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Wayne State University receives $1.3 million grant from W.K. Kellogg Foundation to pioneer new initiative at Damon J. Keith Center

July 7, 2014

DETROIT – The W.K. Kellogg Foundation awarded a $1.3 million grant to Wayne State University to launch the Detroit Equity Action Lab (DEAL), a groundbreaking new initiative through which nonprofit organizations working in the areas of racial equity, health care, education, food security, safety and housing will address issues of structural racism in Detroit. Housed within the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne Law, the new initiative will be led by the center’s director, Peter Hammer. The project will begin in the summer of 2014 and is funded for three years.

“There is great need for a resource of this nature in our city,” said Wayne State University President M. Roy Wilson. “The Keith Center is committed to promoting equality and justice. Local nonprofit organizations can be key drivers in the discussion and mitigation of civil rights challenges, and we are fortunate to have found an ally in this project with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.”

Sixty nonprofit leaders will participate in DEAL. Participants will learn how to build capacity for their organizations to work in racial equity workshops led by national subject matter experts. Through trainings and discussions, they will identify long-standing structural racism and create action plans to promote change. DEAL participants will create policy recommendations and improve awareness about racial equity issues in the community.

“We believe that DEAL will add a new structure to support and align community ideas to help Detroit better address issues of structural racism and healing,” said Sharnita C. Johnson of the Kellogg Foundation.

The Keith Center was founded in 2011 to celebrate and perpetuate the work of the Honorable Damon J. Keith, who has long championed the cause of civil rights. The center aims to promote civil rights educational opportunities and provide resources for research and community outreach related to modern challenges of racial justice.

“We are ready to create change-oriented projects that impact our community and our city, and we hope to inspire progress throughout the country as well,” said Jocelyn Benson, dean of Wayne State University Law School. “The Keith Center is thrilled to have the opportunity to begin this work and continue the rich legacy of Judge Keith.”

About W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer Will Keith Kellogg is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.

About Wayne State University
Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 370 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 28,000 students.

Wayne State University Law School is the premier public-interest law school in the Midwest. Its civil rights, entrepreneurship, environmental and international programs, and their related clinics, set Wayne State University Law School apart as an advocate for justice committed to serving the community. For more information about Wayne State University Law School, visit law.wayne.edu.

  • Contact: Jennifer Harte
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  • Email: el3335@wayne.edu
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