we will be doing next as we delve deeper into these communities. We have worked to capture the complexity of the communities and harness their power in more accessible language. We wish to engage the HEAD, HEART and HANDS of the grantees.

So begins our journey to help uplift the most vulnerable in our state by helping all of us reconnect with the deeper emotional reasons of why we do what we do… why we get up in the mornings. It is during our deepest struggles that we learn the most and can become our strongest. And through our work in these communities, Speak It Forward, side-by-side with the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, will capitalize on our challenges and turn them into triumphs.

What an honor.