I feel so incredibly honored to have been part of our recent onboarding meeting with the eight new organizations in our domestic health equity grants portfolio. It was an opportunity to welcome this incredible cohort into the Comic Relief US (CRUS) family, introduce our respective teams, and build a shared sense of partnership and community around our work together.
We started the conversation by sharing what motivates us each and every day, and we wanted you to read in their own words what drives their leadership and what sits at the heart of their dedication and commitment to the communities they serve:
“The seed of hope all parents have that the world will be better for their children and the passion to help make that happen.” — Emily Haroz, The Johns Hopkins Center for Indigenous Health
“Together we are working for equity and justice, creating the world we want to see.” — Cynthia Magallon, Latino Memphis
“My job brings me joy every day: the hard days and the easy days all begin and end the same, with gratitude for having the opportunity to serve my community.” — Karla Stack, The Concilio
The objective of our domestic health equity strategy is to ensure that excluded or marginalized children, their families, and caregivers have a fair and just opportunity to be healthy, through investments in direct services, advocacy, and systems change. We invest in organizations that are developing solutions that address nutrition and food security, access to healthcare, and build and sustain healthy communities.
At CRUS we believe that health equity is a human right. However, due to structural racism and other social and physical determinants of health that perpetuate the cycle of intergenerational poverty, including access to quality healthcare and education, neighborhood and built environment, economic stability and wealth gaps, health disparities persist amongst Black, Latino, Indigenous, LGBTQ and low-income people in the US.
Bolstering our four thematic pillar strategies, safe, healthy, educated and empowered are our cross-portfolio throughlines of gender and racial equity, centering “most impacted populations;” and building resilience. This distinctive approach is what emboldens us to achieve our vision of a just world free from poverty.
Thank you to Joslyn Meier, Director of Grant Programs at Comic Relief US for her partnership and leadership on developing the domestic health equity strategy. To our 8 new partners, welcome to CRUS:
Grow Dat Youth Farm works with youth and adults in New Orleans to create a more just and sustainable food system and build their power to create personal, social, and environmental change. Comic Relief US is supporting Grow Dat’s youth-led Mobile Food Access Project in Central City, which will address a lack of access to fresh food in the historically significant, low-income neighborhood.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is a non-political, educational organization working to build capacity and change policies, practices, hearts, and minds to create positive change for LGBTQ+ people. Comic Relief US’ grant is supporting HRC Foundation’s Youth Well-being Program, which promotes safety, inclusion, and well-being for LGBTQ+ youth in everyday institutions of daily life — families, schools, after-school programs, health and wellness programs, child welfare, and other systems of care.
The Johns Hopkins Center for Indigenous Health works in partnership with Indigenous communities to create public health strategies that build tribal communities’ health leadership and sustainable, culturally driven, and locally run programming. This grant will test the effectiveness of adding a mental health intervention to the Family Spirit Strengths program on Navajo Nation lands. The Family Spirit Strengths program provides home visits to young Native American mothers to promote the well-being of mothers and their children and promote their children’s healthy development.
Latino Memphis’ mission is to accelerate systemic change by igniting opportunities that elevate the Latinx community across the Mid-South through social, economic, political, education, and health programs that, in turn, advance and enrich our nation as a whole. Comic Relief US’s grant will support the expansion of Latino Memphis’ health programming through its Promotor@s community health worker program to include nutrition-focused initiatives alongside other health and social services.
SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective is the largest national, multiethnic, multicultural organization dedicated to reproductive justice for women of color. This grant will support many aspects of reproductive health care for Black and other birthing people of color, especially Queer and Trans people in need of support during their pregnancy and within one year postpartum in Georgia, North Carolina, and Kentucky.
The Student Conservation Association (SCA) builds the next generation of conservation leaders and inspires lifelong stewardship of the environment and communities by engaging young people in hands-on service to the land. Comic Relief US’s grant will expand SCA’s Urban Green program in Houston and Atlanta. The Urban Green program connects urban youth to nature, prioritizing environmental justice and youth development while also delivering 21st-century career skills and readiness, thereby bolstering the health of communities and providing green jobs for underrepresented youth and young adults.
The Tejano Center for Community Concerns’ mission is to develop education, social, health, and community institutions that empower “underrepresented, underserved, and under-resourced” families in the Greater Houston Area to transform their lives. Our grant will support “La Tiendita,” a program that addresses food insecurity in the Greater Houston area while also extending social services. La Tiendita’s food service program provides meals to children and families in need and also supports young people in their leadership and higher education goals.
Based in Dallas, The Concillo builds stronger communities by unlocking opportunities for Latino families, with a focus on bridging gaps in educational advancement, health, and financial empowerment. The grant from Comic Relief US will expand The Concillio’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Families programming, in which families learn how to nourish their bodies and minds in a healthy way and are connected to federal health programs, and through the provision of cultural competency training to health providers. In doing so, the grant will directly impact Latino/a families' health outcomes and build the capacity of the healthcare systems that serve them.
I hope you'll take a few minutes to learn more about the important work these eight organizations are doing to help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty in their communities.